Social media platforms have radically transformed consumer engagement and interaction throughout markets over the past few years. This has led to a substantial increase in social media usage across a number of industry sectors including retailers, travel brands and utility providers. Effective and engaging social media interactions remain crucial in maintaining a lead in the market amongst increasing competitors – especially on open-sharing platforms such as Twitter. Leading the way in this social engagement is Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways, globally recognized as pioneers for innovative technologies and services in the aviation sector.
Emirates Airline (@Emirates), one of the leading aviation services providers across the globe, has made wave on wave improvements and risen ten places up the Twitter league table with more 340,000 followers by last December, according eDigitalResearch in the “Travel Social Media Benchmark: Wave 3” study in January 2015. With a recorded growth of more than 240,000 followers in 2014, @Emirates is now amongst the top five aviation services on Twitter.
@Emirates gained such consumer involvement by capitalizing on sponsorships and endorsements of leading international sporting teams and events, such as its timely use of Germany’s win of the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a celebratory Tweet that was Retweeted over 600 times. Likewise, content posted usually involving globally recognized faces from football clubs with the recent announcement this past month of Emirates’ three-year shirt sponsorship deal with Portuguese powerhouse S.L. Benfica. The Tweet featured Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline and Luis Filipe Vieira, President of Benfica, holding up the shirts in question and was Retweeted over 650 times with just over 600 favourites. By employing simple strategies such as these, @Emirates is able to gain rapid circulation of their Twitter identity and generate more following on the Twitter-sphere. @Emirates Twitter presence continues to grow on a daily rate, with more than 533,000 followers currently.
Following suit, eDigital Research’s study highlighted that @EtihadAirways maintained a distinctive lead in its user engagement. @EtihadAirways ascended six places up the Twitter league table – the second highest recorded growth – with more than 164,000 followers in total in 2014 and more than 79,000 new followers in recent growth, gaining heavy ground on its competitors in the travel market. Maintaining active engagement with their followers on Twitter, @EtihadAirways posts an average of 9 posts per day, recorded in the eDigital Research study. This active engagement features product insights, conversations about trending topics in the aviation news, daily polls about Etihad products and services, sharing and reposting of fan photographs of Etihad products, and events footage.
@EtihadAirways also features regular competitions that offer followers with chances to win various prizes – often only inviting them to retweet or share to win, such as the #TakeOffToIndia photo contest. With a grand prize of a free flight to India, Etihad encouraged fans to share a snapshot of a scene from their local area that reminds them of India with images shared from many different countries and engaging the community in a discussion on cultural reach across the globe.
Most recently, the Abu Dhabi-based airline announced its going the extra mile to engage with Gold and Platinum members of its frequent flyers programme with the new exclusive Twitter account @EtihadPremium. Users belonging to those categories will get access to exclusive content, tailored news and offers, and round-the-clock service in English and Arabic guaranteed with a five-minute response time via Twitter.
Such active and unique interaction on a daily basis means the brand stays on top of an individual’s mind and rapidly generates increasing mentions and followers on its Twitter-sphere, with more than 299,000 followers to date.
Given the highly interactive nature of consumer trends, it is easy to understand why brands from all industry sectors would turn to social media sites to actively engage with existing and potential consumers. In particular, with its short, sharp update burst, Twitter is being utilized to its maximum potential and helping brands reach their audiences in creative and innovative ways. Increasingly interactive and engaging content on Twitter ultimately helps to put a face to the brands identity, certifies their growing popularity, and helps to position them as brands aimed towards keeping the consumer at the heart of their operations.