How Kingfisher and other airlines should leverage Twitter to build their brand

Kingfisher Airlines recently became the first Indian airline to get on board the social nano-blogging service Twitter.

Following the success of JetBlue and Southwest, quite a few airlines have joined Twitter, including British Airways, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, and United Airlines.

While I laud the bold initiatives by Kingfisher Airlines, at present it is only broadcasting adverts and updates — a common mistake being made by most major airlines.

Twitter is not a bulletin board or a list server, it not about only advertising links and special offers all the time, its about building a brand, bonding with, and creating a community of present or potential customers.

JetBlue has over 435,000 followers on Twitter and Southwest Airlines is at 25,000. JetBlue makes extensive interactions with customers via Twitter the norm, sometimes causing passengers to wonder if JetBlue is spying on them. Not that JetBlue gets it right all the time. Dave Peck had a poor experience with JetBlue on Twitter and found Southwest offering him flight options (on their airline of course) while JetBlue delayed it’s response to him.

Like it or not Twitter is all about real time nano blogging. It is all about here and now. On Twitter it is critical that you react to an existing or potential customer quickly, work out a solution, and communicating the answers and solutions with them.

If you put your brand on Twitter, you have be ready with a quick and reactive customer service model which understands this fine nuance. Any company should use Twitter to interact with customers and utilise the opportunity to create a positive brand experience at that given moment.

The other airline I have found following this norm is Qatar Airways. Less known than its cousin, Emirates, QR is building it’s brand via Twitter very effectively answering simple queries from customers, tweeting job openings, receiving praise and brickbats from customers, generally keeping tabs on what customers think of the airline.

With it’s strong customer focussed heritage Kingfisher Airlines can easily use Twitter more effectively by learning from the experiences of JetBlue and Southwest, as should other airlines.

Now, how can we convince SpiceJet, Jet Airways, IndiGo and other Indian carriers to join Twitter?

Remember you can follow Bangalore Aviation on Twitter.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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