Understanding the Added Value of Social Media



Social media campaigns need to have clear goals and purposes.   One of the things I’ve come to be more curious about as I dig deeper into social media marketing, is how video, and other tools, should be aligned with value.

There is no doubt that there are some kick ass on-line ads that viewers watch, love, and go on to share or comment on.  Great!  But I think real success in campaigns is based on making sure that the tools and the platforms you are using work to bring exceptional value to consumers.  When there’s seamless integration of media, with a clear understanding of what you have to offer, then magic starts to happen.

Clever campaigns that haven’t figured out how social media allows a company to provide real value to consumers run the risk of falling flat.

For KLM, an international airline, it took an Icelandic volcano eruption to figure out how social media was going to up their value to consumer quotient.

It was the 14th of April when the ash from Eyjafjallajökull caused the largest closure of airports around the world since WWII.  10M passengers were stranded, some for up to 6 days. KLM passengers were desperately trying to get information from their airline, but couldn’t.  There were too many people calling in.

In response KLM set up their social media room figuring that they’d reach out to their customers on Facebook and Twitter.   Everyone got in the act from middle managers to agents and they worked around the clock to answer people’s questions.  The response from their customers was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.

KLM would go on to build a comprehensive social media strategy without ever losing sight of the fact that their secret sauce or value for their customers in social media was first and foremost great customer service.     (Sourced from “A Socially Devoted Case Study”, @socialbakers.com)

While it wouldn’t have been possible to get video into the act in 2009 (today, might be a different story) future campaigns would feature video integrated with Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook–all with a message about customer service.

A 2011 campaign Live Reply had 500 KLM employee volunteers respond to social media queries with 1 minute personalized video replies that had employees hold letters up to respond.  See it here.

Another campaign had KLM social media managers researching their customers on-line and showing up in the airport to bring them personalized “gifts” that they could use on their trip.  See it here.

Understanding the unique added value social media brings to your marketing may take time, but it’s worth the effort.


9 thoughts on “Understanding the Added Value of Social Media

  1. Wow this is so cool. I didn’t know KLM did that! I love how they used social media to reach out to more people with 1,000,000 impressions on Twitter after that, awesome! Great videos 🙂

  2. Adding value can counter anonymous negative comments from the competition. They allow the company to stay on message and maintain a rapport with the customer. This rapport easily develops into a feeling of mutual loyalty and makes it even harder for the competition to penetrate – in this case the KLM market. In a zero-sum game, adding value is critical. Interesting read.

  3. Thank you for providing such useful examples of how a company can provide value-added service for their customers. I believe that is the key to businesses using social media effectively. With cost cutting being done in every sector, these are practical, easily adaptable examples of how to reach so many customers quickly for little cost.

  4. Interesting post. I agree that social media strengthens customer services capabilities. I believe that one of the added values or the messages that KLM sent is that it talks to each customer. When social media is employed correctly, the company gain more trust. Failure to use social media actually means that the company is not reliable.

  5. Notwithstanding the merits, I would still be curious to see how much it cost KLM to embark on these efforts and whether this is something a lot of companies can afford. That is something we are trying to come to terms with at my place of work. How do we measure delta between the expenses and the value added (e.g. customer loyalty)?

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