COM0014- Blog #4; B2C social media platforms

Canva - null-2According to Investopedia.com, “The term business-to-consumer (B2C) refers to the process of selling products and services directly between consumers who are the end-users of its products or services. Most companies that sell directly to consumers can be referred to as B2C companies. 

B2C became immensely popular during the dotcom boom of the late 1990s when it was mainly used to refer to online retailers who sold products and services to consumers through the Internet”  

Canva - Person Shopping Online Using a CellphoneIn this ERA of Digital world, many consumers prefer to shop online vs. going through traditional mall shopping. Do you buy products online? If so, why? Is it because it is cheaper, convenient or any other reason? How do you know about special promotions?  

Companies that rely honline shopping 2eavily on B2C model need to maintain a healthy relationship with their customers. With invention of social media platforms, it has become much easier for companies to connect with their customers and gently remind them about promotions and new products. How many times have you seen pop up ads on these social media platforms? I bet you will answer, “many times! 

Canva - nullOne company that stands out to me is Air Canada. I highly believe that they are connecting and targeting their audience well. They are regularly monitoring their social media platforms and building trust by responding in a timely fashion. They are beautifully showcasing their destinations, airplanes, food and experiences of other travelers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They also use these platforms for telling their audience about special promotions to various destinations. At times, on these platforms they also showcase their employees- flight attendants and pilots and ground staff. 

From a personal point of view, I have had great interactions on Social media platforms with Air Canada. I remember once I was checking into a flight and I was flying business class from Ottawa Airport. The check-in agent was not friendly nor was aware of perks of flying business class as she was replacing someone who went on break. I tweeted Air Canada while agent was checking me with my frustration and disappointment and while I made to security in less than 5 minutes, I had a reply from Air Canada. On other occasion, I have also got hold of someone faster on social media than being on hold for over 30 minutes. I think Air Canada has been maintaining their social media platforms well and many other organizations should learn them now. Have you ever had an experience with Air Canada through Social Media? If so, were you satisfied? 

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(Source of photos: http://www.canva.com

COMM0015: Blog Post 2: Strong and Weak Organizations

When discussing organizations that are strong or weak in social media I always find it interesting to compare case studies for companies in the same business.  As a result, I have chosen a company that is one of my favourite ways to travel, Porter Airlines, and one of their primary competitors, Air Canada.

Both Porter Airlines and Air Canada have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.  On the surface it would appear that their social media strategies are equal in all ways.  When their customers resort to social media with a complaint both airlines follow up by asking the customer to move the discussion to a private message.  This helps reduce the number of negative comments found on either airlines Facebook pages or Twitter sites.

So why is Porter Airlines’ social media primarily filled with positive comments, discussions and feedback while Air Canada’s has fewer positive comments, fewer discussions and more negative feedback? I believe it is because a good social media presence is not just about your social media strategy – it’s about consistent, positive customer service no matter how your customer is interacting with your company.

Porter Airlines

When Porter Airlines launched in 2006 with their slogan ‘flying refined’ they set the tone and consumers’ expectations for years to come.  A customer of Porter Airlines expects fast, pleasant customer service, amenities no longer found on other airlines and, in general, more than they had expected from a Canadian airline in a long time.  So when Porter Airlines launched their social media presence on Facebook and Twitter they had a lot to live up to.  As a Porter customer, I expected the same interaction on Facebook and Twitter as I was accustomed to receiving in person.  And I got it.

Key elements that make Porter’s social media strategy work:

Porter Airlines Twitter Feed

  • Most importantly: they work hard to ensure that their customers have a positive customer experience from beginning to end, no matter how they are interacting with the airline
  • They actively seek out customers online and begin providing a positive customer experience before they have even purchased a ticket
  • They engage their customers in conversation and build online relationships with them by posting questions, asking them what they want to see, as well as responding to questions quickly and effectively.  In addition, as they expand their service across Canada and the US, they seek feedback from their customers and engage them in their plans.  For example: Porter has built a strong online campaign to encourage their customers to discuss, sign petitions, and support their application to expand Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport.
  • Their bio section provides customers with their 1-800 customer service line if they have any complaints or challenges when interacting with the airline.
  • They offer rewards to their followers through discount codes and first access to Porter news and promotions.

Air Canada

Although Spafax was recently nominated for the Facebook Games/Contests category in the new PR News Social Media Icon Awards I would argue that a four week contest and high number of followers does not always equal a well-developed social media strategy.  In particular, I believe Air Canada needs a social media strategy that focuses on developing conversations and relationship with their customers rather than simply pushing out content.  Based on the successful model developed by Porter Airlines, Air Canada could improve in several areas:

Air Canada Twitter Feed

  • In all interactions with customers, demonstrate a commitment to a consistent positive customer experience and then use social media to share those experiences with other customers.  As a result of many customers previous negative experiences Air Canada has a long road to improve public perception.  Sharing these positive experiences may begin to improve their overall company image.
  • Rather than just pushing out content, engage current and future customers in conversations through social media.
  • Include their customer service line and contact information in the ‘about’ section of their social media sites.  This seems like a small thing but it makes the company appear open and available for customer feedback.

References

Cowan-Dewar, Jules.  Social Media Execution: Porter Airlines & Twitter, http://catalyst.ca/social-media-execution-porter-airlines-twitter/

Faber, Les. Canadian Companies Using Social Media: Porter Airlines http://www.webfuel.ca/canada-social-media-porter-airlines/

Girard, Raymond. Spafax nominated for prestigious social media award for Air Canada Facebook game that attracted over 350,000 entries in four weeks. http://www.spafax.com/spafax-nominated-for-prestigious-social-media-award-for-air-canada-facebook-game-that-attracted-over-350000-entries-in-four-weeks/

Adams, Jessy. Sprinklr Signs Agreement with Air Canada for Social@Scale ™ Platform. http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1204473/sprinklr-signs-agreement-with-air-canada-for-social-scale-tm-platform

MacArthur, Amber. Five Social Media Lessons for Air Canada. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/digital-culture/amber-mac/5-social-media-lessons-for-air-canada/article1376119/

Social Media sites:

https://www.facebook.com/porterairlines

https://twitter.com/porterairlines

https://www.facebook.com/aircanada

https://twitter.com/AirCanada