Spanish budget carrier Vueling is embracing the emerging social media phenomenon head-on, calling on its Twitter, Facebook and website users to name five of the 18 ex-clickair Airbus A320s which have joined its fleet.
Quite a few airlines have jumped on the social media bandwagon, but it’s the language that Vueling uses which is interesting. In a news release to launch the competition, it says: “The company has decided to use the increasingly popular social networks in order to communicate directly with its fan base.”
To be a fan is to idolise someone or something, to be a devotee, an admirer. It takes someone from being a customer, to buying into the whole concept. If you’re a fan of something, you think it’s really cool and want to be involved.
And, perhaps more importantly, it means giving your support whether things are good or bad. After all, you don’t abandon your favourite football team just because they’re going through a rough patch.
Vueling is not alone in trying to engage its fans. Asiana is rolling out a quirky strategy this summer, as highlighted by airline marketing and branding strategist Shashank Nigam in his SimpliFlying blog.
His blog post says Asiana’s crew members are ditching their regular uniforms and dressing up as pirates. Asiana is also rolling out some unlikely forms of in-flight entertainment, including live magic tricks, Tarot card readings, caricature drawing, face painting, origami sessions and on-board fashion shows.
Meanwhile others are engaging with their fans by being ultra-responsive.
Flight’s Washington-based social media intern, Will Horton, recently drew my attention to an AirAsia blog post about a recent aircraft delivery. The post isn’t too exciting in itself, but Will highlighted the comments at the end. I’d recommend a taking a look at the exchanges there. AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani takes the time to respond, multiple times, to readers’ feedback, giving a personal feel and sense of relationship with the man at the top.
Maybe that’s exactly what it takes to turn passengers into fans.