Posts Tagged twitter

Volaris: Social Media Best Practice

Last week I had the tremendous opportunity to attend a very important Latin America airline leaders forum in Colombia. During the last keynote lunch, Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Mexican low cost carrier Volaris, talked about the importance of Social Media for airlines and used the example of his own company to illustrate the impact and potential that this set of new tools have as part of the marketing mix. He stated clearly that Social Media should not be used as a substitute of traditional marketing channels but rather as consistent complement of an existing strategy.

I could write a long paper just describing the wide set of innovative channels the airline uses to communicate with its customers, achieving intimacy and focusing on them rather than on their products (which also happen to be disruptive and innovative); but in this post I’ll try to concentrate on the emerging digital channels they have chosen to formally incorporate to their mix. And this takes me exactly to the first step of their strategy: As Beltranena explained showing a slide with a big amount of emerging media categories and social networks, they had to first choose which ones they’d use according to their usefulness and relevance to their overall marketing strategy. They ended up choosing the fastest growing channels in Mexico after their assessment: YouTube, Facebook, Twitterand a Volaris-branded blog (coming early 2010). The message here is that these channels won’t necessarily be the ones everybody should pick for their Social Media strategy. In each case, resourcefulness, relevance and fit should be analyzed before picking a given tool. For a different company maybe MySpace of Flickr could prove to be more efficient and adequate channels.

Then Beltranena showed this video, which, in a nutshell, answers the question of why Social Media is not a fad. The best part of the afternoon was watching the faces of important CEOs and airline leaders while they saw the video with awe and realized that they had to do something about this quickly. Hopefully, they will take the matter seriously and, like our friends at Volaris, assign (human and budgetary) resources to it and instruct their CMO to make Social Media a cornerstone of their marketing and communications strategy.

To get a feel of what Volaris is doing, go to their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels and see how they are first listening, then connecting and at the end communicating with their customers. Please note the customization of the content according to the channel and the continuity they exercise in each one of them. Also try to see how they seek a healthy amount of activity that will demonstrate engagement without bother the user with excessive tweets, posts, videos or content.

I’m proud to say that Volaris is the first Latin American airline to successfully deploy Social Media as part of an innovative and disruptive marketing strategy, setting a precedent and putting Mexico’s name and digital literacy high above. Congratulations from this humble blog to everybody making it happen.

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Tweeting the Chasm

I’ve found myself in plenty of conversations about Twitter lately (like probably everybody). These conversations are for the most part about “getting it”, people asking (me) what Twitter actually is and the pungent question they always ask: Why is it important what I’m doing? Who cares? Well, nobody cares, that’s exactly the point. Twitter shouldn’t be used to showcase trivial, out of context and irrelevant musings. Its greatness comes with everything else that it does, like opening innovation to build upon its platform or like providing this super-freshness to the web we interact with everyday.

Then I opened my (physical) mailbox one Saturday and there it was, Twitter on the cover of Time magazine. A printed proof that Twitter has crossed the chasm. I’m sure the editors regretted not waiting one more week to print that story when they saw the role Twitter played in the overwhelming coverage of the #IranElection. But, then again, that situation continued to cement Twitter’s entrance to the mass media category and find its way into more and more conversations of un-geeks and “normal people”.

The part I liked the most about the Time story was the argument they made about Twitter’s legacy as a technology and an online communication standard:

(…) the key elements of the Twitter platform — the follower structure, link-sharing, real-time searching — will persevere regardless of Twitter’s fortunes, just as Web conventions like links, posts and feeds have endured over the past decade. In fact, every major channel of information will be Twitterfied in one way or another in the coming years

As a new media geek, I’m not only convinced of this but I’m enjoying the network effects and the way this new technology has tweeted its way to the other end of the chasm. Jeremiah Owyang’s tweet (@jowyang) came very much in handy the other day:

New to twitter? Here’s a tip; answer “what’s important to me” instead of “what am i doing”

Im @bernardososa on Twitter

I'm @bernardososa on Twitter

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The Future of Social Networks

For my final project for the class “Social Networks and Virtual Worlds” I gave myself the task to analyze what the future has in store for Social Networks. I wanted to know what would be the themes students would discuss in this class a few years from now. Although I couldn’t quite predict which Social Networks would still be around and which would be the new ones that would have “crossed the chasm”, I found very interesting insights conceptually about the direction in which these systems will develop. 

During the semester-long course we read Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, both Forrester analysts. This post by Charlene Li helped me understand the 4 conceptual components that Social Networks will pursue in order to become “like air” for us. The last of these points, “Market Value defined by Social Influence” is key when trying to make sense of the monetization strategies that Social Networks have in place today and will seek to implement in the short-term. As this Business Week article points out, Google has an ambition plan for this already, developing a sort of “PageRank” for people, based on the influence they have in their social media surroundings.

Below are the slides I’ll use for the presentation tonight. I must say that I really enjoyed this “virtual” class and I learned a lot from fellow students and the keynote speakers we had the privilege to have during the course. A big thank you to Prof. John Bourne for making this course a (virtual) reality at Babson.

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