KLM: how to pilot social media for clients’ benefit

Anna Ketting was presenting  for KLM today at the usefulsocialmedia. Her presentation was definitely aimed at better using social media for customer interaction.

KLM has a small home country and market. 70% of its traffic to KLM.com is coming from paid channels. Google for instance is one of the biggest beneficiaries in that department. When Anna started working on that 3 years ago, questions arose so as to “spend less on paid media”. Discussions ensued, campaigns too (25,000 followers on Twitter joined in) … and then there was the ash cloud. The day after the ash cloud, Schipol Airport was empty but all the phone lines went down! This is when KLM started answering questions via Twitter and Facebook. They had so many questions that they put together a 140 staff organisation to address all these questions 24/7.

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[Schipol Airport on Ash Cloud day!]

“In 2 week’s time, this incident showed our management  that social media was useful!” Anna added.

3 main strategic pillars for social media at KLM.

  1. customer services: address service issues and have the necessary feedback. This enables to pick up on the complains and solve them.
  2. brand & reputation: that’s a straightforward department – such as was demonstrated by Heineken. Southwest had a very bad example with “Southwest breaks guitar” which did a lot of bad publicity for the brand. “This is what you don’t want to happen”.
  3. commerce

KLM started with campaigns, went through service and is now putting products worth sharing online. In March 2011, wit the fly2miami campaign, KLM sold the first-ever flight on Twitter.  In May 2011, the tile and inspire campaign enabled users to propose “tiles” which then decorated a plane (120,000 of them on the whole). In September 2011, the Dutch airline launched “livereply” a video made with real-life employees who advertised live customer service on Twitter and Facebook 24/7. “This worked great for employee cohesion” Anna added.

KLM–Livereply video : approx. 350,000 views so far

Now KLM is no. 2 on Facebook and no. 1 in terms of engagement. “We’ve also had a lot of failures” Anna Ketting said, reinforcing that trial and error is necessary – as in many areas – but maybe even more in social media. Very reasonably she concluded by saying that all of this social media stuff doesn’t matter if you aren’t able to deliver your core service properly.

Social products

After two years of being focussed on social media, KLM decided to go out of communications and delve into how social media would enhance products.

  1. Meet and Seat: share your social profile, see who will be on board, and pick a seat next to the person you are interested in … as long as she/he agrees to it. This generated huge media attention because it’ is focussed on the user and not on the company
  2. trip planner (launched a month ago): based on questions by KLM customers : use facebook to talk to your friends, find a date and book!
KLM Trip planner video

What I liked about KLM’s approach was that they managed to take social media back closer to business and its clients. Anna told us that KLM’s social media team is made of 14 people. Facebook is still on KLM’s radar for social commerce, but isn’t really considering it short term though.

learn from the savviest European social media practitioners … and save £ 100 on ticket price

I will be taking part in the oncoming Social Media B2C Marketing Summit due to take place in London, on June 25th and 26th and as I am preparing for the event, I took a few moments to dig my teeth into the programme and I realised it’s not a conference but the conference on European Social Media … absolutely packed with extremely high profile social media managers from some of the most prominent European brands. It was high time something was done to catch up with the likes of Blogwell in the USA, and here it is, right at our door, so it’s an event you shouldn’t miss.

the pitch

The Social Media Marketing Summit (25-26 June, London UK)
Social media represents a growing marketing opportunity for business to directly engage with their consumers. The phenomenal growth of social media activity has meant consumers are now interacting with their favourite brands and regularly checking for the latest updates online.

Orange, Heineken, Unilever and KLM are a selection of brands which have embedded social media throughout their marketing campaigns. Join these leading brands on the 25-26th June at the 2012 Social Media Marketing Summit, London.

Learn how to deliver engaging and interactive marketing tactics to entice your consumers to engage with your brand. O2, Honda, Tom Tom, Barclaycard and many more will share exclusive case studies, their everyday experiences and best practice, so you can improve your social media marketing efforts.

£100 off ticket price

Quote YG12 and save an £100 you register at http://bitly.com/Socialreg

about my presentation at the summit

Orange has been very active in the Social Media space since early 2008 and now has an online fanbase of over 3 million fans. With a presence on Twitter,
Google+ and Dailymotion – in which Orange has a stake – Orange has experience in using multiple networks – and insight on which networks are best for different kinds of marketing. Hear how this telecoms giant chooses different social platforms to engage with their community and meet marketing goals.

  • how to decide which tools work for you : hear how Orange decides which social network works best for them and how you can decide depending on your organisations goals.
  • learn which social platforms are most effective to market your brand and build brand awareness:  Orange will share which worked best for them and why
  • hear why Orange doesn’t just rely on Facebook and Twitter: discover which other social networks you should be using and how these can help your online marketing.