Content-At-Scale — What Airlines Can Learn From Social Media

In my discussions about social media with airlines, most colleagues solely think about marketing and customer. This isn't wrong. Especially since today's social media channels provide limitless possibilities for these areas. However, I think airlines have to go one step further.

Instead of using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as marketing or customer communication tools, they have to understand the core principle behind these platforms. Subsequently, airlines have to adapt social media concepts to their internal —operational— processes.

Adapting Social Media To Airline Operations — Short Backstory First.

Before we get into details about how to adapt social media concepts to the airline-internal process, here’s a little backstory first.

Content rules the world. Content in all of its forms: news, information, video, audio, etc. 

With the rise of the internet —especially social media platforms— the way we consume content changed utterly. As a result, people are consuming (and producing) the content in today’s world almost 24 hours a day. And this is regardless of the channel(s) they use, for example, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.

I know many people (me included) who’d prefer not to drink or eat for one day instead of going without the internet and social media. And undoubtedly, without denying the downsides, the internet and social media have changed everything:

  • It changed the way we consume information and content.
  • It changed the way we communicate.
  • It changed the way we create content.
  • It changed the way of sales and marketing.
  • It disrupted entire industries.
  • And so on.

Personally, the part I’m super-thrilled about is the possibility of accessing a sheer limitless content world. Regardless of looking for the latest airline news, business information, data, or anything else — social media and content platforms hold an unlimited amount of content.

Airline’s Content Creation Seems To Be Stuck In 1995

Now, why I’m telling you all this? I’m genuinely convinced that we’ve witnessed unprecedented development over the last few years. A development that changed the way we use the content. This —first and foremost— has been driven by social media and content platforms.

However, when we get granular on airlines, creating and accessing content seems to be stuck in 1995. This mainly accounts for mid-sized and large airlines.

Email still is the number one communication tool. Indeed, many have started to use video conferencing and enhanced communication tools. However, email and the intranet are probably most common when it comes to content and information distribution. And only a few airlines are creating content at scale. Even worse: Many of the airlines I’ve talked to haven’t even understood the power of content creation.

Let’s get practical! Adapting Social Media Concepts — Or The Power Of Content-At-Scale.

From my perspective, airlines have to explore concepts to create content relevant to their employees — at scale. Subsequently, they have to establish solutions to distribute content through a personalized newsfeed app. And this should be similar to social media networks, Facebook, for example.

I’m pretty sure that the first question that comes into your mind is something like, “what kind of content is he talking about???”

I’m talking about every piece of content and every piece of information that is relevant to the particular airline employee. Every content or information they need to have a superior level of situational awareness. Every content or information they need to perform tasks is even better, more efficient, or reliable.

Here are a few examples to get that more tangible:

  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Newsfeeds from websites
  • Social media news
  • Internal news
  • Weather information
  • NOTAMs
  • Flight Updates
  • Airport information
  • Financial information (oil, currency, etc.)
  • Etc.
Snippet from a Tea with Me session I had. I thought it perfectly fits that blog post.

Automated Enterprise Content-At -Scale

However, there’s one significant difference I see compared to social media and content platforms. The initial content creation should be mainly automated. Although the possibility of creating manual content should be available, I believe that at least 90%-95% of the content has to be created automatically.

There are two reasons why: First, airline employees still have other responsibilities than internal content, and second, you need content at scale.

Creating automated content at scale allows delivering very personalized and tailored information to each airline employee. Here’s an example from an airline content platform we’ve built.

What’s The Benefit of Integrating Social Media Concepts At Airlines?

Besides lots of small benefits, there are two killer arguments why companies have to go down that road.

First of all, information is an absolute competitive advantage. Imagine an airline where every employee is entirely aware of what’s going on in operations. Secondly, tailored content at scale will lead to super-contextual communication. 

The combination of perfect awareness/information and contextual communication will positively disrupt airlines. Most likely, in a way, we can’t imagine right now — as no one could imagine the impact social media were going had ten years ago.

What Do You Think?

Always happy to discuss this further. Just hit me up on Twitter or get in touch with me on LinkedIn.

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About the author

Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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