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Qantas Gets Its Twitter Wings

For a long time Qantas has had no online social media presence, yet around a week ago, Qantas launched its first official Twitter accounts. Yes that’s right, two accounts @QantasMedia and @Qantas_Airways! The first account is self described as, “The official Qantas Twitter account for breaking news,” whilst the other seems to be an outlet for the company to direct people to appropriate areas within the company regarding their concerns.

Both accounts are presented in a consistent & professional manner with the signature red background, as well as matching Qantas avatars. Interestingly, at a follower level, @QantasMedia follows 67 users and has smashed the 1,000 follower-mark, whilst @Qantas_Airways has just reached 400 followers, but isn’t following anyone at all! Oddly, the two accounts aren’t even following each other!

The question of a follower strategy is one that is often debated in the thinktank media office. There are those who believe that Qantas should follow everyone that mentions the brand; a way of acknowledging all us mere mortals on Twitter. Whilst others here believe that Qantas should follow just those who are regular flyers & industry heavyweights who offer great content to share with everyone via retweet. This is all dependent on what Qantas decide their strategy to be, and I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section at the end!

Many companies have embraced Twitter to respond directly to customer concerns/praise and ask their followers what they want from their brand. One noteworthy company which excels at this is Vodafone Australia with their @VodafoneAU_Help account. They are quick & efficient in responding to customer concerns and actively invite and participate in Twitter discussions.

@Qantas_Airways is beginning to reply to fellow tweeters, which is encouraging. It’ll be exciting to see how this account learns & develops its interaction moving forward. Hopefully the account begins to follow others, therefore acknowledging other accounts as worthy of listening to.

@QantasMedia, at this stage, is on the polar end of this scale of engagement, seemingly directing most customer concerns to the Qantas website, rather than responding on Twitter. Social media forces a level of transparency onto participating brands. So it’s important for companies who choose Twitter, to listen, openly acknowledge customer issues, thank customers when thanks are due and shift the spotlight to being seen as actively listening, engaging and providing solutions.

It’s definitely a brave step into the spotlight for Qantas, and it has opened itself up to a huge opportunity. We are hopeful for the travel giant to develop & expand its strategy and use it to its advantage. It’s important for Qantas to define a following strategy and work out the balance of its content. Here are a few points that I personally believe Qantas could take on-board:

1.    Follow select industry relevant professionals,

2.    Respond via Twitter, rather than directing people to a general website,

3.    Become a news aggregator for the industry,

4.    Cross-promote with industry partners for value-adding to their community,

5.    Re-tweet comments from their followers, acknowledging their value & presence,

6.    Decide whether news aggregation & community interaction truly requires two separate accounts.

Are you excited by Qantas joining the Twitter world? Do you love what the brand is so far doing? Or what are your concerns for the Qantas Twitter accounts?

It’s an exciting time for the Aussie brand and all of us jet-setters! We wish Qantas the best of luck & happy tweeting!

  • http://twitter.com/Filbo_ Fil Sarna

    Love the comparison to Vodafone!
    I’m a little confused why Qantas decided it needed to create 2 accounts too.
    1 account to share news & engage in conversation is more than adequate & much less confusing.

    Personally, I’m excited the iconic brand has finally hopped into the online social network. It’s a gutsy move following a somewhat turbulent & testing time for Qantas.

    Just like Vodafone & Telstra, Qantas has the power to become a leader in its industry here. I sure hope it does!

    And in all honesty, Qantas’ actions on Twitter will go a long way to winning (or losing) my brand loyalty in the skies!

  • http://twitter.com/Filbo_ Fil Sarna

    Love the comparison to Vodafone!
    I’m a little confused why Qantas decided it needed to create 2 accounts too.
    1 account to share news & engage in conversation is more than adequate & much less confusing.

    Personally, I’m excited the iconic brand has finally hopped into the online social network. It’s a gutsy move following a somewhat turbulent & testing time for Qantas.

    Just like Vodafone & Telstra, Qantas has the power to become a leader in its industry here. I sure hope it does!

    And in all honesty, Qantas’ actions on Twitter will go a long way to winning (or losing) my brand loyalty in the skies!

  • http://twitter.com/b00ka Brendan Marsh

    I think that Qantas should only follow partners & industry heavy-weights. Following everyone gives the illusion of spam & desperation. Only issue with this theory is the DM factor… Something which could be a pain if you had to follow and unfollow all the time just to facilitate Direct Messaging, which I’m sure they’ll be needing to do frequently.

  • http://twitter.com/b00ka Brendan Marsh

    I think that Qantas should only follow partners & industry heavy-weights. Following everyone gives the illusion of spam & desperation. Only issue with this theory is the DM factor… Something which could be a pain if you had to follow and unfollow all the time just to facilitate Direct Messaging, which I’m sure they’ll be needing to do frequently.

  • Jenbishop81

    At last Qantas! God knows they need some good PR right now! Agree that Vodafone is a superb example of a larger company doing Twitter well.

  • Jenbishop81

    At last Qantas! God knows they need some good PR right now! Agree that Vodafone is a superb example of a larger company doing Twitter well.

  • Jenbishop81

    At last Qantas! God knows they need some good PR right now! Agree that Vodafone is a superb example of a larger company doing Twitter well.

  • http://twitter.com/NETDe NETDe Web Design

    A very interesting post

    I think it’s great to see big brands realising SM is a platform that they can really connect with consumers, i hope it keeps up, a lot of airlines in the US and UK do it to different levels

    The 3 mobile acct on twitter is very poor and they are now owned by voda, you would have thought that they would have brought it up to the parent company’s standards in regard to twitter

    Thanks for bringing it up

    Id also like to comment on each of your points too:
    1. Follow select industry relevant professionals,
    (Great idea, this also build credibility, and by following people like lonely planet would enable them to quite easily RT messages from those accounts, but what ever they do make it relevant)

    2. Respond via Twitter, rather than directing people to a general website,
    (Im in 2 minds about this, id prefer if i asked a question of them, they answered in a tweet and provided a link with more info if i needed it. Sometimes a simple Yes/No is all that is required, eg: “can i take my surfboard as carry on?” then a simple no with a link to oversize baggage on the website would be good)

    3. Become a news aggregator for the industry,
    (I dont agree with this point, i think if industry news is big and does affect QANTAS then they should tweet it, other wise not, id consider it spam and unfollow, and plus would they really tweet the Virgin have announced new low cost fares to a destination?)

    4. Cross-promote with industry partners for value-adding to their community,
    (This really is a no brainer, imagine if QANTAS were having a cheap fare to the gold coast and their rental car partner were also having a promotion on the same weekend, that is really where you can really get some value and people would value that)

    5. Re-tweet comments from their followers, acknowledging their value & presence,
    (This is such an easy thing to do and it gives people such a great feeling that they are being valued by the airline they are flying on, you could hold a comp every week for the best tweet that Qantas share as a RT and the Person etc gets a return flight somewhere)

    6. Decide whether news aggregation & community interaction truly requires two separate accounts.
    (On this point i think you have hit it on the head, they could easily combine the acct and provide more value to flyers etc in doing so)

    The only other thing i love to see them do is engage their frequent flyers more on twitter, like once every week have a twitter only special offer that can be redeemed via frequent flyer points

    Anyway, thats enough from me, Sorry for such a long post
    Sam

  • http://twitter.com/NETDe NETDe Web Design

    A very interesting post

    I think it’s great to see big brands realising SM is a platform that they can really connect with consumers, i hope it keeps up, a lot of airlines in the US and UK do it to different levels

    The 3 mobile acct on twitter is very poor and they are now owned by voda, you would have thought that they would have brought it up to the parent company’s standards in regard to twitter

    Thanks for bringing it up

    Id also like to comment on each of your points too:
    1. Follow select industry relevant professionals,
    (Great idea, this also build credibility, and by following people like lonely planet would enable them to quite easily RT messages from those accounts, but what ever they do make it relevant)

    2. Respond via Twitter, rather than directing people to a general website,
    (Im in 2 minds about this, id prefer if i asked a question of them, they answered in a tweet and provided a link with more info if i needed it. Sometimes a simple Yes/No is all that is required, eg: “can i take my surfboard as carry on?” then a simple no with a link to oversize baggage on the website would be good)

    3. Become a news aggregator for the industry,
    (I dont agree with this point, i think if industry news is big and does affect QANTAS then they should tweet it, other wise not, id consider it spam and unfollow, and plus would they really tweet the Virgin have announced new low cost fares to a destination?)

    4. Cross-promote with industry partners for value-adding to their community,
    (This really is a no brainer, imagine if QANTAS were having a cheap fare to the gold coast and their rental car partner were also having a promotion on the same weekend, that is really where you can really get some value and people would value that)

    5. Re-tweet comments from their followers, acknowledging their value & presence,
    (This is such an easy thing to do and it gives people such a great feeling that they are being valued by the airline they are flying on, you could hold a comp every week for the best tweet that Qantas share as a RT and the Person etc gets a return flight somewhere)

    6. Decide whether news aggregation & community interaction truly requires two separate accounts.
    (On this point i think you have hit it on the head, they could easily combine the acct and provide more value to flyers etc in doing so)

    The only other thing i love to see them do is engage their frequent flyers more on twitter, like once every week have a twitter only special offer that can be redeemed via frequent flyer points

    Anyway, thats enough from me, Sorry for such a long post
    Sam

  • Tania Shirgwin

    Love the 6 points Qantas could take on board whilst using Twitter. Think the most important though is to ‘decide whether news aggregation & community interaction truly requires two separate accounts’. I’m not a fan of two accounts, think it will be harder to manage and engage.
    Personally, I find the timing interesting, but congratulate Qantas for taking this step.

  • Tania Shirgwin

    Love the 6 points Qantas could take on board whilst using Twitter. Think the most important though is to ‘decide whether news aggregation & community interaction truly requires two separate accounts’. I’m not a fan of two accounts, think it will be harder to manage and engage.
    Personally, I find the timing interesting, but congratulate Qantas for taking this step.

  • Kirsten

    Good work Qantas! About time they got onto Twitter! :)

    The one way I can understand why Qantas may have two accounts, may be due to the nature and existence of each is quite different. One for news and the other conduct conversations and feedback.

    For example,

    If I have a comments/questions to ask Qantas I can follow the consumer account, rather than just following the one twitter account that also keeps feeding news about the company that I may not necessairly be interested in or vice versa.

    From Qantas point of view – two seperate accounts may be necessary in being able to manage the large amount of interactions. Making it easier to reply to comments on media releases or replying to consumers in regards to praise or concerns.

    Although, I do agree with previous comments that having one account is much easier to manage and engage consumers and create relationships.

  • Kirsten

    Good work Qantas! About time they got onto Twitter! :)

    The one way I can understand why Qantas may have two accounts, may be due to the nature and existence of each is quite different. One for news and the other conduct conversations and feedback.

    For example,

    If I have a comments/questions to ask Qantas I can follow the consumer account, rather than just following the one twitter account that also keeps feeding news about the company that I may not necessairly be interested in or vice versa.

    From Qantas point of view – two seperate accounts may be necessary in being able to manage the large amount of interactions. Making it easier to reply to comments on media releases or replying to consumers in regards to praise or concerns.

    Although, I do agree with previous comments that having one account is much easier to manage and engage consumers and create relationships.

  • http://twitter.com/millionsofmyles millionsofmyles

    Once again, a great post.Be warned, here is another of my long replies which of course, has a point.Now over the past two years I have been in a long distance relationship with a Canadian.I had never been overseas before and was of course nervous. This was about the same time I started on Twitter.After me returning and everything going well (and still going strong) I decided to tweet Air Canada (@AC_Websaver) and thank them for a fantastic trip. Fed three times in 14 hours, smiling staff, great onboard entertainment. It really was a good experience, why not?Bugger me, they replied and asked how I found everything. Wow! They wanted feedback! They also got to know me a bit and asked what bought me to Canada. I explained and their comments were almost touching.They have followed our relationship. They ask how I am. They keep me close over me when I tell them I’ve booked a flight. Two weeks ago they DM’d me to confirm Jenn’s special meal request to make sure she got it this time (last time she didn’t).When Jenn flew to Australia last, I thanked them for getting her here safely, they said it was their pleasure and let me know that they are there for us.Good! Jenn’s passport got damaged in a storm, I decided to tweet them, after we got no help from the Canadian Government. @AC_Websaver helped us out, called us, and directed us to the offices in Sydney etc. They contacted Qantas to let them know of the damaged passport and then helped Jenn out with a few vouchers. A stressful time that they made easier via Twitter.They have even DM’d me a video they found on YouTube of, get this, another Canadian and Aussie couple who thanked them in a video. “@millionsofmyles Thought you may like and relate to this. See you onboard soon.”All of this is pure fact. No word of a lie.I have obviously got a fantastic relationship with Air Canada. They reply to every mention, even if it is just a thank you. I know I can ask them anything. I know they will do their best to help me out. I find the same with other industry accounts such as @Optus. They are my first line of support and they know it.Qantas and every company diving into social media have to realise; “it’s not about you”. Their social streams are not about what they want. They are about their customers, the ones who keep them in business.They should be used to build relationships which in turn create advocates. They should be about keeping your customers informed of changes, such as prices, downtime etc. Hey, we take the time to follow you; we want to know about the airfares FIRST! We want to know about the delays FIRST!I believe your follow list says to everyone “These are the folks/accounts I care about”. If Qantas only followed their own accounts, what does that say to people?If they want only industry sources, I am sure Sam could go out there and help them create a few Twitter lists.I am not saying they should follow everyone that follows them, we all get spambots, but they should at least be following those that have taken the time to @mention them and be listening to those who talk about Qantas etc. It shows mutual respect and shows they are listening out there too.So, after the reading the above, we can see what Twitter can be used for and how powerful Twitter is for building relationships.Here is how I would structure it:All streams are alive (two way communication).1. @Qantas_Airways: The front line. For interaction with customers, quick, useful and relevant information but most of all, support. A hive of activity. 2. @qftravelinsider: The sharing feed of tips, industry news, interesting content etc. linking in nicely with their YouTube channel and Facebook page.3. @QantasMedia: Media feed also linking in nicely with their YouTube channel and Facebook page.4. Monitor Airline related forums (airliners.net) and feedback channels such as Skytrax (airlinequality.com)Qantas more than any other airline in Australia, have the potential to make this work better than any airline ever has.I believe Qantas can reverse a lot of the bad talk online and in the press about them and get that Skytrax rating back up there all because of, once again, good use of Social Media.

  • http://twitter.com/millionsofmyles Myles Harris

    Once again, a great post.Be warned, here is another of my long replies which of course, has a point.Now over the past two years I have been in a long distance relationship with a Canadian.I had never been overseas before and was of course nervous. This was about the same time I started on Twitter.After me returning and everything going well (and still going strong) I decided to tweet Air Canada (@AC_Websaver) and thank them for a fantastic trip. Fed three times in 14 hours, smiling staff, great onboard entertainment. It really was a good experience, why not?Bugger me, they replied and asked how I found everything. Wow! They wanted feedback! They also got to know me a bit and asked what bought me to Canada. I explained and their comments were almost touching.They have followed our relationship. They ask how I am. They keep me close over me when I tell them I’ve booked a flight. Two weeks ago they DM’d me to confirm Jenn’s special meal request to make sure she got it this time (last time she didn’t).When Jenn flew to Australia last, I thanked them for getting her here safely, they said it was their pleasure and let me know that they are there for us.Good! Jenn’s passport got damaged in a storm, I decided to tweet them, after we got no help from the Canadian Government. @AC_Websaver helped us out, called us, and directed us to the offices in Sydney etc. They contacted Qantas to let them know of the damaged passport and then helped Jenn out with a few vouchers. A stressful time that they made easier via Twitter.They have even DM’d me a video they found on YouTube of, get this, another Canadian and Aussie couple who thanked them in a video. “@millionsofmyles Thought you may like and relate to this. See you onboard soon.”All of this is pure fact. No word of a lie.I have obviously got a fantastic relationship with Air Canada. They reply to every mention, even if it is just a thank you. I know I can ask them anything. I know they will do their best to help me out. I find the same with other industry accounts such as @Optus. They are my first line of support and they know it.Qantas and every company diving into social media have to realise; “it’s not about you”. Their social streams are not about what they want. They are about their customers, the ones who keep them in business.They should be used to build relationships which in turn create advocates. They should be about keeping your customers informed of changes, such as prices, downtime etc. Hey, we take the time to follow you; we want to know about the airfares FIRST! We want to know about the delays FIRST!I believe your follow list says to everyone “These are the folks/accounts I care about”. If Qantas only followed their own accounts, what does that say to people?If they want only industry sources, I am sure Sam could go out there and help them create a few Twitter lists.I am not saying they should follow everyone that follows them, we all get spambots, but they should at least be following those that have taken the time to @mention them and be listening to those who talk about Qantas etc. It shows mutual respect and shows they are listening out there too.So, after the reading the above, we can see what Twitter can be used for and how powerful Twitter is for building relationships.Here is how I would structure it:All streams are alive (two way communication).1. @Qantas_Airways: The front line. For interaction with customers, quick, useful and relevant information but most of all, support. A hive of activity. 2. @qftravelinsider: The sharing feed of tips, industry news, interesting content etc. linking in nicely with their YouTube channel and Facebook page.3. @QantasMedia: Media feed also linking in nicely with their YouTube channel and Facebook page.4. Monitor Airline related forums (airliners.net) and feedback channels such as Skytrax (airlinequality.com)Qantas more than any other airline in Australia, have the potential to make this work better than any airline ever has.I believe Qantas can reverse a lot of the bad talk online and in the press about them and get that Skytrax rating back up there all because of, once again, good use of Social Media.

  • Anonymous

    nice post Rochelle :)

  • Anonymous

    nice post Rochelle :)

  • http://twitter.com/MikeFromEngage Michael Halligan

    Great article guys. With social media Qantas have the opportunity to speak to customers without any media slant. I will be interested to see if they use it with complete transparency or try to put a media spin on everything that they say.

    Love your story millionsofmyles – I’m flying with them early in the new year and might give them a word.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeFromEngage Michael Halligan

    Great article guys. With social media Qantas have the opportunity to speak to customers without any media slant. I will be interested to see if they use it with complete transparency or try to put a media spin on everything that they say.

    Love your story millionsofmyles – I’m flying with them early in the new year and might give them a word.

  • http://twitter.com/anthonyalsop Anthony Alsop

    Qantas did actually have a presence on Twitter before this new account, it is @QantasUSA and I had been chatting with them until this new account came along and they were a great help, no matter where you were in the world.

    They did the brand very well and were helpful in leading to me getting a great response from the company locally, so I was impressed with them!

    As with all these big businesses, we’ll see how important it is to them by the resources they put in over the long haul, with telecom companies like Telstra and Vodafone leading the way as great examples of big businesses willing to devote enough resources in terms of human capital.

  • http://twitter.com/anthonyalsop Anthony Alsop

    Qantas did actually have a presence on Twitter before this new account, it is @QantasUSA and I had been chatting with them until this new account came along and they were a great help, no matter where you were in the world.

    They did the brand very well and were helpful in leading to me getting a great response from the company locally, so I was impressed with them!

    As with all these big businesses, we’ll see how important it is to them by the resources they put in over the long haul, with telecom companies like Telstra and Vodafone leading the way as great examples of big businesses willing to devote enough resources in terms of human capital.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTZMDYDCU3YNIQKOPX5ZQUXCJA Dean T

    I’d have to disagree with Vodafone’s use of twitter.
    If they were serious then they would have organised for a 24/7 business (ie telecommunications) to be online a tad longer than the current 9 to 5.
    Probably their first step, but i’d like to see a stonger (and longer) presence, considering the amount of users they have!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTZMDYDCU3YNIQKOPX5ZQUXCJA Dean T

    I’d have to disagree with Vodafone’s use of twitter.
    If they were serious then they would have organised for a 24/7 business (ie telecommunications) to be online a tad longer than the current 9 to 5.
    Probably their first step, but i’d like to see a stonger (and longer) presence, considering the amount of users they have!

  • http://www.small-business-insurance.com.au Small Business Insurance

    Great read and informative, thanks. You’re right we don’t hear very much at all about the Greens Policies. I had no idea they didn’t recieve big biz political donations – good on them. This will be something I’ll be keeping strongly in mind when I head to the ballot box.
    Very awesome of you to share these – thanks! :)

  • http://www.small-business-insurance.com.au Small Business Insurance

    Great read and informative, thanks. You’re right we don’t hear very much at all about the Greens Policies. I had no idea they didn’t recieve big biz political donations – good on them. This will be something I’ll be keeping strongly in mind when I head to the ballot box.
    Very awesome of you to share these – thanks! :)

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