American Airlines.. Engage, React, Respond

This post is about American Airlines and I am attempting to analyze the reasons behind the brand being among the Top 10 in Headstream Social 100 Brands Report 2013.

The report studies three social platforms for every brand – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I had a look at the American Airlines’ social channels and its online activity.

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What did strike me about American Airlines instantly when I started browsing through its various channels, especially on Facebook and Twitter, was the amazingly and insanely high level of engagement with the online followers. The tone of communication even online is friendly and human and not as expected totally stern, monotonous and professional language.

The level of interaction with followers is kept high by frequent polls, contests and quizzes on their Twitter and Facebook page. Another amazing aspect of American Airlines’ online marketing is the way in which it relates to the customers by making them a part of their branding strategy. There are pictures of real customers and not actors having a good time in their lounge / taking wedding photographs in the lounge and during many memorable moments showcasing how American Airlines has touched the lives of many customers. This one here is really touching.

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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151709835601078&set=a.357237131077.161299.7003656077&type=1&theater

The one specific that touched me was picture of a small child who lost his soft animal toy an owl on the flight. The attendant found it and the little one’s smiling picture was featured. It is definitely a win-win relationship for both the customer and the brand. Author Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As per the guidelines, I didn’t go through the ranking methodology of the report 🙂 After carefully, studying the social presence of American Airlines – trying to do as much hair splitting analysis as possible – I had a look at the methodology for ranking and the KPIs across each of the social media platforms. Not surprisingly, response time taken by the brand to reply to user comments and response rate i.e. no. of posts / comments replied to by the brand were significant engagement factors for Facebook and Twitter. Other than the standard ones like no. of views, like / dislike ratio, subscriber base, fan / follower growth rate, mentions etc.

And this totally makes sense because a social presence is not about just talking – for that there are traditional forms of marketing. Listening, reaction and response are inevitable aspects of marketing online. Great Learning..
P.S.: What followed after the post when this post was auto shared to my Twitter profile – instant response from American Airlines! 🙂 Amazing online engagement.. see the conversation snapshot below
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Smart Technology..Stupid People..??

During one of the classes on the Squared Online program last week, Aiden mentioned the shocking statistics “57% of people talk to people more online, than they do in real life.” This did force me to think and reflect back upon my own social behavior both online and offline. Though I am in love with the digital world and internet marketing, the reason I am trying to make a career out of it.
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Everyone of us have read articles on how Facebook is making people narcissist i.e. someone in love with themselves. Whenever I read such articles I used to think, “Oh! That’s for the teens and my social behavior is totally under control.” But there have been days when I talk to people more online, be it Official Messenger Tool at workplace, or Whatsapp, Gtalk, Facebook Mobile Chat on my smart phone. And that really makes me wonder, Do I really have a social life? Like Brian Solis mentions on his TED video “I love my social life!” after he enacts a day in his digital life.

One of the Social Media Pet Peeves (Yes, there is a term already :O ) I can easily identify of my own is online checking in of my location when I’m in a really happening place, and some of my friends present with me physically do get irritated by this behavior. Thankfully, I am not among those aspiring photographers who capture everything on their smart phones.

The fact that social media is changing our psychological behavior can’t be denied and sometimes we may not be even aware of our own behavioral change. This is scary! And being a millennial, I can’t even imagine how the future generations are going to behave like.

P.S: Do watch the TEDx video of Brian Solis if you haven’t..I’m a huge fan of his! 🙂

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Published!!

Yeaah.. getting published is a great feeling.. and I am truly lucky to know how it feels. My first article on Cloud Computing was published by TechRepublic last week and since then I am on cloud nine. Its great to see your efforts pay off.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, you may visit this article. What should manufacturers put in the cloud?

It is a great opportunity to write for the Enterprise Cloud section of TechRepublic online. I will be taking a look at the cloud based applications for various industries, every month. Yeah that kind of sounds too technical, especially, if you are from a different field, or not a tech geek! 🙂

Anyways, but this is not going to stop me from continuing to blog about my passions and the “not-so-tech” things in my life, over here in my personal space.

The war is still on..

Wow.. just when Facebook thought that no matter how many products, its rival, Google comes up with – Google Wave, Google Buzz – no one can challenge the dominance of the organization, set up by Mark Zuckerburg merely in his 20s, Google came up with a product which created a never before like stir in the market – Google Plus.

With Google plus, the search engine genius has been lucky finally in its third attempt creating visibility in the Social Media scene. Earlier two attempts – Google wave could not create any ripples, let alone gigantic waves and as they say Google buzz didn’t quite buzz. But Google plus is different. Somehow it feels right!!

Especially seeing the circles and how easy it is to create them, gave me a huge sense of relief, “organized-ness” and protection. On FB, I would rather not post some updates or some thoughts that I just wanted to blurt out fearing that an unintended person would read it. And.. here comes Google plus.

The wall looks nice and clear. Another, great thing about Google+, it connects with my other Google applications instantly like GTalk, Picasa, etc. It gives me the feeling of completeness because I need not go or rather login to any other site for my personal stuff. I guess this was the prime idea behind Google wave, to integrate all Google apps at one place.. but that didn’t quite work for some reason.

A very interesting case is that FB is deleting/blocking accounts of people putting ads of their Google plus profiles on FB. (which reminds me that my own WordPress account is linked to FB 😛 ). Clearly, the street smart Zuckerburg isn’t taking the Google Plus threat lying down. And why not, in its first month (not even 30 days precisely), Google+ surpasses 10 million users and the +1 button has already been added to more sites than the “tweet this” button.

So far, the social media market has just one major player and some tiny ones (Orkut, MySpace, etc.), which led to FB bending the rules of the industry. In a recent interview Mark Zuckerberg had said that the age of privacy is over in social media. That is quite an arrogant and condescending remark from the owner of the firm which creates trends in social media. However, just when FB thought that privacy is no longer important, Google plus showed them that it might be too soon to tell.

This is the beauty of competition, even the no. 1 has something to learn from the rival. In a competitive market, you have to learn and innovate everyday even if you are the leader. May be Zuckerberg is taking notes already.. after all why else does he have an account on Google plus, or wonder if that’s a fake!!

The drawbacks of Google Plus.. I think the one that I found most irritating that friends are not updated in the profiles, in my circles and vice-versa when I add them or they add me. I do get a mail intimating me that they have added me but I can’t see them on my profile.That is a huge one if you would ask me! Rest looks neat so far, just waiting for all my friends to join Google plus.

Its too soon to tell who’s gonna win but Google plus definitely had a stunning start and Facebook can’t help but stand up and notice. In terms of number, FB does have the advantage which can be used as a strength in future strategies.

Another interesting observation after the launch of Google Plus, since October 2009 Google had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in search results through a special feed – Google Real Time. But after that agreement expired on July 2 2011, Google is no longer interested to renew it, to promote its own Google Plus updates. Interesting case of forward integration in social media.

The war just got bigger and better..would be an interesting watch!

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Thou shalt not Facebook..!! Holy crap??

The new idea – “Though shalt not Facebook”, (not an official commandment though) was making headlines a couple of months back, when a New Jersey pastor was propagating against Facebook. He was asking couples to delete Facebook profiles after there were multiple instances of problems in marriages, believed to be majorly caused by Facebook. However, that may be just one dimension of looking at the whole social network revolution and it would not be prudent enough to miss the bigger picture.

Had the above statement officially been among the commandments of modern day bible, 95% of you reading this write now or using internet would be sinners as per that. That tells all about the outreach of Facebook and social media networking.

Twitter and Internet being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, signifies the depth to which social media has penetrated our day-to-day lives. (On a different note, the nomination does sound a bit bizarre!! But, on second thoughts its alright, considering Barack Obama actually won it last year which took even him by surprise. 😉 )

Some interesting Facebook facts:

>> Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months!! (500 million users in 4 years)

>> If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest by population globally!! (After India & China)

>> Facebook offers more than 70 translations. (And, still counting!)

>> 83% of all companies use Facebook.

Remembering the non-Facebook days a few years back, I realize how it has impacted our lives drastically. Sometimes I wish I had a “Real-life Like button” which I could press, on every single activity happening around. Also, it would be great if we could read people’s minds in real lives the moment we saw them like Status updates. Ditto for relation ship status and about me ;). One look at a person and a mini-biography is available for your reference, enough to make your mind about the person and decide if you want to be friends.

Its incredible when one notices how easy Facebook has made networking and communication for us. One line from your beloved ones and you get to know that they are doing alright. During the recent uprisings in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, and natural calamities in New Zealand and Japan, social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook have proved to be of good service in practical situations.

The social media world full of netizens has become so overpowering that either you are on the bandwagon or you are living in the stone age!!

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” ~ Jeff Bezos, CEO at amazon.com

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iCon

This is the birth week of the tech icon and my favorite business leader – Steve Jobs. The co-founder and CEO of Apple turns 56 on February 24. A hard working and dedicated Piscean.. just like me!! 🙂

And the company is planning to use that day — a Thursday as opposed to the traditional Tuesday — to unveil the new notebooks and other product launches.

Last year, Jobs’ birthday coincided with the 10 billionth song sale in iTunes. This was a major landmark for the Apple product which revolutionized the distribution of music over the last decade in conjunction with the iPod. Though, Apple has never called for public attention of its CEO’s birthday, nevertheless Apple’s annual shareholder meetings often coincide with or near Jobs’ birthday, resulting in shareholders toasting him with the Happy Birthday anthem.

Steve Jobs took a medical leave earlier this year and he largely remains private about his own history and personal details, including his health. Last week, rumor mills were rife with the news that broke out stating Jobs has got just 6 more weeks to live due to terminal pancreatic cancer. Hoping he proves all the speculations as wrong.

His radiant persona and can-do approach is quite contagious. As a business leader, he has had his share of highs and lows. From, co-founding apple, been thrown out of Apple, to the CEO of the company again; he has seen it all in a roller coaster ride like life. Even after he was fired from Apple, he went on and founded a new firm NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher education and business markets. NeXT was lateron merged with Apple in 1996, when he joined back to save the company from troubled waters which he had co-founded around two decades back.

Often viewed by critics as individualistic, Steve Jobs banned all books published by John Wiley & Sons from Apple Stores in response to their publishing an unauthorized biography, iCon: Steve Jobs. He does not have an authorized biography till date. Always, dressed in black and blue in his public appearances, Fortune magazine has termed him as “biggest egomaniacs of the silicon valley”

A true champion who has battled the peaks and valleys in the business world and come out triumphant each time would definitely prove himself invincible in future too.

Photo Courtesy: http://tumb.deviantart.com/art/Steve-Jobs-portrait-36733419

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Last page for paperback!

The advent of e-book reader has also brought with it, the imminent possibility of an exit of the traditional printed books. I am not going to list the pros and cons of e-books vis-a-vis hardcovers. (battery, portability, data vulnerability, and all that!!)

We all know that e-books are very much in their nascent stage at the moment. And, it might take them a while, may be a decade or so,  to conquer the paperback market. In Florida US, the state education board wants to get all digitized by 2015 and get rid of textbooks. Last year, Amazon sold 115 ebooks for every 100 paperbacks; they sold 3 times as many ebooks as they did hardbacks. A threat to paperbacks is very much evident. Are traditional paperback books really on their way out?

Can’t really bet on that! Because many a times new technology becomes the source of revival of old forms. A perfect example with reference to this may be, the arrival of still cameras.  It was after the invention of the still camera in the 1880s that some of the most famous paintings and works of art in history had been created.

On a lighter note, it is like watching Part 2 of any interesting movie. To appreciate the sequel you need to see the original movie first. And that’s why some doubt that paperback versions will ever be replaced by any form of technology!!

Quite often there is tendency of giving way too much credit to technology and showing too much dependence on technology; which may not be the reality always and in all the cases.

For instance, Malcolm Gladwell’s recent comments on uprising in the Egypt and the way he downplayed social media’s role came under heavy criticism by some.

Right now there are protests in Egypt that look like they might bring down the government. There are a thousand important things that can be said about their origins and implications. But surely the least interesting fact about them is that some of the protesters may (or may not) have at one point or another employed some of the tools of the new media to communicate with one another. Please. People protested and brought down governments before Facebook was invented. They did it before the Internet came along. Barely anyone in East Germany in the nineteen-eighties had a phone—and they ended up with hundreds of thousands of people in central Leipzig and brought down a regime that we all thought would last another hundred years—and in the French Revolution the crowd in the streets spoke to one another with that strange, today largely unknown instrument known as the human voice. People with a grievance will always find ways to communicate with each other. How they choose to do it is less interesting, in the end, than why they were driven to do it in the first place.

The New Yorker writer (and one of my favorite authors) believes that social media might be one of the tools for the current uprising but let us not miss the broader picture and concentrate on the problem at hand.

I choose to agree with Mr. Gladwell here. Howsoever, adept and powerful may technology become. It is true that revolutions had indeed happened before the advent of the internet. What we witnessed in Egypt, simply goes on to prove that large masses of crowd can still gather without an SMS or internet, as reported. After all, let us not forget that technology is just an enabler whose creator is the humankind. And, technology is not invincible!

As far as the longevity of paperback is concerned,  just because there is an alternative to printed books now, does not mean that technology might erase traditional books. Rather, co-existence of both would be a healthier option. Wait and watch..

Original article “Last Page for paperback”: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-last-page-for-the-paperback-2197823.html

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Obsessed over blog stats? : Confessions of an addicted blogger

Dreaming about blog statistics and blog charts!! Welcome to the world of blog addiction. One of the most common indications of an avid blogger.

Thanks to WordPress Post A Day 2011 and WordPress Post A Week 2011!! It is keeping bloggers like me at the toes all the time. (Or rather at the fingers!! 😉 ) The thinking cap is on all the time and no idea that comes out of mind goes unnoticed. Because any idea might be interesting enough to be converted into a post and blogged about.

One personal mission for me on WordPress blog is to cross 20,000 hits this year, which currently stands at 6,500 something. (Too ambitious, huh!! I hope not. 🙂 )

Nothing makes an enthusiastic blogger like me feel better than seeing those high bar graphs presenting the number of hits during a day on WordPress blog. For me the highest clicks on a single day has been 188. (Whoopee!!) I still remember my first reaction when I saw that tall tower on my blog stats page. I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief and checked if something was wrong. 😉 And if, it is followed by a few comments from fellow WordPressers, blog buddies and others. It just makes my day.

Another thing that adds to the excitement is the search words that are being used to find my blog. And I get an instant high 😉 to see my blog’s name directly being typed into search engine to access my blog. It somehow makes me feel like a celebrity and gives me those few seconds of fame. 🙂  That’s one remarkable and miraculous power to reach out to the world with the speed of light!!

Good luck with all your blogging missions this year!

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Watch your words..

One bad thing about having decided not to blog about my work is that I miss out writing on so much stuff and venting about numerous incidents happening throughout the day. But a good part is that I get to focus on the other things I would actually love to write about; else my blog would become just a gossip ground. ;)

A bad day at work can really shoot up the mercury of your stress meter. And that's when my blog is my relief, my hideout. Most importantly, it makes me realize that my work is not the only prominent thing in my life. It helps me forget about the outside world (non-digital). Till the time I work on my blog,  my world is the Internet and my country is WordPress.

This reminds me about various organizations coming up with their Social Media Policies, restricting associates to discuss work online and elaborate on work related issues on different social media platforms. (This might explain another important reason why I do not blog about my work!! I don't wanna lose my job ;) )

Anyways, it is quite amusing and ironical at the same time, to witness how the power of social media has threatened mighty corporates and business giants. Any kind of publicity on social media (coming from employees, particularly), may not always be a GOOD PUBLICITY!! ;)

As rightly said by  the rock band Alter Bridge, Watch Your Words!! Enjoy the song..I absolutely adore the guitar intro.

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Earth Hour!!

Earth Hour!!

27th March, 2010 is a rather unusual day. On this day, the world celebrates “The Earth Hour Day”. Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Earth Hour takes place at 8.30pm (local time) and is a global wake up call for every individual, business, fraternity and every community throughout the world to commit to reduction of carbon footprints in day-to-day activities.

Landmark architectures, business complexes and residential areas from Europe to Asia to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing all of us have in common – our planet.

In 2009, nearly 1 billion people in 4,100 cities in 87 countries on seven continents turned out their lights for Earth Hour.

Don’t know what to do during this one hour!!

10 ways to kill time during Earth Hour 2010 –

1) Capture Earth Hour activities in photos and videos

2) Organize outdoor evening party with dear one using flashlights or candles, eat, chat and laugh; also talk about ways to reduce energy use.

3) Make lifetime pledge for the planet to lower your overall impact on the environment – Recycle, use public transport, unplug electronics when not in use.

4) Turn off the laptops, cell phones, ipods and just have an hour of steady time with your family.

5) Grab a flashlight and start walking down your house street an opportunity always missed due to work, watching television or browsing net. Would suffice as a one hour work out..

6) This one is my favorites – engage yourself in some stargazing, memories of good old childhood days haunting!! ctahc up with old stars and constellation you don’t have time for anymore – big dipper, orion and others!!

7) Hunt for recyclables. Get your flashlights and find cans, bottles and boxes that can be reused to reduce items that end up in landfills.

For long we have taken for granted the ownership of the planet we are living in, this is an opportunity to stand together for EARTH’s survival, OUR survivial !!