Malaysia Airlines achieves 1 million Likes on Facebook

Malaysia Airlines issued a press release yesterday announcing the airline has one million “Likes” on Facebook.

You don’t need me to tell you Facebook is massive. But I will. Facebook is massive. If it were a country it would be the third largest in terms of population, the largest in terms of area covered and probably the richest in terms of income.

So it is understandable that MAS wants to use Social Media and in particular Facebook, to build its business. Indeed, Khairul Syahar Khalid, Malaysia Airlines’ Head of Advertising & Promotions says, “Social Media is a new frontier for marketing, and as many brands have discovered, going on social media certainly pays.”

Encik Khairul adds, “We have positioned social media at the forefront of our marketing mix. We will be pushing the boundaries even further with our next marketing plans, all of which will see the social media platforms at the forefront. We want to continue to engage with our fans globally at a much deeper level whilst growing our footprint further. Growing our engagement with fans globally has contributed significantly to our business turnaround successes.”

Crediting Social Media with providing a significant contribution to the improvements in the airline’s performances recently is interesting and shows how important is Social Media.

Personally I think it is exciting that MAS is pushing the boundaries even further on social media, especially after the dreadful advertising campaign that is still being run. For more on that campaign please refer to this article

To thank fans for helping the airline reach one million ‘Likes’ on Facebook, MAS created a video with their social media ambassador, Malaysian singer Yuna. The video has been viewed 2,000 times since its launch a week ago.

Incidentally, I believe the Malaysian government has missed a trick here because I think Yuna should be the face of the Malaysia Nation Brand. You can read more about that here.

But how important are Facebook ‘Likes’? Are they a relevant metric for a business? What do they tell us and how can we leverage them?

The bad news is that 96% (BrandGlue goes even further, stating that only 0.02% of fans who ‘Like’ a page ever return) of ‘fans’ never return to a page after liking it. Moreover on Facebook, most posts are seen only by about 10% of fans.

Another little known fact about Facebook is that when fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don’t necessarily see them. In other words, just because you go to your fan page doesn’t mean your fans are doing the same.

Consumers are increasingly sceptical about Facebook ‘Likes’ because it it is so easy and cheap to buy them. Twipquick is offering 100,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ for about US$750.

Any social media strategy must have clearly defined target markets and relevant customer data and content must be developed that will resonate with those customers. This content must resonate with those target markets. After all, there aren’t any groups for 18-35 year olds on Facebook.

MAS must avoid taking its advertising campaigns and trying to push them out across social media. Taking a video and dubbing it into the local language is not a social media strategy. This is simply mass economy marketing and there is no place for that model in the social economy where customers not companies define brands.

MAS must engage consumers and encourage them to contribute to the MAS story and then share and encourage the sharing of that content whilst enabling multiple channels for consumers to interact through.

At the same time, MAS must not forget its existing customers. MAS has millions of frequent flyer members but it currently neglects these existing customers, despite spending a lot of money to acquire them.

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