Rule No.8: Be open to new ideas

It is easy to get into a routine of just posting on Facebook and updating your Twitter account every so often and maintain the current level of engagement you have with your brand’s followers. However, an effective social media campaign is one that constantly finds ways to get people excited and keep them talking about your product or service.

KLM has received a lot of attention during the last year due to their various social media campaigns. As of yet, they have not released any figures regarding the ROI of their campaigns. Nevertheless, it is still interesting to look at the innovative campaigns they have devised to keep their fans/followers engaged over the last few years.

Fly for Fortune

In 2006, KLM seeded a Pixar-like game trailer to blogs, forums, as well as 200 local and global video sharing portals and social networks. A micro site was created where the target audience personalised their plane and flew it to a destination of their choice. The campaign utilised social gaming as a way to get more publicity. The grand prize were 2 tickets around the world.

In Touch

In 2008 KLM established a market research online community (MROC), called In Touch. The program was developed to get a better understanding of the Elite members of its Flying Blue frequent flyer program in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Sweden

The program has several key strengths, which can be taken as a best practice guide by anyone looking to replicate KLM’s model.

  • The MROC was based on a clear mission statement – the overall goal was “to understand the customers’ values, aspirations, dreams and challenges and co-create relevant, differentiated offerings”
  • The research was used only for qualitative insights
  • It also focused on a specific customer segment – the Elite members of the Flying Blue program
  • KLM dedicated a research evangelist to build mindshare around the community – It was crucial to have an individual who was familiar with the ins and outs of the MROC in order to get the rest of the company on board the project
  • The MROC evangelist also sparked research interests before the community took shape – KLM had an internal launch to educate stakeholders on what the community was and how it could be used, as well as providing examples of the kind of research that could be done. During the launch, they directly engaged the potential community users through an informal brainstorming session, which created a sense of ownership for everyone involved.
  • KLM also marketed the community to build awareness and interest within the company itself
  • The most powerful thing that came out of the MROC was how the insights from the community was integrated with other research. A great example was KLM’s research on personal space. The response from the community gave context to quantitative data and resulted in KLM leaving the middle seat vacant for business class seats.
  • KLM took the information from the community and spread it across more parts of the company
  • Also, the community allowed the stakeholders to become more involved earlier in the product development process

Secret Cities Twitter Contest

KLM’s Twitter followers were offered a chance to win 2 flight tickets every week from the 28th of March until the 22nd of April 2011.

Twitter followers received a daily tweet with a link to a picture of that day’s secret location along with a small hint. The followers participated by pinpointing a flag on a world map. The winner was chosen based on who had closest guess during the week.

KLM Valentine

KLM built a micro site that was live for one day only, Valentine’s day. The goal was to create awareness for the Twitter account and to generate followers. All participants had to do was to follow KLM on Twitter, tweet who they would like to go to Paris with and use the hashtag ‘#KLMLove’. Followers then had a chance to win a free trip to Paris for two.

Social Luggage Tag Campaign

Facebook followers simply uploaded an image onto KLM’s Facebook page to create a customized luggage tag. Limited numbers of customized luggage tags were then created and sent to the lucky Facebook followers.

KLM Travlr

KLM Travlr is a beta tool that allows people to find a holiday destination according to their budget and interest. The results are based on uploaded user generated content from Flickr, Wikitravel, Google Maps, Twitter, Foursquare and Youtube.

The locations are clickable and provide a page with background information about the destination, pictures/videos, a map of the area and the possibility to book a KLM flight to the nearest airport. The results are then shareable through various social media networks.

This tool is a powerful one that may change how we search for holidays. It focuses on online recommendations and tries to aggregate the data on the Internet into a user-friendly one-stop app.

KLM Surprise

In 2010 KLM conducted a research on how happiness spreads. The crux of the campaign was to give random surprises and bring joy to customers who checked in via Foursquare for flights or tweet about waiting to board the next KLM service.

A team identified KLM passengers waiting for flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. They then researched each person’s social profile to find out a little bit more about their personality and destination before matching that to a surprise gift, which they gave each person before they boarded their flight. 40 passengers were given gifts and the airline’s Twitter feed gained 1 million impressions as a direct result of the campaign.

#Fly2Miami

Late last year, KLM announced on Twitter that they would open their Amsterdam to Miami route on March 27 2011.

Sied van Riel (international Dutch DJ/producer) and Wilco Jung (movie maker) asked KLM via Twitter why they didn’t schedule a direct flight from Amsterdam to Miami a week earlier. KLM was missing the most important days of March for the dance scene in 2011. KLM proposed a bet; the pair fill up the plane with people heading to Miami and KLM will provide them with a direct flight from Amsterdam a week earlier. It was the first time in history that a flight would take place resulting from a bet on Twitter.

Within 48 hours, 150 people had signed up for the flight. During the inaugural flight, 450 people with DJs, VJs and MCs partied at altitude en-route to Miami.

Tile and Inspire Aircraft

Fans on Facebook and other social media sites were invited to convert their profile pictures along with an inspiring message, into a Delft-blue tile. Those that did stood a chance of seeing their tile on the KLM Boeing 777-200.

120,000 tiles were created in 154 countries; 77, 000 of which were submitted for a place on the aircraft. Inspiring messages were submitted in Chinese, German, English, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

The aircraft was unveiled in June 2011, decorated with stickers of 120,00 delft blue tiles. The campaign aimed to give customers a memorable flying experience and to transcend the notion that a KLM aircraft simply transports passengers from point A to point B.

Despite the lack of any data on how much engagement or direct revenue these campaigns generated, the key thing to learn is that social media lends itself well to creativity. Social media is very fluid and as such, it offers a lot of opportunities for creative thinking and learning by trial-and-error. Not every campaign will go viral and not every tweet will result in a ticket sale but for a brand that is dedicated to keeping their customer base informed, social media has definite advantages over traditional ads and email marketing.

About Maebellyne Ventura

Maebellyne Ventura is a digital marketing professional writing about social media practices. She is also a founder of the online start-up Clever Biscuit. Follow her on Twitter @Maebellyne
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply