Social media is its own beast: the Qantas way

Anyone who’s been to one of my social media presentations will be able to tell you one of my favourite phrases is: Social media is its own beast.

Social media isn’t marketing.

Social media isn’t sales.

Social media isn’t public relations. Or customer service. Or advertising.

Qantas unofficial Facebook Page
Qantas unofficial Facebook Page

It’s all of those things and more, rolled into one, covered with a layer of intimacy and immediacy; a world that is constantly evolving and constantly surprising us.

That’s why I shudder when I hear marketers complain that social media isn’t giving them the wins they expected. It’s why I shake my head when I hear companies ask if they “still need to do the social media thing” and whether it’s a trend that’s dying out.

Social media has come about because humans love communications. We love interaction. We want to know what’s going on. You don’t dismiss it because sales aren’t forthcoming.

Individual social media platforms may collapse and change, but social media itself isn’t going away. And if you run a business, or you’re in the communications field in any way shape or form, you need to be spending time in social media – somewhere, somehow – because you’re also interested in interacting with others.

Now let’s look at the recent Qantas issue.

As the media has raked over the coals of the story of Qantas locking out its employees and grounding all flights (a controversial tactic in a long running industrial dispute), one of the aspects that’s been investigated has been (surprise surprise) Qantas’s use of social media during this time.

If you’re interested in an overview and analysis, read Qantas will learn from its social customers by Servant of Chaos, Qantas rapped for bad social media service  and Qantas dispute and social media.

I’m not going to rake over the coals, but just make this point:  the Qantas industrial dispute demonstrates again that SOCIAL MEDIA IS ITS OWN BEAST.

Right now, Qantas’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are: sending messages to customers, attempting to defend the brand, acting as a news source, enabling and displaying customer complaints, gathering research into community reaction (and of course I put this politely), enabling that community to talk to each other and ‘maintain the rage’ and engage in political debate and more – all while the news media and general public are able to analyse every post and tweet Qantas puts up.

Social. Media. Is. Its. Own. Beast.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very true. I wonder how many shifts there are manning the QANTAS social media desks…..

  2. Robin @Robin_Hop says:

    I love this article. I hear so many times from senior management ‘oh social media is just a fad’ or ‘I’m not going to learn about Twitter, the hype will be over in a year or two so there’s no point’ etc. I always ask ‘but do you care about people? Relationships? Talking to people? Networking? Sharing ideas?’ Surely those concepts have been and will be around forever… social media is just a new way of facilitating these basic human interactions.

    Great blog post as always!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Robin, very kind. I do think some people have their fingers crossed and are hoping ‘social media’ will go away. They don’t realise what they’re missing out on! Social media is educational, fun, valuable, rewarding … but you know all that.

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