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United Airlines: Unlocking social media sales socially, presented by Allison Brown


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In her Member Meeting case study presentation, United's Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing Programs, Allison Brown, talks about using social commerce to create a better …

In her Member Meeting case study presentation, United's Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing Programs, Allison Brown, talks about using social commerce to create a better experience for their customers.

Allison reveals their new social program called Flight Fancies and explains how it's benefiting their social media strategy by selling the experience over the product.

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  • 1. SOCIALMEDIA.ORG CASE STUDIES Member Meeting 32 Chicago, 6-15-2014 Learn more about Member Meetings SOC IALMEDIA. ORG MEM B ER MEETIN G 32 CHICA GO United Airlines Allison Brown Unlocking social media sales socially
  • 2. Unlocking Social Media Sales Socially UNITED
  • 3. 2 UNITED What are the big questions that keep you up at night?
  • 4. WSJ- Social Media Fail to Live Up to Early Marketing Hype Just Being Social is not cutting it anymore. Quote‐ Jan Rezab, chief executive of Socialbakers AS “Fans and follower counts are over. Now it's about what is social doing for you and real business objectives." UNITED Businesses are looking more critically at social media and its influence on the bottom line. A majority of respondents in a Gallup survey said that social media had no influence at all on purchasing decisions.
  • 5. “That’s cool. Where should I go for spring break?” Desired- I just booked a flight to Denver on I just checked in for my flight to Munich on Social Notifications Social Reactions “I will book a flight on too” Reality- “So what? You are going to Denver for work again.” “Well, good for you, but I’m not about to spend $xxx.xx just because you did” United is having a special deal to Hawaii “Too bad. I wasn’t looking for a beach vacation, I was actually searching for outdoor adventure destinations” UNITED Current implementation of social integration One way communication, product focused, lack of CTA, not too targeted “I can buy my client a drink?! It will seal the business deal, and I will look good in social space. I’m so doing that .”
  • 6. 5 Its one-way communication It’s not too engaging/compelling It’s hard to track and measure It’s not tailored beyond broad segmentation It’s missing the social component of social YOUR MESSAGE SHOUT-OUT What's wrong with the Megaphone approach? UNITED BRAND Not a problem but can we do more?
  • 7. Peer Recommendations (Amazon, Yelp) Group Buying (Groupon, LivingSocial) Peer to Peer (eBay, Etsy) Social Shopping (Mattel, Go Try It On) Participatory (Threadless, Kickstarter) UNITED Assessing the social commerce landscape Noticing communication direction, who are the players? Source ‐The 7 species of social commerce by Lauren Indvik
  • 8. UNITED Maslow's drivers of human behavior SELF-ACTUALIZATION - Problem solving, Helping others, personal growth, fulfillment… ESTEEM - Confidence, Achievement, Recognition, status… LOVE/BELONGING - Friends, Family, affection… SAFETY - Security, Employment, Insurance, order, law… PHYSIOLOGICAL- Breathing, Food, Sleep Water… Why do we do what we do?
  • 9. SOCIAL - Connections, Sharing, Reciprocation ESCAPISM – Entertainment, Enjoyment EXPRESSION – Communication, Consumption, Transaction UNITED ALTRUISM & DISCOVERY - Problem solving, helping others, self development, learn from others, meaningful, truth What motivates us in social space? Source – TMW social Media Research   Why is it important for us to understand these drivers? FAME - Recognition, Reputation, Status
  • 10. My Epiphany- baby Brown UNITED
  • 11. 10 Basic Product Overview “Flight Fancies” is a social storefront   intended to use our existing customers  and their buying behavior to trigger  purchase of our ancillary products by  their social networks.  Customers can purchase products  or  pay for fees on their friend’s / client’s  itinerary. i.e – pay for their baggage  fee, drinks on the plane,  e plus, United  club day passes, and  more. We are helping people use social  gifting to reinforce social bonds and  enable travelers to help travelers in a  way that leads to discovery and  purchase of United products. Social sales strategy should be around interactions and  transactions between people, not corporations to people. Flight Fancies Friends, Family & Colleagues to make your travel experience remarkable UNITED
  • 12. 11 John books a  reservation with United John shares his  reservation on FF  and also shares it  out on his Facebook John’s social  network sees the  FF link on his  Facebook Allison decides to  purchase something for  John and clicks on the  FF link on his Facebook Social postsFlight Fancies Public Allison’s social  network sees the FF  link on her Facebook  and her generosity  towards John who  they also know Allison is linked to FF  personal view seeing  John’s FF options Allison purchases an  E Plus for John and  shares her generosity on her Facebook  Social posts Social Activation Takes over Flight Fancies Personal John receives an  email from FF of  Allison’s generosity.  He has an option to  share this out to his  social network FF email  Flight Fancies UNITED Basic Social Networking Flow
  • 13. 12 Origin Check-in desk Gate In flight Destination Baggage Fee paid by my  sister A drink on flight bought by my vendor United Club one day pass  paid by my colleague A snack box bought for  me by my boss Flight Fancies Social activation opportunities integrated into customers' travel journey UNITED An EconomyPlus bought by my friend
  • 14. 13 Flight Fancies User Experience: Sample wires UNITED
  • 15. IT’S FUN IT’S SOCIAL IT’S HELPFUL Enabling with infrastructure and product catalog Take yourself out of the equation Enable your customers by providing the infrastructure and the products, then butt out UNITED Selling the experience, not the products Selling products via social media is a fine strategy, but selling experience is a better strategy since social media is an experience delivery mechanism. Travelers are looking to purchase and share experience s that are unique and personal to the them and hard to replicate. Lowering the barrier of entry for participation Purchasing a plane ticket is a highly committed activity and is not considered an impulse purchase. We need to provide them with a set of products that they can purchase and will make them look and feel good on their social channels. Brands dictating what products customers should purchase, let alone what to buy for their friends, does not bode well with emotionally‐savvy customers. Leave the decision‐making to your customers that they know what they want to buy, and let the social do its social thing.
  • 16. 15 Organic, social communication & experience focused I just booked a flight to Denver On and with FlightFancies, you can buy me a drink in flight! My vendor just paid for my drink on @United flight via FlightFancies Social Notifications Social Reactions “I can buy my client a drink?! It will help seal the business deal, and I will look good in social space. I’m so doing that .” “I am buying my coworker a day pass to United Club, so she will be able to join this mtg. from the business center, and we won’t have to reschedule!” Thanks to FlightFancies, and my friends, I felt like a celebrity on my united flight this morning “Since I took my mom shopping and made her buy a whole new wardrobe, it’s only fair that I pay for her baggage check–In fees.” New approach to social activation UNITED Status Smart biz? Evil? Solving problems? Expression Social
  • 17. 16 A win-win: How United gains Flipping the sales funnel and leveraging the rule of reciprocity in social networking UNITED TRIGGER/AWARENESS CONSIDERATION PURCHASE Customer Acquisition TRIGGER/AWARENESS CONSIDERATION PURCHASE Traditional mass media marketing funnel spends  budget first then hopes for the best New Customer Sales force Existing Customer  Sales force VS Source – Flip the Funnel Joseph Jaffe
  • 18. Altruism & Discovery Problem solving, Helping others, Doing good, Meaningful, Truth Fame Recognition, Reputation, Attention Social Friendship, Family, Connections, Sharing, Reciprocity Escapism Entertainment, Enjoyment Expression Communication, Consumption, Transaction UNITED Conclusion: Remember the Drivers of Motivation in Social
  • 19. 18 UNITED THANK YOU A L L I S O N P A R K B R O W N U n i t e d A i r l i n e s
  • 20. Learn more about past and upcoming Member Meetings SOCIALMEDIA.ORG CASE STUDIES Member Meeting 32 Chicago, 6-15-2014 Learn more about Member Meetings SOC IALMEDIA. ORG MEM B ER MEETIN G 32 CHICA GO