The aviation industry across the world has turned to social media as customer expectations and demands from airlines change and evolve. The aviation industry in India is growing, despite some turbulence, and has been rapidly evolving its own social strategy to keep up with the modern traveler.

Unmetric, the company that asks whether brands are social enough, looked at the social media habits of the top Indian aviation brands and international airlines with an Indian presence on major social platforms. In total, ten airlines were analyzed. The analysis found that on Facebook, all ten brands have an active presence, seven are using Twitter, two are on YouTube and two have a presence on Pinterest. Amongst the aviation brands included in the analysis, Jet Airways and SpiceJet are the only airlines present on all four platforms.

Facebook presence of the Indian aviation industry

On Facebook Jet Airways received the highest Unmetric score of 49. The Unmetric score is the first ever sector aware social media benchmark score normalized to 100, with various qualitative and quantitative metrics to rank a brand against competitors. Jet Airways also commands the largest fan base on Facebook with close to 1,140,000 fans, followed by SpiceJet which has close to 530,000 fans. The Air Asia India account saw a growth rate of 37% which is the highest growth rate of a brand in the period analyzed and looks like a statement of intent from India’s newest airline. Air Asia India has consistently seen high growth rates throughout the year, which is an indication of the anticipation in the market for this new airline, and is on track to have one of the largest fan bases in the sector.

Lufthansa India posts the most on Facebook, with a total of 98 updates in the period analyzed which is an average of approximately one post per day. When compared to the global aviation sector, it was found that most airlines have a much higher frequency of posting updates and have seen positive responses.

Facebook engagement and content strategy: To understand how well these brand updates were resonating with the respective communities, Unmetric used the Engagement Score which is calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions that each post receives. The Engagement Score enables quick comparison, regardless of the number of fans a page has. The airline that received the highest average engagement was Air India with an engagement score of 261, which is well above the sector average of 72 and well above Lufthansa India, which scored 23, despite posting the most updates.

Taking a look at the content strategy of Air India, its posts are most frequently about the brand. Of the 43 posts by Air India, 30 talked about the brand. An example of a post of this nature would usually revolve around frequent flyer programs, contests, announcement or air fare deals. Further analysis concluded that all airlines post more frequently about themselves, and receive high engagement when they do.

Twitter presence of the Indian aviation industry

On Twitter just seven airlines were found to be active with Jet Airways coming out on top again with an Unmetric score of 33. Jet Airways has the largest number of followers, with 44,000 followers but KLM ranks first in terms of growth rate, growing its follower base by 22%.

Twitter isn’t just another place for brands to post their updates; it’s quickly becoming a new frontier for brands to provide customer support. In this respect, it was found that Jet Airways replies to the most tweets with a total of 884 replies (out of 2,585 mentions) in an average of 20 hours and 30 minutes per tweet. While Jet Airways came out on top with the most replies, SpiceJet tweets the most on Twitter, with total of 229 proactive tweets along with 641 replies and had a reply time of 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Not every airline in India is choosing to provide customer support on Twitter though with Air India and Air France not replying to a single tweet during the time period analyzed. Turkish Airlines India replies the fastest on Twitter with an average reply time of 21 minutes and but it only replied to 6 tweets.

Taking a look at the hashtags used by Jet Airways, the hashtags #avgeek, #aviation and #photography have been used the most by users and the brand. The #avgeek hashtag was used 16 times by the brand and 167 times by users and is used by followers to submit pictures they take of Jet Airways aircraft. The peak usage of the #avgeek hashtag was on August 5th where it was used over 20 times in one day. Jet Airways also tweets the least on Sundays, but receives the most amount of engagement on that day.

YouTube and Pinterest presence of the Indian aviation industry

Only two airlines were found to be present on YouTube, SpiceJet and Jet Airways. Both airlines are tied with an Unmetric score of 15. SpiceJet saw a video view growth rate of 2.8% in the period analyzed and has uploaded 12 videos since it has joined YouTube in 2009.

The “Jet Airways Book Online TVC” is the most watched video on the Jet Airways YouTube channel with 380,000 views and was so popular that 80% of the views the channel received comes from this one video. The average length of a video uploaded by Jet Airways is close to 5 minutes and is more than twice the average length of a video uploaded by SpiceJet which is close to 2 minutes.

Pinterest, a social network based around scrapbooking images found on the Internet, is yet to see significant traction in India. However, it was found that once again Jet Airways and SpiceJet lead social media adoption and have a presence on this new social network. Jet Airways saw an Unmetric Score of 17 on its Pinterest account where it has 15 boards and 329 followers. The board that received the most number of pins was the “Fan-O-graphy” board on Jet Airways’ Pinterest page. Followers were encouraged to upload pictures to the board and received 68 pins. The board that saw the highest repins to pins ratio is the “JetStinations” board, which received 26 pins and 107 re-pins to make a repins to pins ratio of 4.11.

In this day and age, where travelers switch between airlines often, it’s vital for airlines to be present on all platforms to connect with travelers and develop a loyal following.

Disclosure: Unmetric is an advertiser at LHI.

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