Flying Higher on Social - The Top 40 Airlines Ranked on Social Media

With holiday season just around the corner, here at Talkwalker we decided to focus our latest case study on airlines and their social media performance. Let’s be honest, it’s always interesting to know how well-known brands engage with digital customers (us!), and see whether there are any useful tips and tricks to take your own social media strategy to the next level.

Using Talkwalker social media analytics, we analyzed over 200 Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of the world’s 40 largest airlines over the last 3 months to identify the top performers for each platform, find some key tips for every industry and determine once and for all, which airline is the Star of Social Media.

Here are some of our top findings:

KLM is the Most Responsive Airline on Twitter

Twitter is the key social customer service channel for airlines at present with airlines posting on average 118 replies per day to enquiries and mentions. It goes without saying that responding to customers on Twitter is a key element shaping customer experience on social media. On this metric KLM are head and shoulders above the rest:

twitter response rate blog graphic

(KLM, TAM and EasyJet are the 3 most responsive airlines on Twitter)

The Dutch flag carrier responds to almost 90% of replies and mentions on Twitter, nearly 20% better than closest rival TAM Airlines from Brazil. Generally speaking, European airlines perform well with 6 of the top 10 from Europe.

Pro Tip: Airlines that had multiple Twitter accounts for each region tended to have a better response rate.

Mid-East Carriers Get the Most Facebook Love

fb engagement blog graphic(Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad are the top 3 airlines for Facebook engagement)

It’s pretty clear from the chart above that the Middle East based carriers are doing something right when it comes to encouraging engagement on Facebook channels. Qatar Airways in particular has been impressive over the last 3 months with Emirates and Etihad filling out the top three spots. Overall, it’s pictures that drive the most engagement for airlines on Facebook but on a per post basis, videos are actually slightly more engaging with around 1700 engagements per post to 1500 for pictures:

airlines facebook post type(Breakdown of airlines’ Facebook posts by post type (left) and most engaging types of post (right))

Pro-Tip: Videos are best for engagement but don’t neglect pictures which are almost as good and less time consuming to make.

Emirates and American Airlines are the Insta Champs

instagram regional blog graphic(Emirates have the most mentioned Instagram channel worldwide, in Europe and in Asia)

When it comes to Instagram, Emirates and American Airlines are dominating around the world. This is particularly notable as on Twitter and Facebook discussions of airlines on social are pretty biased towards the carriers in their particular region. What this means is that airlines have chance to make a global mark on Instagram that would perhaps be more difficult on Twitter or Facebook. One effective strategy employed by Emirates is the use of Instagram “ambassadors” who post images on Emirates behalf:

emirates instagram eg(Example of an Emirates Instagram post from an Emirates Instagram Ambassador)

Pro-Tip: Using Instagram ambassadors lets you both leverage from their followers and add a personal touch to posts.

And the Big Winner Is?

Well to find out you’ll have to read our full report but one thing that was particularly impressive about the Social Media Champion we chose was the outstanding airline’s performance across each of the social channels analyzed.

Without accurate measurement of social media performance, airlines are essentially flying blind when it comes to getting the most out of social. But by keeping careful track of metrics like share of voice, sentiment and response rate, airlines can measure their performance against the industry standard and find insights like those above that can help them develop a truly robust social media strategy.

To get a truly comprehensive view of how airlines use social media and which airlines use social best, read our full case study: Flying Higher on Social – The Top 40 Airlines Ranked on Social Media.