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My Advice To @Ryanair On Twitter

Big fanfare last week that Ryanair has joined Twitter.  Then you hear that they’re not going to talk to anyone because they have 80 million customers. [I love it: even when they are saying something negative, they spin!!]  A random conversation in the changing rooms before 8am this morning got me thinking…

What advice would i give re. @Ryanair?

I’d give them the big spiel about how Twitter is like a cocktail party, with lots of people there, lots of noise, and doing lots of talking.  You’d never walk into a cocktail party and start shouting your mouth off about discounted flights?  Hmm, well maybe if you are Michael O’Leary you might!

Mr O’Leary has such a distinctive style which has been cultivated over the years. It goes with the brand, and personally I love it.  Back in the very early days of Brightspark, I adopted his policy re. stationery: don’t buy it when you can get it for free from hotels, and conferences!

Wouldn’t it be great if @Ryanair was as cheeky as MOL?  Slightly off the wall, funny, and not necessarily on brand in terms of the message content.  But I bet they’d get gazillions of followers.  I’d be more likely to follow @ryanair if I knew it wasn’t going to just bombard me with boring information about new routes and sale stuff.

So this is the first thing for Ryanair, they need to figure out what level they are going for on twitter.

1. Broadcast Only: this is what they are doing now… talking to themselves and no-one else.  Displaying a complete misunderstanding of what this Twitter social media thing is all about.  Hint: the clue is in the word social!  Don’t worry – there are lots of people out there doing this, treating Twitter like a new version of a press release tool.  They just don’t rock.  And they don’t get it.  And in these cases, running Twitter is indeed a drain on resources and does not generate any positive return.

2. Chitty Chat: this is where you talk to people AND publish your own sales stuff.  If you are genuinely having the chat, people don’t mind if you throw in the odd bit of “20% off this and that”.  How it works is that people follow you.  And you might follow them back if you think they look half interesting, or if their avatar and short biog gives you a sense that maybe, just maybe they might buy off you.  Admittedly, if you are Ryanair, this bit will be hard to tell because they are more used to seeing us bleary eyed at 5am boarding a flight to somewhere good, with a handbag stashed inside our skinny jeans, trying not to make eye contact.   Who does this well?  In my opinion, BordBia does this very well.  The tone of voice is friendly, relaxed, helpful – not the natural tone I would have associated with this state body, but certainly one that has evolved well, thanks to the team who manage their Twitter.

3. Customer Service:this is where you advertise your Twitter account to customers and profess to be interested in trying to help them.  Not to be embarked upon unless you invest in some training for your team.  There’s nothing worse than trying to engage in some Twitter 140 character explanations of broken shit, and the dude at the other end, just flicks you off to a phone line!! (Hello @vodafoneireland!)  But there are a great many companies doing this well and deriving great savings and creating customer satisfaction. Personally I like @electricireland, and @o2,

4. Advanced Twitter Search: can be great, but do tread with caution.  Maybe Ryanair might not be the ideal for this one…. this is where you use the Advanced Twitter Search function to listen out to tweets being posted about you, your brand, your competitors, or just at people’s point of need – and you jump in WHERE APPROPRIATE!!  We used to do this with great effect for Tourism Ireland: the call centre staff who were very well trained up on Twitter would listen out to people talking about planning their next trip to Ireland, or making that dream trip.. they would intervene with a question or two, engage the person in conversation, and end with a link to the website, possibly to an itinerary that matched the interests that could be gleaned from the person’s info.

Once you decide on the level at which you are going to engage, then it’s time to get down to tactics.  More on that later this week.

This article first appeared in the Brightspark blog, Twitter Advice To Ryanair

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