Why should Finnair be the most tweeting airline in the world?

14 05 2014

As some of you might have read, I’m dreaming of making Finnair the most tweeting airline in the world ( I’ve put together a site on Dreamdo, where you can see the project proceed. Check it out!).

Now, why exactly should Finnair be the world’s most tweeting airline?

The main purpose of the whole thing is to turn Finnair employees into brand ambassadors and equip them with all the necessary skills and knowledge they might need to do that. Obviously Twitter is just one channel among many, but I chose Twitter because it is a new channel to many of us (Twitter is not as widely adopted in Finland as it is in the US or in even the UK) and it has a lot of potential.

So we are not pursuing becoming the most tweeting airline channel as such, but turning the largest proportion of our employees into brand advocates on Twitter. I believe that is also a way for us as a company to stand out from our competitors.

Like many flag carrier, also Finnair is going though dramatic changes, which are also affecting our personnel. From the personnel point of view, these changes are not easy, and it’s made me wonder if this is a good time to pursue a goal like this. But the more I think about it the more I feel that this is important right now. Now, more than ever, we must develop our company, tell nice stories about ourselves and just stay up-to-date of what’s going on in the wold, preferably a couple of steps ahead of our competitors. It’s also a matter of developing new, important work life skills.

From my and my job’s perspective, I see a lot of possibilities in making our employees tweet. But company aside, I can also see a lot of reasons why any individual employee would benefit from this. I’ve listed some of them here:

Personal benefits of tweeting to all Finnair employees 

  • Civil skill. Twitter is not for everyone but using it is a skill that we all should master. News and other phenomena spread so fast in social networks that you are helplessly left outside if you cannot follow them. Of course you can CHOOSE not to follow, but at least you can make an informed decision on what you’re missing out.
  • Crisis situations. As an airline, we are quite likely to be affected by different kinds of world events, be it a tsunami, a strike or a political uprising. I want everyone at Finnair to have access to the channels, which can be useful in a situation where traditional means of communication don’t exist. And say there was a plane crash. Where do you hear the news? Twitter. Tradional channels and authorities will inevitably be lacking behind. In a situation like that, we must know what our customers already know, at least.
  • Work life skill. Twitter is a great tool for following what’s going on in your field and in the industry. We get instant feedback on everything we do, daily. It would be a shame if we weren’t there to listen to it.
  • Personal branding. By taking part in online conversations, you are not only widening your own horizons but also making yourself visible outside Finnair.
  • It’s fun. Social TV might be a fun way to get started and see how other people are commenting on your favourite TV show. Another nice think to do is to check out the #finnairtweets news stream – it’s fun to see what your colleagues are up to and what’s happening behind the scenes of an airline.
  • A training session
Benefits for Finnair
  • Counterforce to traditional media. Positive news is no news. That’s how media works. But by creating our own content we can create a counterforce and change that! There are a lot of cool things happening at Finnair and we should talk about them.
  • Digital footprint. Generating new Finnair-related content and talking about us.
  • Sharing. We want to create a ripple effect and people to share Finnair’s Youtube videos, tweets, photos and other messages. It’s only natural that our own staff is helping us to share content, which they find interesting.
  • Participating in discussion.People are talking about a lot of interesting things that are sometimes also involving us. How else could we get our voice heard other than by participating in the discussion? There are a lot of opportunities for learning and discussion out there.
  • Improved customer service. I think social media in general and Twitter in particular is the mirror of the organisation. It forces us to face even the negative things and see what our customers  really say about us, how they feel and what they think. I think that is a good thing for all of us. At the end of the day, we are there for the customer, right?
  • Improved customer service. We have our official customer service accounts and lovely customer service reps,  but if our own personnel is also taking part in the conversation, we have a better chance of noticing conversations that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. And a lot of the times being personal is an asset. What else could be more conforting to a person with fear of flying, that a couple of kind words from a real pilot or cabin attendant.
  • Leading the pack. By being visible in social media we are sending out a message that we are moving ahead and learning new things. In today’s world, openness and connectedness are the key to success, and that is what Twitter is great for.

In short, using Twitter it’s a win-win situation. Both the company and individual employee benefit from Twitter.

What next?

I’ve organised some fifteen training sessions at Finnair, and more will follow. Every single employee with the faintest interest in learning to use Twitter is welcome to join. At the moment we have 169 employees on Twitter, including the executive board, and the number is getting bigger day by day. You can find all the employees listed here.

The tweeting executive board @ArjaSuominen (comms), @pekkavau (CEO) and @ernohilden (CFO)

The tweeting executive board @ArjaSuominen (comms), @pekkavau (CEO) and @ernohilden (CFO)

The world’s most tweeting airline event on June 12th, 2014
The grande finale of it all will be a big event that we are organising for June 12th. It’ll be a fun day in HOTT (House of Travel and Transportation at Helsinki Airport, /Finnair Headquarters) with interesting guest speakers (@titmeister, @villetolvanen and @69eyesofficial), fun program and even a chance for the customers to win something  (stay tuned!). Everyone at the event and all Finnair employees all over the world are encouraged to tweet (like crazy!) for the whole day, using hashtag #Finnairtweets. The goal is to make it trend and show the world that we indeed are the world’s most tweeting airline!

#Finnairtweets challenge continues
I’ve challenged our staff to take one photo/send one tweet every day using hashtag #finnairtweets and tagging @finnair. The tweet can be anything, hopefully something fun related to their work and Finnair. The purpose of the challenge is to make tweeting an everyday habit and lower the treshold for tweeting. I hope the challenge will make people realise that there are actually plenty of fun opportunities for tweeting in their lives, and they’ll gradually adopt the habbit.

Becoming the world’s most tweeting airline is a crazy ambitious dream, but hey, you can only change the world if you dream big, so here we go! #Finnairtweets


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