Archive for the ‘Chile’ Category


Social Media And The Chilean Government… Hitched For Better Or For Worse?

In Chile on July 3, 2011 by dariguti

Updated July 5, 2011

Social Media and Democracy

The social media movement is here to stay shifting the Internet from a one-way informational medium to a two-way conversation with dynamic interaction. 

According to a recent Pew Internet study 81% of U.S. internet users looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in 2009. Many of these users believe government websites, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and podcasts are critical supplements to traditional means of communication (snail mail, phone customer services, etc.) and they are a great way to interact with government agencies. Social media is being used to improve the quality of interaction with the public because this type of engagement makes the government seem more accessible to the public and provides them with a more personalized approach, whether for informational or transactional purposes.

Take for example the United States President, Barack Obama, he used social media as part of his presidential campaign strategies because his campaign understood the potential to cheaply and effectively share his message with the masses, using a grassroots approach.  World leaders have come to understand that social media can be leveraged strategically to share information across organizational boundaries and become more accessible to a public that is motivated to connect, share and learn. Even more, this real-time active flow of information lends itself to more government transparency and represents a potential tool for accountability.  This trend is known as digital democracy or e-democracy. Like the United States, Chile is joining this trend.

Chile Enters The World Of Digital Democracy

As of 2010, Chile has 54.8% internet penetration and, according to a ComScore research, social networking sites reach 91% of Internet users in Chile, the most popular of these being, Facebook, Fotolog, Windows Live Profile and Twitter. It would be wise of any candidate to tap into this kind of outreach because of its massive reach potential and inexpensiveness. Sebastián Piñera, the current President of Chile, did exactly that during his presidential campaign election.

Founder and Director of Twitter, Jack Dorsey with President of Chil

Founder and Director of Twitter, Jack Dorsey with President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.

The Chilean President used social media sites such as Twitter not only to communicate his campaign ideas but also to segment his public and make sure the correct information was reaching the intended public, according to his campaign director, Pablo Matamoros. Additionally, this approach created closeness with his constituency, making the candidate more approachable to citizens.

Now that Piñera is President, his entire Cabinet is on board on this strategy. In fact, all of them have opened Twitter accounts. Chilean social media users are noticing and are taking advantage of this new way of interacting with their leaders. Many hope that this is a sign of progress and rather than a platform for merely sharing information, this will serve to steer Chile towards a stronger democracy where citizens can reach out to their officials directly. Even more, that through social media, the Chilean society will feel more to empowered to participate in shaping this country’s political future.

“I hope this is a way to establish greater horizontal communication between the ‘authorities’ and the citizenry, Chile is light years away from a real citizen government, and we have the means to do it, not only technologically, but also a large movement of people interested in the common good and with a desire to be heard… I am talking about real democracy and citizen expression.” -Enzo Abbagliati Boïls expressed in his blog, Cadaunadas.

The Backlash… Unjustified Or Traces Of An Old Regime?

Recently, a report by Radio Bio-Bio revealed that the Government of Chile hired a private company to monitor the country’s social media conversation. In a country that still hasn’t forgotten many years of dictatorship, (having started a democratic government in 1990 after a 17-year military government headed by Augusto Pinochet) some fear this is an intimidation tactic.

The government insists that it is their responsibility to listen to online conversations and gather this already publicly available information to be more in-tune with their citizen’s needs. But, social media users in Chile are concerned that along with this monitoring could come censorship based on dissenting opinions, according to Ana Piquer, Executive Director of Amnesty International Chile. “One [concern] is the right to privacy or intimacy, the other concern lies in the preservation of freedom of expression and right to assembly,” she explained.

However, it is not yet clear what will be done with the information that the government is gathering and until an ulterior intent can be proven, I consider it smart for this new tech-savvy government to access this information, which is already publicly visible, and use these tools to make their practices more efficient.

In this 2.0 world it is important for governments to be in par with new technologies and maximize their resources in order to promote productivity. Social media, when used correctly, is a powerful tool that can establish direct relationships between leaders and those affected by their measures but governments need to listen to the conversation and actively engage. Hopefully, the Government of Chile will use these resources to continue to develop democratic best practices for the country.


Why Wines of Chile is successful

In Chile on July 3, 2011 by jmpea

Today everyone uses social media as a form of communication. From politics to entertainment to college students to grandparents, social media dominates daily communication and interaction worldwide.  Aside from personal usage, companies have developed new unprecedented and creative strategies to reach consumers in massive droves. Social media offers companies a marketing avenue that appears accessible, current and connected to audiences all over the world.

Wines of Chile has benefitted from social media platforms by appealing to the over 8 million Chilean users who log hours online and connoisseurs of one of their favorite pastimes, wine. Chile is known for producing quality wine for its countrymen, who relish in the pride of homegrown products. Wines of Chile is an organization dedicated to promoting the quality and image of Chilean wine throughout the world, and informing people about Chilean wine through online outreach. They don’t simply inform people about Chilean wine through their social media outlets, they go beyond the basics.  Not only do they do an excellent job of intertwining Chilean history with Chilean wine heritage on the website, but they have also incorporated a sustainability component that establishes definitions and guidelines for environmental and social responsibility. They even have a Wine of Chile Sustainability Code that specifically designed for the Chilean wine industry.

Their Facebook page engages and attracts people from all over the world, even here in DC. They are constantly informing and engaging their audiences about various wines and events via Facebook posts and Twitter.  On a lighter note, the section dedicated to wine fun allows visitors to take quizzes and complete crossword puzzles on various wine topics.  Wines of Chile successfully reaches audiences from all over the world because of their ability to channel so much information from their website.  Regardless of what country you live in, Wines of Chile provides the reader with everything there is to know about Chilean wine.


Going for the Grape: Chile’s Quest to be Top Wine Producer

In Chile on July 3, 2011 by victorialh Tagged: , , ,


Who doesn’t enjoy a glass of wine after a long day’s work or with a five-course delicacy? According to The International Wine and Spirit Research firm (UK) it’s many of us. Global wine consumption has increased over the last ten years and isn’t expected to stop in the near future. By 2014, IWSR predicts that global consumption will reach nearly three billion cases of wine.

That’s a lot of wine and it translates to an exponentially growing market of consumers. As the spirits industry increasingly joins the Web 2.0 wave, naturally, wineries are targeting this open market.

Among the top ten wine producing countries is Chile, whose vineyards date back to the 16th century. Recognition among any top ten lists is quite the accomplishment for most, but not for Chile’s wine industry.  The South American game player wants to be the number one producer of quality fermented grape juice.

Wines of Chile, the promotional organization of the region’s industry, is leading the way in the pursuit of securing more global customers. This year marked the organization’s 5th Annual Online Blogger Tasting that creates quite the online conversation.

Private wineries are taking their own approaches to reaching distinct audiences across the globe.

Isla Negra Wines, produced southwest of Santiago, turned to social media to reach the UK audience with the launch of its campaign, “Inspired by the Coast.” The multi-platform promotion focused on imagery while the brand’s Facebook approach, taken in 2010, emphasized the importance of relationships to the brand that prides itself on value and quality. A year later, the brand only has 200 fans but it’s recognition of the advantages of social media is the start that Chilean wineries needs to reach its goal of ousting France and/or Italy come 2020.

In countries such as the Netherlands, where wine brand GatoNegro launched a social media campaign, the spirit industry must be extremely cognizant and strategic of its online marketing tactics as the legal drinking age varies depending on alcohol by volume (ABV) index. When ABV is 15 percent and under, 16 year olds are legally permitted to consume alcohol but once it exceeds 15 the age is increased to 18 years old.

Quite contrary to the United States’ legal age of 21 years old, the United Kingdom permits alcohol consumption at the tender age of five when the drinking is done in private.

On one hand the varying age restrictions provide ample opportunity for Chile to successfully market its products to the world, but that’s quite a fine line to walk.

With appropriately identified audiences and customized strategy, Chile can change the grape world.


LG Gets Social in Chile

In Chile on July 2, 2011 by Erika S. Tagged: , , , ,

It is every company’s mission to dominate a market with their products by way of productive and exciting consumer engagement. In the Web 2.0 era, productive and exciting consumer engagement often means utilizing social media in some capacity, if not entirely. In Chile, no company is engaging with consumers via social media better than LG. LG has been able to better position its brand and market its products by incorporating widespread consumer interests in its social media campaigns.

Paul Meadows, an executive at LG, recently said: “The next wave of our ‘Life’s Good’ brand campaign continues to educate and encourage consumers to get involved in technology. These new initiatives highlight the growing popularity of social networking and our increasing focus in that area… Young people today communicate with their friends and the world around them via social networks.”

With this in mind, LG heightened its level of engagement on social networks across the world, especially in Chile. It is tough to describe the scope of LG’s reach in Chile because they go beyond just having a presence on different social media networks — it is truly about consumer engagement with LG. Here are two recent social media marketing campaigns in which LG capitalized on the public’s interests to promote its products and engage with consumers:

LG and ‘The Social Network’

Last year, LG invited 400 people to a premiere party for the blockbuster hit The Social Network.’ At the premiere, LG also introduced the Plus — its latest touch screen and social networking enabled mobile phone.

The movie premiere not only afforded LG with the opportunity to host a great event, but also allowed them to get invaluable feedback from attendees on LG, its latest products, and its widespread use of social networks, specifically Facebook.

Although LG has a number of country specific Facebook sites, most only have a few thousand fans. However, the official LG Facebook site in Chile is enormously popular with close to half a million fans. Among the top Facebook pages in Chile, LG ranks 21 and is the only product line in the top 25, which is made up of sport teams and entertainers.

LG & Copa America Argentina 2011

Copa America, what is considered the most important sporting event in Latin America in which national soccer clubs compete, is currently being held in Argentina with LG serving as the main sponsor. As a way to promote its brand and get the public engaged with the tournament, LG announced a contest where consumers can enter to win its latest mobile devices and a 3D TV by using Facebook and QR codes to participate. Although this contest is being held across Central and South America, the campaign is being heavily promoted in Chile because of LG’s popularity there.

Social media is increasingly used by businesses of all sizes for effective marketing campaigns, but the success of a campaign on social networks not only lies in good planning and adequate resources, but having creativity as a fundamental element. When you’re a tech brand like LG that has new products to constantly introduce to the market, it can be challenging to be creative, break through clutter and reach consumers without seeming overbearing.

LG has been incredibly successful in engaging a large portion of Chilean consumers by asking for feedback on the company’s product range; as consumers, we tend to value companies more that are willing to hear what we have to say — especially when they take our thoughts and ideas into consideration. Likewise, LG has been successful in getting Chileans involved in company-related activities and events because they’re willing to pay attention to their interests and meet them where they already are or, better yet, where they’re headed. Rule #1 in understanding consumers: pay attention to their behavior.


Chile: An Emerging National Brand Built from the Red, White and Blue

In Chile,USA on July 2, 2011 by Nicholet123 Tagged: , ,

This weekend, the United States celebrates its independence day. Millions of Americans will join together in their patriotic red, white and blue and pay tribute to the country they love so dear.

Represented in the beloved star spangled banner, those three colors have far more meaning than first meets the eye. Widely recognized as the iconic symbol of our nation, the American flag is much more than just that. It is a national brand. Cultivated over many wars, battles and ultimately triumphs, the United States brand has become unmistakably known both domestically and worldwide.

In celebrating yet another birthday, the vibrant United States brand provides an example for others attempting to make a name in the game of national brand building.

Chile, for example, has had a tumultuous history and is seeking ways in which bring positive light to its nation in a new national branding project. Recently transitioning from a historically dictatorial regime, the newly elected President, Sebastián Piñera, has sought the opportunity to revitalize the somewhat unfavorable brand of Chile.

Similarly, while re-branding efforts were sought to be underway, the new Administration was also was tasked with working to alleviate two catastrophic disasters—one almost immediately following the other. First, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country and later 33 miners were trapped 2,000 feet underground for nearly two months. Although impossible to predict, both incidents provided an opportunity to leverage for national Chilean support and brand recognition. In fact, it would have been a PR failure to not seize the chance to capitalize on one of the most-watched Web events in recent in history.  However, luckily for the Chilean brand, they did just that. The Twitter hash-tag #Chileanminers climbed the trending charts for week after week, stories covering the events were published daily worldwide and fan pages were prevalent on many all social media channels. Audiences were captivated by the event and many sat by the edge of their seats cheering for the miners safe return home.

Coincidentally, in nearly all media coverage shown, the Chilean flag was clearly present. Taking a cue from professional branding experts, the Chileans were driving their “product” home to audiences across the world.

Chilean flag represented nearly half a mine below ground









In doing so, the brand of Chile grew   exponentially over the course of short period of time.

However, with this sudden increase in media exposure: what does this all mean for the brand of Chile?

The truth of the matter is that for far too long, Chile has been sitting on the side lines of global conversaions. Not many people (except true brand loyalists) can tell you much about this great nation off the top of their head, except perhaps some details of its previous dictatorship government or the wine—the delicious, delicious wine.

Yet, Chile is so much more than that.

Although they have been riddled with a troublesome past and continue to face obstacles, their brand loyalists continue to remain and more importantly new audiences arise each day. In efforts to keep their success flourishing, active engagement and proactive tactics need be applied. Weather it is reaching a Canadian wine connoisseur who will only drink the best Chilean wine, a California native who always vacations in Rapa Nui or a Chilean street vendor selling flags on Fiesta Patrias (also known as Chile’s Independence day)—the bottom line is the same:  keep the conversation going.

The Chilean brand is certainly emerging as new one-to-watch and the world market eagerly awaiting its next move. While recent events may have sparked the momentum needed to help move the Chilean brand in the right direction, those effort alone will not be enough to keep their brand alive. As most PR professionals will say: once the conversation has stopped, your brand loyalty will be sure to follow.  However if successful branding efforts continue, who knows, one day, the Chilean red, white and blue may be as world renowned as the United States’ infamous stars and stripes.


Tweet, Tag, Love Soccer… it’s more than just “a game”.

In Chile on June 28, 2011 by tbrackens

Okay it is actually called football everywhere else in the world except for the United States because the U.S is different. Here, we have our version of football, which involves extremely muscular men wearing helmets and protective pads tossing around prolate spheroids (“slightly pointy egg-shaped”) balls rather than kicking around perfectly spherical balls.

And soccer is viewed as the uninvited guest that won’t leave.

But, everywhere else in the world soccer is serious business. Fans will live, die and brawl for their teams with other fans, players, coaches and referees. And Chile is no exception.

So, one word… FÚTBOL.

Chile is proud of its food, its wine and above everything else its fútbol. Chileans’ love of soccer developed from their very early years. Kids of all ages play in the street, empty fields, or anywhere there is a ball.  Husband and wives share the same intense passion for their favorite team as grandma’s and grandpa’s. When national team plays, 70,000 people go to the National Stadium. During the World Cup games, all of Chile united behind their country.

One of the best leagues in Chile is the Primera División de Chile. The league ranked 14th in IFFHS and is one of the main components of the Chilean football league system. Primera División de Chile is widely considered by fanatics to be one of the highest quality leagues in the World of football and definitely the most underrated due to neighbors like Argentina and Brazil whose national teams are far more successful.

Ergo, what should one of the best leagues in the world wanting to get into the social media game do … take a page from the American football (not soccer) teams.

Thanks to McDonald’s; Pittsburg Steelers’ fans that attend a game are able to find him or herself in a 360-degree photo. Once found they tag themselves and share it with friends via Facebook, Twitter and email. Football fans are already highly engaged as it is but this was another avenue for them to express themselves and share their experience attending a NFL game.

Or the New York Jets who have one of the NFL’s most prominent and innovative social media presences. Just one of many social media endeavours, their “Ultimate Fan” Facebook application connect fans with one another, make head-to-head predictions and build virtual tailgates. Again this is another way for football fanatics to engage with other fanatics far and wide during the pre-season, regular season and off-season.

These teams took fan engagement and participation to another level. It is about using what you know about your fans and giving them an outlet for sharing, for talking, for doing whatever people who love the sport do. Becoming another extension in their everyday life activities.

So, Primera División de Chile it is time to suit up; based on research from ComScore and Chilean culture, here’s what we know:

  • If there is one thing that can unite Chileans, it’s fútbol; their love of soccer goes deep.
  • Nine out of every 10 Chileans tend to connect to or make use of social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Chileans tend to seek entertainment on the web.
  • Chileans are highly social people.
  • Chileans view social networks as the ideal place to meet and share with friends and families in different municipalities or regions.
  • One of Chileans’ preferred activity is to share photographs, which is the reason why Fotolog is 3rd most popular site.

Soccer isn’t JUST a game
it’s a lifestyle.

And social media is rapidly becoming an extension of Chilean life.


3 Reasons Why Falabella Is A Social Superstar In Chile

In Chile on June 27, 2011 by artemisaeb

Chile has over 50% of their country population online, that’s more than 8.3 million people. Most of these people spend their time online (one of every four minutes) on social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter.

According to the same report from comScore, Chile ranks in the top five worldwide for Facebook usage and 11th in the world for their Twitter usage. Though Facebook and Twitter are the most embraced, Chile also has Fotolog, Windows Live Profile, Sonico, Badoo, and LinkedIn included in the top ten social sites used tools in the country.

Chilean businesses have taken notice. With the growth of adoption and usage of these social networking sites, more and more companies in Chile are looking to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to secure new clients, incorporate into their marketing plans, connect with employees, and share information and increase customer loyalty with existing clients.  Chilean organizations including Domino, telepizza, and Falabella are even sponsors of the upcoming Social Media Day in Chile on June 30, 2011.

Falabella, a department store retailer that currently operates more than 39 locations in Chile, is one of a few key multichannel retailers in Chile taking full advance of social tools to engage and communicate with their customers and fans.

While a great product may be enough to get some people to “like” or “follow” a company or brand on social channels, there are three specific things Falabella has done that gives them social superstar status in Chile.

  1. Facebook for Virtual Product Catalogs & Event Marketing. According to, 57% of Chilean Facebook users are between 18-34 years old.  This key target market in Chile is spending more of their time on social media and less time on email.  With those facts in mind, Falabella has begun posting their product catalogs and store event information on their Facebook page. They are where their customers are.  With daily updates on Facebook, it is easy to see how they already have over 154,000 likes/fans and have engagement from customers and fans on every single post on their wall.
  2. It’s All About Deals and Steals. Around the world, consumers that “like” or “follow” retailers have deals in mind.  In fact, in a recent study, over 58% of people indicated deals as a primary driver to proactively follow retailers.  Falabella has taken notice and continually posts great deals on wide variety of products on their Facebook and Twitter page.  The company also takes this to the next level by introducing deals and giveaways exclusive to their Facebook fans, that just this month included a giveaway of five gift cards to those that participate in sharing photographs of their dads for their “Super Papa” campaign.
  3. Tweeting for Customer Service and Engagement. Anyone can create a Twitter page, but smart retailers are using Twitter as a tool to communicate with their customers on new products, special events, specific store information, and more. The best retailers, are doing everything aforementioned, but consistently are replying to questions, comments, and mentions from their fans and followers. With over 18,000 fans and growing in Chile alone, Falbella is on top of their tweeting.

Already recognized as an award-winning eCommerce player in Chile, Falabella is using Facebook and Twitter (in addition to other social and digital channels like their own YouTube channel) to get their customers product catalogs, information about deals and events, and as customer service and engagement tools.  Perhaps most importantly, Falabella not only promotes these channels on their corporate website, but also cross promotes their key social channels within each other.  Their Twitter page clearly promotes their Facebook and YouTube pages, and vice versa, as each channel has different benefits, engagement strategies, and response styles and  teams in place.  For Falbella, it is obvious that social networking sites are a part of a planned, strategic marketing communications and customer service framework.

What could be next for Falabella?  They will have to work harder to grow with the recent entry of two American retail powerhouses, Wal-Mart (with the acquisition of D&S) and Groupon, into the country in the last two years.  Falabella must continue to focus on what they do best and establish and highlight their Chilean roots.  Additionally, with consumers being driven more and more by deals, Falbella may want to consider their own daily or weekly deal marketing campaigns, even with just a subset of products.

As long as this social superstar keeps their eyes on their digital, deal-seeking, social customers and fans – they will continue to grow and succeed in Chile, and beyond.


Sendero de Chile: How a Strong Social Media Presence Can Put Chile on the Right Path

In Chile on June 26, 2011 by sdaniellebenjamin Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Throughout the past year, the world has given more attention to the country that snakes along the coast of the South American tail. Having experienced much in 2010, including a record-breaking earthquake and the captivating story of 33 miners fighting for survival, Chile has landed in the hearts and minds of people from all over the world and has enjoyed a steady growth in tourism as a result.

 But while traditional tourist spots will continue to be a favorite among many, the rise in ecotourism is making headway for those seeking to uncover the hidden treasures of this beautiful country.

The Sendero de Chile (Chilean Path) project was designed to create a tapestry of paths that tell the tale of Chilean history, landscapes and culture – perhaps the road Frost would’ve taken had he ventured to warmer climates. With claims that it will be the “longest hiking route in the world” once completed, the project was originally slated to celebrate Chile’s 2010 bicentennial anniversary of independence from Spain, but was delayed due to funding and other issues.

While the Sendero project seeks to raise greater environmental awareness through its trails, a stronger social media presence and more active engagement of current digital tools could not only increase interest in the project from both local and global tourists, but also help to raise needed funding. Here are just some of the social platforms the Sendero de Chile project might explore:

While traditional social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, are currently used, there are ways they can better engage with their audience. For example, rather than hosting a friend page, a fan page would include more relevant features to display, including customizable walls, photo sharing capabilities, fundraising options, and open discussions about specific trails, and be a more open conduit to attract new visitors. At the same time, while there are only a reported 60,000 Chilean Twitter users, there might be opportunities to engage many of these (and the handles of global users) through a more targeted approach – much more than the seven tweets currently shared by @senderodechile.

As of September 2008, there were a reported 4,827,387 Chilean Fotolog users (Chile reportedly has the most accounts) uploading and sharing photos. By incorporating photo sharing capabilities onto the Sendero website, hikers can not only enjoy the experience of the trails for themselves, but share those memories with others. In this way, the story of the trails are told not only through the lens of project workers and volunteers, but through the unbiased photographers as well.

With the growth of digital crowdsourcing, websites such as Crowdrise offer a free and easy way for foundations and non-profits to raise money. With only a few clicks of la ratón de la computadora, Sendero can create a profile and share their own mini-website with millions of visitors who come specifically looking to donate to worthy causes and projects.

The Sendero de Chile project is truly a collective effort of the Chilean government, environmentalists and volunteers who want to celebrate the country’s heritage and natural beauty. By positioning the Sendero site as the social gathering for outdoor enthusiasts – both local and foreign – the project is sure to capture attention and financial support and thrive as one of Chile’s most natural tourist spots.


Social Media Tools Help Humanitarian Aid Organizations

In Chile on June 25, 2011 by georgetown2012

Medecins sans frontiers, the international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural or man-made disasters, would benefit greatly from social media tools such as: google person finder, twitter and Facebook.

In the wake of last years March 8.8 magnitued earthquake that hit near Concepcion, Chile’s second largest city, social media users employed their tool of choice to seek help and relief for loved ones and compatriots.

Google’s person finder app was developed to be used in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in that country. It could not be simpler” “I’m looking for someone” or “I have information about someone.” This is critical information in those desperate minute, hours, and days following a disaster. Medecins sans frontiers could use this application as they endeavor to treat patients, and locate survivors in the wake of a humanitarian disaster.

Twitter is also a valuable tool, as users can send a simple text from their phone (much more accessible than a laptop or i-pad) with updates, such as “In Conception, all okay” which can ease worry, and keep MSF efforts focused on those who need help.

Facebook pages can galvinize survivors and supporters offering updates, information (such as geological updates and tsunami warnings) and post updates on patients served by MSF. Chile is ranked 5th in the world for percentage of Facebook users, despite being a smaller country, so this platform makes sense.

Since many disasters hit with little notice or minimal preparation time, disaster plans should be implemented, rehearsed, and the publics should be educated. Medecins sans frontiers and other relief organizations can use the social media platform to streamline their services and efforts saving time and minimizing confusion. Who can forget the images of those tearful searches for loved ones on the tv news stations with simply a photo or a poster after 9/11? In the wake of a disaster, every second counts, and if a social media tool can save time and help answer questions quickly, then every avenue should be explored, tested, and if it proves to be useful and relevant, it should be implemented.


Chilean Volcano Causes News Feeds To Erupt

In Chile on June 25, 2011 by KHughes Tagged: , , ,

Can you imagine- rushing to the airport, thrilled and excited for your trip to New Zealand or Australia.  You step into the airport and you see “cancelled” posted all across the airport monitors.

One of the worst things ever, cancelled flights, and not just a few cancelled flights, hundreds and for weeks.  Recently, Chilies’ own Puyehue volcano erupted, leaving volcanic ash to cloud the airways leaving many airlines in a state of crisis, with thousands of people demanding information.

LAN, a Chilean based airline, has taken to social media as a form of crisis communication, providing a forum for updates and conversations during the horrific Puyehue volcano eruption.

Social Media as Crisis Communication

When using social media as crisis communication, one has to wonder, are people actually utilizing it?  If I were worried about my flight being cancelled, Facebook and/or Twitter would probably not be the first place I would think to check.  If airlines are set to utilizing these social media platforms to reach consumers during a crisis, they also need to be dedicated to promoting these platforms on a daily basis for their everyday flight information. Easy ways to do this would be through update emails and/or texts to direct consumers with links to the site, even QR codes would be great to introduce costumers to the airlines social media presence.  In this way, clients would get accustomed to using these platforms as an additional tool to access airline data.  As a consumer, I appreciate the effort on behalf of the airlines; they recognize that social media is an easy way to reach people.  However, they need to be committed to directing people to these social media forums, in order to have an effective platform for all their information, not just crisis communication.

Needless to say, I think it’s important to utilize these social media tools to engage their clients especially during a crisis. Since LAN Airlines has established both a Facebook and Twitter presence, it is important for them to draw users to both platforms equally, not just solely stick to one, or use one site more than the other.

Social Media Crisis Communication Content

After looking at the LAN Airlines Twitter and Facebook accounts, it looks as if a large part of their content is currently concentrating on the crisis, repeating over and over the link to check flight status.  Even though the crisis is the forefront of the conversation, LAN Airlines should look into finding additional ways to engage their users on a regular basis, not just posting a link repetitively to check on flight status, as is in this crisis case.

LAN Airlines Twitter actually does a better job than Facebook by engaging and answering their customers; however they shouldn’t just work on one platform.  If they have a establish a presence on other social media outlets they need to be committed to updating and engaging their users on each outlet.  They could do this by asking customers their opinions of what they would like to see when this type of situation occurs. Obviously, this opens up to the possibility of horrific comments, but it shows the consumer that the company is interested and open to their opinions.

Another option of engaging users is video content.  The Jet Blue snow storm crisis of 2007 utilized video to reach out to its customers to apologize and take responsibility for the problems that were on hand. Another aspect to consider, since consumers are already searching and reaching out to these platforms, is to regularly offer deals and discounts.  Of course, in this case, the crisis is the forefront, but since the airline has already engaged the consumer, they could take it a step further, utilizing client presence to advertise their promotions.  In this way they are able to make light of the situation as well as allow customers to think of Facebook and Twitter as go-to sites when making plans or getting airline information.

In the end, LAN Airlines is just scratching the surface of social media crisis communication.  For an airline, that’s pretty good; hopefully, over time, we will see growth in this area.  Maybe they will read my blog and reformulate their social media crisis plan?  Probably not, but here’s hoping.