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US Airways Improves on Social Media But Still Lags Possible Partner American

@SamShankman

Aug 20, 2013 11:17 am

Skift Take

A successful merger will see US Airways leave its social media woes behind with accounts folded into American’s. A failed merger means both airlines would have to work harder than ever before to build customer awareness and gain market competitiveness.

— Samantha Shankman

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LM Otero  / AP Photo

In this Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, U.S. Airways and American Airlines planes are shown at gates at DFW International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. LM Otero / AP Photo


US Airways‘ social media team has a lot to learn from American Airlines‘ active and engaged social accounts, and it apparently started picking up tips as soon as a potential merger was announced.

Even if the tie-up doesn’t go through due to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit calling to keep to carriers separate, US Airways has made strides in social media since the original February announcement.

In the case of a merger, American would surely lead social media efforts with the carrier continually trumping US Airways in terms of Facebook “Likes,” Twitter followers, and engagement.

Six-Month Strides

In February 2013, days before plans for the American-US Air merger were confirmed, American’s Twitter account sent 564 tweets a day while US Air averaged 54 tweets.

American’s activity continues to climb to a current 757 daily tweets, according to social intelligence tool SkiftSocial. Even more impressive, US Airways nearly doubled its tweet activity and now sends 103 daily tweets.

American-US Airways Twitter

US Airways’ engagement on Twitter also grew to 97.4 percent from a 93.4 percent response rate in January. This equals American’s engagement throughout the year which grew to 97.4 percent from 93.4 percent  in January.

Despite US Airways’ improved social presence, American still doubles the reach of US Airways on Facebook and Twitter.

Airline Facebook “Likes” Twitter Followers
US Airways 83.114 321,318
American Airlines 1,175,104 640,996

American’s Other Smart Social Initiatives

Airlines often experience system malfunctions during mergers and American showed its commitment to keeping flyers informed during an outage this April.

American updated its Facebook and Twitter accounts five times each during a recent two-hour grounding, eliciting a lot of social media love. Passengers sent messages praising the social team for keeping them better informed than gate agents.

Such experience would be key should system outages occur throughout the merger process.

American Airlines also teamed up with another social site, Klout, to offer users with a Klout score of 55 or higher a one-day pass to its Admirals Club in 40 different airports. Klout is actively building its reputation as a promotional tool for travel companies and this was one of its highest profile exercises, but the campaign also stirred up some extra social love for the airline.

It’s a good thing US Airways learned a few social tips during the past six months. It will need it if the merger does not succeed.

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