CNS Partnership Conference Preview:
We talk about social media all the time, but does it have a role to play in air cargo? The Oxford Dictionary definition of social media is: “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” The channels for social media are growing. There are Facebook and Twitter, but how about Ask.fm, Tagged and Vine? Are they all equally important?
As a new generation of companies become socially enabled, they can begin offering tremendous business opportunities, especially when social media is leveraged to do more than simply market new products and build brand awareness. It’s becoming clearer what kind of impact social platform adoption has on operations and customer-facing initiatives. The question, though, is, “Does it really help the bottom line or not?”
Today eight out of ten companies believe their investment in social platforms will increase business. Companies are reporting an increase of both their IT and marketing departments; that will grow their headcount due to the use of social media. This also requires companies to look for people with new skillsets for their marketing and IT departments.
A recent study by Oracle says that the top four commonly used social networks for companies to engage prospects, customers and partners are Facebook (92 percent), Twitter (86 percent ), LinkedIn (80 percent ) and YouTube (75 percent). Runner-ups include Google-Plus (45 percent), Pinterest (39 percent) and Instagram (26 percent). Many companies (45 percent) said they currently use three to five social platforms to reach and respond to target audiences.
Airlines and airports use social media to advertise, notify customers of flight status information, announce new services, handle customer service issues and provide entertainment – and that’s just on the passenger side. How do you use it for cargo? Is it the same? Are the cargo customers moving away from the one-on-one phone call and using their iPhones and Androids?
The reach of social media is not just local; it connects your cargo family anywhere at any time. It isn’t just for social geeks anymore, but applies to everyone, as digital connections have become part of our everyday lives. Not everyone wants to connect, but the technology does bring people together all over the world. An important change, though, is that almost everyone owns a mobile electronic device, and those who don’t will be fewer and fewer in the next few years.
B2B customers are becoming the new savvy customer using these channels. Do brand development and communication have a new role to play, both in an outside of a company? Should there be parameters on social media? Would you humanize the technology and allow it to become a part of your company brand? Will the B2B be more dynamic with the use of these social media communication channels?
In other parts of the world, such as Japan, China and Korea, the main players are neither Facebook nor Twitter. Their primary social media portals are companies like Weibo, Renren and Douban – companies that the Western world may have to adapt to using. How can companies use these other channels they are not familiar with?
The panel discussion, “Using Social Media in Today’s Air Cargo Market,” scheduled for 10:45 a.m. on Monday, April 20, at the CNS Partnership Conference in Orlando, will delve into this timely and important topic. The panel will be led by Scott Case, founder and “chief storyteller” for Position:Global. The panel will include Enno Osinga, senior vice president, cargo, for the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; Kathi Rabil, CEO of Slice-Works; and Brooks Thomas, communication advisor for the Social Business Team at Southwest Airlines.
–Michael White is CNS’s Director of Cargo Facilitation, Security & Standards