Getting off the ground: Using social media to launch a business

I see what you did there.
Image Source: Scoot

When it comes to Facebook, most businesses treat it like an exercise machine – everyone’s got one, but no one really knows what to do with it. Rare is the enterprise that is able to fully tap into the full potential of social media and what it can offer. Scoot™ is one such enterprise.

Scoot™ is a low cost airline owned by Singapore Airlines, and based out of Singapore’s Changi Airport. It boasts competitive prices for its flights, which service cities in the Asia Pacific and Australasian region. For just $200 you could scoot off from Singapore to Tokyo; $300 can take you from the Gold Coast to Bangkok.

With those prices, you might be tempted to think that you get what you pay for. And you’d be right; Scoot™ has drawn some flak for its customer service (or lack thereof). However, it still maintains a very healthy following and does brisk business. What is the secret to its success? One could make the point that Singaporeans are notorious for being bargain hungry. But putting facetiousness aside, the airline’s real success lies in how it’s managed to use social media to its advantage. So deftly did they finagle their online presence that Scoot’s™ Facebook page garnered over 50,000 ‘likes’ in only four months. And they did this before a single ticket went on sale.

Provide value

The first thing the Scoot™ did right was that they provided something in return for fans liking their page. Those who did were able to vote how low they wanted the price of the ticket from Singapore to Sydney should be (or at least it seemed like they could). The first few fans were then allowed to buy the tickets before they became officially open to the rest of the public. Fans are frequently informed in advanced about new sales and offers.

Create a community

The next step was to build a community. They cast their net wide and had a varied presence in the online world. Besides their Facebook page they also have a Youtube page, a blog, and a Twitter account. And they were consistent about their postings, so they sat at least in the periphery of everyone’s virtual attention. They also weren’t shy about featuring individual fans on their page to make them feel like they were part of something big..

Image Source: Scoot

Engage the community

Now that Scoot™ had the fans, it was a matter of keeping them interested. They did that with finesse. The airline took to contests like an obese Nebraskan to ice-cream. They had a number of contests, with stakes ranging from the traditional to the offbeat.

Image Source: Scoot

Put a face to the company

Another way in which the airline was able to use Facebook to their adavantge was to make their airline in to not just another faceless corporation but one with real people and a real identity. Their on-going Inside Scoot campaign featured photographs of various employees going about their day on the job .

Image Source: Scoot

Not to mention the light-hearted tone and general quirkiness

Scoot’s™ campaign is an example of how a business can reach its audience through social media and how social media has made it easier for travellers to find better deals. Not only has it become more convenient for travellers to travel more, it’s easier for more people to become travellers themselves.

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