Creative way to automate your twitter account for success

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Remember the unspoken rule which says that you “shouldn’t automate your Twitter account”? We’ve all read that one before, but today I’d like to prove to you that you can actually automate your Twitter account…. with a little bit of creativity.

For some reason my attention is always drawn towards how airlines are using social media. Maybe it’s because I spend countless hours searching for affordable fares and promotions to satisfy my hunger to travel. I love to check out the numerous airlines available and this might’ve indirectly led me to cover numerous articles on how airlines are using social media, as well as their failures and success.

Back to our topic, KLM have always been one of the leaders in social media. KLM is one of the heavyweights because not only had they listened to their customers on Twitter, they react remarkably well to them offline (like surprising them at the airports). This shows that KLM have an outstanding view of how their online and offline operations could work together. Recently, they took tweeting to a whole new level by developing an automated process of searching tickets by using Twitter.

Usually, to find tickets online we’d need to go to the airlines’ website, select the place you’d like to travel to, the date, the return date, the one-way or return options, the number of guests, the number of children… Tedious? Well KLM certainly thinks so because now KLM allows you to tweet them at @KLMFares to get the prices of the ticket in 1 minute. Yup! One minute! I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to do that on the website.

All we have to do is tweet @KLMFares+location

Example: Customers can simply tweet “@KLMFares Singapore to Amsterdam”. You can also include the day or the month you’d like to travel as well. I decided to search using the month.

Within a minute, KLMFares responded with the lowest fare as well as the link to the website to book the ticket.

I’m not sure about you, but I think this is really innovative because, since it is an automated reply, customers won’t have to wait for the person behind the Twitter account to respond (which we all know would usually take more than a minute to do so).

 

Here is a video for a clearer explanation

 

KLM clearly understood that mobile will be huge this year. They’ve combined mobile and social extremely well to deliver another satisfying service to their customers.

What about personal touch? Isn’t that what Twitter is about? Well, yes! What KLM is doing is making it easy and helping the users’ experience. However, KLM clearly haven’t forgotten about their infamous personal touch, because they still continue to dazzle their customers through their main account @KLM

What do you think? Love to hear your thoughts. Do you see the potential of automating twitter?

 

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  • shinytoyrobots

    That’s a really nice service, and an innovative use of Twitter.

    Main problem I see is that barring certain engaged customers (e.g. on loyalty points programs), that example isn’t really representative of how people search for plane tickets. It’s cool, but it’s only a single airline. Now if a service like Hipmunk or Travelocity were to implement such a service, that would be hugely powerful, because it would provide the cheapest options across all airlines.

    I think there’s definitely opportunities out there for creative automation of Twitter, but they’re going to have to carefully target to ensure that the automation is providing really valuable and relevant returns.

  • RBCud

    I think Twitter really can excel with simple interfaces like this that show off the flexibility of Twitter’s API. If you provide some easy to use instructions (@reply somebody with the hashtag #prices to get X information) that might encourage people to easily use that. In many cases, automating a Twitter account can completely dehumanize the account and the feeling your users get from interacting with you, but a really smart setup like this can increase the emotional connection you have with your users because being able to get a correct answer can be even quicker. It’s relatively easy for any brand to use various types of social ads or the types of companies found at http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com to get more traction on social media, but then they ignore the types of things that allow them to gain more of an emotional connection with their users. I think this is a very positive example of how a company can use Twitter in the right way to benefit their users. Anything that benefits your users ultimately benefits your brand in spades because over the long term people respect brands more that provide helpful tools like this that answer their questions.

  • PropagandaHouse

    very cool service – totally agree with @shinytoyrobots that it would be more useful for users if it were a service which covered all airlines. No doubt they’ll be on to it in the near future though, good opportunity for travel agents to utilize also.

  • KrisColvin

    I love this idea. In fact, two years ago nearly to the date I wrote a long-winded post about this very use of Twitter: https://freshid.com/2010/01/information-vs-engagement-are-you-giving-people-what-they-need

    I’m really excited to see someone has taken the step to do this and agree with shinytoyrobots that it would be most amazing if an aggregate like Travelocity did this and you got tweets back from competitive airlines with competitive rates. :-)

    Cheers to automation-for-good!

  • ViggoAndersen

    Awesome service. Very innovative! It seems KLM are really on the fore front when it comes to finding new ways to implement the use of social media.Thanks for sharing this story, Aaron! ^^/ Viggo

  • AskAaronLee

    @shinytoyrobots Love your photo! You’re right, it isn’t a representative of how people search, however its an easier KLM customers to search. I have to agree with you that it would be more useful for services like travelocity to implement them. It would benefit us so much more than just a single airline. Seeing that customers only tweet to klmfares , its quite targeted. I heard there are others similar to what KLM done, can’t seem to find it.

  • AskAaronLee

    @PropagandaHouse I’m sure I’ll use it more often if if happened. At the moment, one can only dream of the potentials of twitter automation. :D @shinytoyrobots

  • AskAaronLee

    @KrisColvin Oh wow! that is an amazing post!! I would recommend an update of that. AMAZING. Yup! shinytoyrobot is on to something. I hope someone is reading this would do it. Would kill the other markets if they had it.

  • AskAaronLee

    @ViggoAndersen My pleasure. Thank you so much for sharing on your g+ and facebook as well. KLM is definitely one of the thought leaders in the social media industry. Would be amazing to follow their success this year.

  • JuanSanchezBonet

    Smart!

  • TheManalyst

    This is genius and definitely would improve customer experience, of course I’d rather tweet my question to check flights rather than go to the website and check it! I just wish our local airlines would go that far any time soon and spare us some trouble!

  • TheManalyst

    This is genius and definitely would improve customer experience, of course I’d rather tweet my question to check flights rather than go to the website and check it! I just wish our local airlines would go that far any time soon and spare us some trouble!

  • SpanglishWebs

    Nice you can do this via your phone!

    http://www.spanglishwebs.com/

  • AskKim

    Now that’s a really cool use of a twitter bot! Glad to see companies getting more creative!Kim

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  • JuergWyss

    Well, I agree that their presence on social medias is second to few. However, the social media presence of KLM differs significantly from their behaviour in real life. I’m traveling frequently, so do my friends, I don’t know anybody who was satisfied with their service when it came to an incident. What the theory says? Be authentic. I wish KLM would become social in real live and not only on Facebook. For me, KLM is an example for using social media very well but not having made the transition to a social enterprise. Sorry, maybe this is the wrong place to post this message. But it comes from the heart of a “transformation evangelist”. We will see how sustainable their virtual mdoel is, if the real one does not improve.

  • AskAaronLee

    @JuanSanchezBonet Indeed! :D

  • AskAaronLee

    @AskKim Yeah!! love to see what will happen next for brands.

  • AskAaronLee

    @TheManalyst Confession of a twitterholic eh? lol! hope your local airline does it too! its really good! Heard from KLM, they have more things coming soon

  • hospitalityfan

    Very interesting post!

    An airline related side note: One of the best social media management companies that I have come across manages a total of seven accounts for their client – SSP Catering at Sydney International Airport.. You can see a couple of examples of how they (http://mightymediagroup.com.au/) humanize their client’s brand via: jenfreshonthego itachosyd Looking at their youtube videos for their representative brands is quite impressive!

  • hospitalityfan

    Very interesting post!

    An airline related side note: One of the best social media management companies that I have come across manages a total of seven accounts for their client – SSP Catering at Sydney International Airport.. You can see a couple of examples of how they (http://mightymediagroup.com.au/) humanize their client’s brand via: jenfreshonthego itachosyd . They have a great CEO, Stephanie Rodriguez, @DigitalGodess whose team is so creative!

    Always love making time to catch up and read your posts! Have a great week!

  • hospitalityfan

    Very interesting post!

    An airline related side note: One of the best social media management companies that I have come across manages a total of seven accounts for their client – SSP Catering at Sydney International Airport.. You can see a couple of examples of how they (http://mightymediagroup.com.au/) humanize their client’s brand via:@jenfreshonthego @itachosyd . They have a great CEO, Stephanie Rodriguez, @DigitalGodess whose team is so creative!

    Always love making time to catch up and read your posts! Have a great week!

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  • ElizabethT

    I have travelled with KLM three time: first, only and last. Worst experience ever London-Amsterdam Accra-Accra Amsterdam Copenhagen. Maybe (dare I say it: it is because it is to Africa, I don’t know) What I know is: I will never as long as I live volunter to travel with them as long as there is just one alternative.

  • http://www.southwestspas.co.uk/ Susie86

    I think that is a great and innovative way for a company to use Twitter. But on the whole I agree that automation for Twitter is a no no. All those canned responses are a real turn off.

  • Andy_Hill

    I recently saw a presentation from the social media manager for Virgin Atlantic (Fergus Boyd) and he metioned that they use a tweetbot to send back automated information about flight details.
     
    You send a tweet to vaainfo (twitter.com/vaainfo) with your flight number & departure date and the bot responds with updated flight info  which I thought was pretty cool.
     
    He did say that sometimes first time users thought that it was a real person giving them their flight details and they would reply with a ‘thanks’ tweet, which then made the bot respond with an – ‘I’m sorry I don’t understand’ tweet, which in turn got a response from thedsender…  and on it went… :)

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  • Tyler Murdock

    Yeah, I don’t like that “unspoken rule”. Automating your twitter account is one of the best ways to market online! If your focus is to make money online then I think it’s a great idea to get an automated Twitter service. I actually wrote about ways you can on my blog. You kind of inspired me. Thanks for your article!!!