"I don't always get social media" - Bergsrud

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Wandering Aramean, Jun 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Probably not what you want to hear when your SVP of Marketing gets on stage at a major industry conference and starts talking, right? But that is apparently what Mark Bergsrud said, right after saying he was proud of United's social media presence.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    :oops:
     
  2. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Hey, they don't get customer service, so why should they get social media?
     
  3. unavaca
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    [​IMG]

    Pretty much the only thing I could think of when I saw "I don't always..."
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I'd like to see that quote in context, otherwise commenting on it makes little sense.
     
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  5. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    United's social media presence is by far the weakest of the US mainline carriers. I hesitate to say it's the weakest of all US carriers, as I am not aware of any social media presence for Great Lakes Airlines.
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'm more than willing to cut the guy a little slack for such a quote vis a vis context, but when he also can claim to be proud of the current UA presence I'd say that he's making the point more and more clear: he really doesn't actually get it.

    If the quote was, "I'm proud of our team but we also know there are others doing better," that is a big difference, but that's not what was said.
     
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  7. TravelerRob
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    It's the job of the boss to congratulate his team and build confidence. He more or less *has* to say "they're doing great".

    His personal opinion about social media could have been left out but I suspect it's wildly taken out of context and was likely followed up with a "but..."

    -RM
     
  8. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    At least he tells the truth, unlike some!:cool:
     
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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Which part of "Marketing" in his title are you confused about? :p
     
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  10. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    Yup. I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on where customer service falls in the marketing heirarchy, because social media is increasingly playing a role in that. Wish the entire speech was streamed.
     
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  11. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Perhaps all the catering that UA has been doing for old flyers with 4 MM and more originally started from the marketing department where they believe that these flyers don't use social media anyways.... and for that matter, what the heck is the internet?
     
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  12. Captain Oveur
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    Then what WAS said?
     
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  13. HeathrowGuy
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    "Most customers who use social media are not entitled to our time or attention."
     
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  14. chitownflyer
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    Between Rainey's "over entitled elites comment," and "I don't get social media," comment by Bergsrud, it appears the new United needs to make some public relations and marketing improvements.
     
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  15. Captain Oveur
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    I'd still like to get clarification on the context of the social media comment.
     
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    You see... not only does context matter, but it also would help to quote the guy (or the person quoting him) without actually leaving out key words. According to the screenshot above, he said:

    "I don't always get social media."

    (Bolding added by me).

    This thread is an example of "social media" where I don't get "it"... parsing someone's words based on 3rd party twitter comments from someone who may or may not have heard correctly and may or may not convey the right intent? And then draw conclusions from that as to where United (the mega billion dollar company) needs to make improvements? Really?
     
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  17. kw335
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    I guess what United really needs is new SVPs :D
     
  18. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    That's exactly what I was thinking... without context anything can be misconstrued, but both statements could very well be true, depending on what he was saying.

    Regardless of UA's social media presence (which I agree is the weakest of all major carriers out there), he could very well not always "get it" in terms of what people use it for or see its inherent value. But that doesn't mean United shouldn't be out there hustling with the rest of the carriers, lest they seem to be "out of touch" with what's cool.

    It's the same as the old days when most companies didn't know what to do with the Internet as a whole.
     
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  19. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    From what I've seen over the last 6 months, the answer appears to have been "legislate it."
     
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  20. Randy Petersen
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    I might view this a little differently. For instance, before the trendy term of "social media" came about, CO (nee United) introduced a guy named Scott O'Leary to the FlyerTalk crowd and made for some great interactions with their infamous HoustonDO's. Was there any better communication between airline management and their frequent flyer customers then? Scott & Co. are still the same, now in uniform as UA and continue to be pretty supportive with customers. When requested at a recent Frequent Traveler University event, UA flew Carlos there for a few hours to be front and center and then he returned home. I know of no other airline who has offered as much "face time" to customers this way than CO/UA. Maybe some didn't heard what they wanted to hear, but it certainly did not take away from UA being present. As for being "weakest" among the mainlines ... I'm pretty sure I've never seen anyone identified as the US Airways Lurker.

    Just one's personal thoughts on the line personnel that have been social with us for some time.
     
  21. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    I'd also like to give credit where credit is due.

    While their personal presence on FT and MP has definitely diminished after the merger, I attribute that to the irrational dialogue that exists (mainly on TOBB). I was openly mocked when I suggested that people stop misrepresenting facts and try and engage UAs social media presence with constructive dialogue over there.

    I liken it to people pee'ing in the pool and wondering why others won't swim in it. Honestly, I don't blame UA for their current approach to these boards.

    What I will say, however, is that I'm very confident they actively monitor everything and they do use these boards as a very niche focus group. I'm also confident that our statements and exhibited customer behavior patterns are also calculated as part of a macro analysis on customer behavior as well as us, as individuals.

    That's a lot more sophisticated than trying to combat a never-ending stream of lies and complaints about a lack of pillows.
     
  22. Wandering Aramean
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    It was absolutely the best then, something that should rightfully be celebrated. And, while things like Carlos coming out to FTU do still happen, the overall level of involvement has decreased. We can all come up with reasons for that (and I certainly agree that some Black Cloud has identified contribute) but the fact remains that we're seeing less of them now in these communities. Also worth noting is that the Insider folks are not in the same group internally at the company as the current social media team.

    More significant from where I'm watching, however, is that the playing field has shifted. Dramatically. The MP and FT communities are still significant for their members, but their memberships are a very small subset of the folks out traveling. The number of people using platforms like Twitter and FaceBook to interact with businesses continues to grow rapidly, and the starting user base is significantly higher. From the perspective of interacting with their customers online UA is very much behind the curve. They sortof have a broadcast medium setup running, but barely. And they're nowhere close to a true interactive relationship with their customers. Until they get to that level they're not in the same ballpark as the others.

    I've worked with the folks who run social media at a couple airlines. I know what is involved and it isn't easy. But it also isn't necessarily hard. What it does take is someone high enough up to understand that there is a cross-disciplinary sort of commitment that is needed to truly engage with customers and the will to see that sort of thing through. It shouldn't only fall on the shoulders of the person running Marketing, but if they "don't always get [it]" then the challenge is much greater for the rest of the company to make it happen.


    Indeed. And the DL rep wasn't particularly interactive when they've been around. But those two companies (plus AA and B6 among others) are much closer to a more interactive relationship with customers. The work that has been done on MP and FT by some companies is nothing to look down at. But that's also now how I would define a company's social media footprint. Definitely part of it, but a small part to most folks.

    Just one's personal thoughts on the line personnel that have been social with us for some time.[/quote]
     
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  23. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    There's the distinction of "I'm proud of our social media presence" versus "I'm proud of the team and the work that was done to this point, but we still have many ways to get better". The latter while still being supportive of his employees tends to convey a much better understanding of where they are.

    UA does indeed do a good job on things like engagement here/FT; however, their twitter presence is lacking to put it mildly. Facebook is only marginally better.
     
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  24. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    I'm happy to give credit where it's due, and this is definitely one of those places. What I'm talking about is the other avenues of social interaction where the audiences are larger than that of FT or MP.

    For example, when I compare UA's Facebook page versus VX's Facebook page, UA is using it as a source of traffic to the website, whereas VX is using it as a hub for social marketing -- a huge difference. For instance, the last "Fly me to London" promo that UA ran was really just occasional wall links from the Facebook page to United.com. VX, on the other hand, has an active promo for Fly me to Palmilla, which is hosted as a Facebook app with viral integration at the end. This is clearly a better use of the platform.

    Twitter is yet another example of major differences. VX interacts with customers, UA sends them links to contact customer service.

    When I look at US Airways' interactions with their customers on Twitter, US is clearly doing better than UA: https://twitter.com/#!/USAirways

    It's also worth noting that not only is the quality of interaction better, the reach of US' Twitter presence is much greater -- US Airways has 213k followers, whereas UA only has 121k.
     
  25. TravelerRob
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    Now that's an interesting stat. Thanks for posting it. US, which is roughly 40% the size of UA based on # of passengers carried in 2012 so far, has 77% more Twitter followers.

    Clearly US has figured out how to attract people to its social media medium(s). The stats don't infer any quality of the postings by either airline on Twitter simply based on the numbers. I think that's up to each individual contributor and consumer of the data.

    -RM
     
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