Paul Marden - Orcare Limited

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BA use Twitter for Sellout Online Sale

Following Britain's victory over the Aussies in the Ashes yesterday British Airways and Qantas joined forces to promote a sale of return tickets on the kangaroo route at bargain basement prices.

There's nothing new about that though, as they did the same back in 2005, where tickets sold out in around 30 minutes. What has been impressive this year is BA's use of Twitter to advertise the sale and keep followers posted with updates.

BA has been using Twitter to advertise sales and build a sense of community since December 2008, and now have 4,000 people following their Tweets (short messages posted on Twitter).

Today's sale showed how companies can use social networking tools such as Twitter to increase their profile and build a sense of community with their customers. Yesterday, BA followers were told about the sale along with how and when to buy tickets. Then this morning when the sale was delayed, BA sent a message out to followers advising the delay. When the sale finally got under way BA sounded the whistle by sending a follow up Tweet. Once the tickets were sold, in little under 15 minutes from the start of the sale, a Tweet popped up advising the sale was over.

Finally later in the day a new sale was posted on Twitter to follow up on those that missed the opportunity earlier in the day.

When talking to companies about their web strategy I'm often asked why should companies bother with social networking tools -- "surely it's just for kids, what difference will it make to a business?". But this case demonstrates how, through the use of tools like Twitter, companies can increase their profile, build a sense of community and ultimately increase sales.

In another example of social networking in business, I recently integrated Twitter with British Airways Flying Club and Wycombe Air Park's new website content management system. During the recent AeroExpo Event at Wycombe -- the largest General Aviation exhibition in the UK -- the Twitter feed kept club members and airfield users updated on the latest seminars, late breaking exhibitors, and changes to airfield operations, drawing more traffic to the Club's website.

British Airways Flying Club and Wycombe Air Park were built by Orcare using Umbraco, with Twitter integration using Tweet on Publish for Umbraco 1.0 by Ferguson Moryama.

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