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The airline industry is really taking off. According to The Guardian, global airlines are expected to generate $40 billion in profits in 2016 (total revenue is expected to be $760 billion), and as people in emerging markets climb the socio-economic ladder, the demand for air travel will only rise (Yahoo). To stay competitive in this rapidly-growing industry, many of the world’s best airline companies are now collaborating with top social influencers (i.e. Instagrammer, YouTubers, bloggers, and Snapchat stars) to create aspirational content aimed at reaching large, engaged audiences.
As social media platforms and apps become a greater part of daily life, consumers now base important purchasing decisions on recommendations from top social influencers. In fact, a recent study found that 82% of consumers were “highly likely” to follow the recommendations of an influencer (Adweek).
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Because most airlines offer relatively the same services, cultivating a positive brand identity is one of the most effective ways that airlines can distinguish themselves from competitors. Partnering with top social influencers—especially those who espouse an aspirational lifestyle—can help airline brands forge an attractive corporate identity and drive consumer action when it comes time to book a family vacation, honeymoon, or weekend getaway.
The United Kingdom’s largest air carrier, British Airways, collaborated with social media star Lua to reach the Instagrammer’s 2.1 million followers. Lua’s beautiful aesthetic and aspirational content made her the ideal partner to help promote the airline’s #bleisure social media campaign. To date, Lua’s sponsored post has received over 50K “likes” in less than 2 months.
Nashville, Tennessee has one thing that makes it so different then a lot of other cities, and that’s the people. Over the past few days, I have experienced such amazing hospitality from the locals helping me find unique places to explore, restaurants to try, and different things I shouldn’t miss while in the city. I made it a point to ask every cab driver what they love about living in Nashville and I got several different answers ranging from “the live music scene” to “the weather year round,” but almost every single one mentioned the people. When you’re in Nashville, you feel like family. The Nashville metropolitan area has 1.7 million people, but as I explored different coffee shops with local photographer, Sara Kiesling she almost always ran into someone she knew. This is a local coffee shop that is pretty well visited by people around the city. Awesome place to chat with friends and grab your favorite latte while you work (or edit photos ??) Good people, good food, and live music everywhere you turn. That’s Nashville for ya. Thanks @alaskaair for this incredible opportunity. #weekendwanderer A photo posted by Emily Thomas (@emitoms) on
To generate excitement about their routes to beautiful destinations, Alaska Airlines enlisted eight travel and adventure micro-influencers (including Zak Zeinert, Alex Borsuk, Jon Trend, Laura and Nick Visconti, Jovell Rennie, Emily Thomas, and Ryan Thayne) to document their trips to iconic locales on Instagram using the hashtag #WeekendWanderer. The Instagrammers have a combined social reach of 476K followers, making the influencer marketing campaign a powerful strategy for the mid-sized airline.
Australian airliner Qantas recently announced a long-term partnership with top social influencer (and fellow Aussie) Nicole Warne. The digital star, who is known to her 1.6 million Instagram followers as GaryPepperGirl, will serve as the airline’s first official Digital Consultant. Her responsibilities will include directing a series of international destination video guides for Qantas’ in-flight entertainment and posting brand-sponsored content on both her own and Qantas’ social media channels (Qantas Press Release).