The Nov. 15 issue of The Weekly of Business Aviation
for free) includes a story about how Phoenix-based FBO Cutter Aviation is managing to survive in a challenging business aviation environment. Using social media has become an important part of that effort.
"We were one of the first ones to embrace the social media," said Ryan Keough, Cutter Aviation’s director of marketing and communication. "But all of us in the aviation industry are struggling with how success is defined when using these tools. And the jury is still out on how best to use them."
Cutter has a Facebook page, 'tweets' via Twitter and is exploring other sites such as yelp.com and foursquare.com where individuals can post opinions, reviews and recommendations on just about any company.
"We use these sites to listen and see what people are saying. So if there is something about us, we want to know. If there is a problem, we want to fix it," said Keough. "We want to be ready for the time when this type of interaction between company and client becomes more prevalent."
Cutter has not abandoned conventional tools such as surveys and questionnaires, but, Keough explained, sometimes they do not work. "Surveys are a good tool, but if the customer wants a quick turn, filling out a survey about their experience may be one of the last things they want to do."
And Cutter is going outside the usual website uses such as announcing special fuel pricing. "Instead of just marketing to a customer, we want to interact with the community. For instance, a few weeks ago we saw that Edwards Air Force base was, for the first time, hosting a civilian fly-in to the historic Rosamond Dry Lakebed. We thought it was something people would want to know so we posted it. In the old days, aviators gathered over a cup of coffee and wanted to know what was going on. We want to fill that niche, so we are reaching not to just customers, we are reaching out to the entire aviation community."
Keough said that staying in touch with old customers and finding new ones is a "...constantly evolving and ever changing event. It is going to be fun and interesting to see how the industry reacts to these new tools."