The Brand-Building Potential Behind KLM’s Social Payment Plan

The Brand-Building Potential Behind KLM’s Social Payment Plan Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

On Friday, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced new partnerships with Facebook and Twitter that will allow customers to pay for flights directly through the social networks.

This move allows ease of use for KLM customers, but social payments offer an added value to companies who offer the service: An engaged audience.

How does it work?

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According to the announcement, “KLM sends a link to the customer in a private message on Facebook or Twitter. The customer can then select their preferred method of payment and complete the transaction. The social media service agent at KLM then receives a message to say that payment has been received and the customer in turn receives confirmation of the payment.

The 130 social media agents at KLM answer around 35,000 queries on Facebook and Twitter every week. Last week KLM welcomed its five-millionth Facebook fan, making KLM the airline with the most fans in the world.”

How Can KLM Benefit From Direct Messages?

It may seem like a DM isn’t valuable as a marketing tactic; all that effort for one interaction that no one else can see? But as marketing campaigns are more deeply integrated across channels, and focused on tracking conversions, each follower counts…and that’s the benefit. In order to DM your purchase to KLM, you have to follow KLM.

Screenshot 2014-02-17 11.56.25When users become accustomed to conducting business with KLM on Twitter, they’ll naturally become more receptive to their brand Tweets showing up in your feed. This is the basic premise of any advertising, traditional or digital.

In February alone, @KLM has already added over 34,000 followers; followers that are now on the receiving end of multiple KLM brand Tweets per day.

KLM Isn’t the Only Brand Investing in 1-to-1 Interaction

KLM is one of many brands who are focusing more efforts on 1-on-1 interaction. The DM payment option is an indication of this focus, but not the first one:

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KLM has sent 51 normal Tweets to their audience since the beginning of February, but 7,871 @Replies. This is a trend we’ve seen across the airline industry, but other B2C verticals as well. Companies who recognize the value in social (see: KLM’s 130 new “social media agents”) have started to invest more in their audience members as individuals. Social media is a great platform for blanket advertising, but savvy marketers understand the value of two-way conversations.

In our customer service study last summer, we found that 32% of the top brands in the world have dedicated customer service handles on Twitter, supporting the value of 1-to-1 interaction and reputation management.

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It’ll be interesting to see how social sales initiatives like KLM’s become more integrated with overall social media strategies. As brands start to understand their value and place, how do you see these social payment programs taking shape?

Kevin Shively

As the head of content marketing at Simply Measured, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.