By Ian Hoyt,
Airplanista Guest Blogger
It’s SUN ‘n FUN time!
Yeah you heard me right. It’s that time in April every year when all of the aviation lovers around the world congregate to watch airplanes fly, rehash aviation memories with old friends over some beer, and meander around looking at all of the new and exciting things to come out of aviation during this year.
But, SUN ‘n FUN in Lakeland, Florida from April 21 – 26 is much more than just an airshow to all of the aviation brands that plan on exhibiting their awesome products this upcoming week.
Yes, this is the best time for brands to capture, grow, and engage with the aviation community, those who love gadgets and new things. These aviation lovers seem to naturally come out of the woodwork on social media and even in person as the week nears. This survival guide that I have laid out below is focused to help those brands that are exhibiting their products at SUN ‘n FUN this year. Is your brand cutting costs this year and staying at home? Have no fear, your brand can certainly use these strategies to piggyback off of this event from your headquarters too.
So let’s get right into it.
Social media has been around for a long time, and likely your brand has used it to some degree during previous SUN ‘n FUN events. I am going to guess you felt like you weren’t sure if it was being as effective for your company as you figured it could be.
No fears, it’s not that hard and here are the tips to put someone on your team (or contractor) to work this week:
First establish your goals
I personally don’t give a crap about how many followers, likes, and all of those garbage arbitrary numbers you have, and you shouldn’t either. I care about three things, customer loyalty, interaction, and sales conversions.
Organic traffic and sales conversions are hard to monitor. However, we can monitor this by simply offering discounts, tracking with analytics and special links like Google Shortlinks, freebies, or other incentives that can be the criteria for marking a sale at SUN ‘n FUN as a social media generated acquisition. If you are selling online, have them submit a coupon code. Not looking to give ANYTHING away this week? That’s fine, have your sales team ask your customers how they heard about you. Keep these numbers every day of the event and see how your social media efforts are turning out.
Focus on a platform, and make that platform Twitter.
Twitter is the only true social media platform. It allows you to interact and be discovered the same way as everyone else. Unlike Facebook, you can call the shots on this platform. When I managed a social media account for an aviation retailer last year at SUN ‘n FUN, I found the most use came from spending time on Twitter. Sure, if you have a large audience on Facebook and other networks it will behoove you to keep content rolling on there. However, I would recommend focusing 70% of your social media efforts on Twitter this week.
If you don’t LIVE Periscope stream this week, you are MISSING OUT!
Within the last month we have seen a huge opportunity sprout up. The social media platform is called Periscope which is owned by Twitter and is focused on instant live video streaming.
What does that mean? Well, it means that this week as you are giving a tour of your new aircraft model, headset, or other awesome product, you should be live streaming it for the whole aviation community on Twitter to watch and be a part of. In fact, you should be live streaming as much as you can! Why would you turn down an opportunity to show your fans exactly what your brand is doing during the week. (behind the scenes and all).
Scared? Too bad, I command you to do it! Here is a video to get you up-to-speed on how to use Periscope this week!
Over-Tweet, this week it is socially acceptable.
How many industries have times during the year when they can just send out tweet and post after another without their consumers getting annoyed? Very few.
Luckily aviation is such a passionate industry that everyone knows it is SUN ‘n FUN time. This means not only do they not mind seeing your brand tweet all day long, they actually want you to. This is great because it means you have an open forum to serve content to users multiple times a day and thus increasing your exposure at a critical week in the aviation year. If you are at SUN ‘n FUN, and you are tweeting about it, these two aspects instantly combine and add another layer of social proof to your brand by your consumers.
Set up a digital command center
Services like Hootsuite and TweetDeck will get you through this week. You can set up a command center dashboard to have a constant live feed of everyone who is talking about SUN ‘n FUN (#snf15). If your social media manager is smart, they will cross reference this and follow other tags pertaining to aviation and meld the two together to have the most potential for finding conversations to jump into. This is important because during live events like this you can’t miss a beat when the beat drops. Have someone who is dedicated at looking after your brand on social media for the week, don’t miss out on this opportunity to be a part of as many conversations as possible with potential customers.
The “Preflight” and “Cool down” philosophy
Hopefully you are reading this early enough to implement this strategy.
Always remember, this event is a key part of each participant’s year. I even have trouble sleeping a week in advance because I am so excited. This time before the arrival of the event should be spent showing your followers the setup process, your flights to Lakeland, etc…This is what people want to see like I mentioned earlier the more conversation the better. Be genuine and personable, that's all people want.
Perfect execution goes to Redbird FlightSims.
As you can see, this is what we call the “Preflight” portion of your strategy. Capitalize on everyone’s excitement for the event.
In contrast, on the 26th when everyone is leaving the event and sad to see it move under the horizon until next year, this is when we enter the “Cooldown” portion of your strategy.
This is when everyone will gladly be happy to see your brand continue the conversation past the event. Share inside jokes that only event goers would get, spend time showing the tear down and goodbye hugs, share some quick videos of the homeward flights back to your headquarters.
Don’t forget to tag all of this with #SnF15, everyone will still be watching this hashtag like a hawk.
Be one of the first to mention your intentions for next year’s event and be a leader for next years conversation by using: #SnF16
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, and if you implement these strategies you will be on your way to a better social media life at #SnF15.
Is all of this social media talk still going way over your head? It’s okay, I understand it can be difficult. If you are nervous that you may “mess” up, my team and I will be on the ready and having fun down in Lakeland, Florida for SUN ‘n FUN this upcoming week. If your aviation brand finds that creative design and social media marketing is in short supply for the week, reach out and we will be happy to help!
Some brands &aviators to keep an eye on this week on Twitter:
Sun‘n Fun - @SunnFunFlyIn
Jason Schappert - @mzeroa
Lakeland Linder Regional Airport - @FlyLakeland
Fly With Jepp - @FlyWithJepp
Me - @IanHoyt
Redbird Flight Sim - @Redbird_Flight
Avidyne Corporation - @avidyne1
Dave Shallbetter - @SnFRadioDave
MyGoFlight - @mygoflight
More to be added during the week…
I am an aviation branding and advertising consultant, you can find where this article first appeared on my website www.IanHoyt.com. Reach out to me on Twitter @IanHoyt, let's meet up at SUN ‘n FUN! Happy Landings everyone.