Ryanair’s dismissal of social media this week may have come as a refreshing counterbalance to many in the travel sector still struggling with channel.
But the views of the newly-installed head of public relations at the notoriously publicity seeking Irish budget carrier have not gone without challenge.
Robin Kiely, Ryanair’s new head of communications, was quoted by PR Week as saying the airline would have to employ two people just to manage interactions on a network like Facebook.
“A Facebook account would not be helpful to us, as we would have so many people looking for a response,” he said. “If customers want to get in touch, the methods are there.”
However, Michael Veenswyk, chief executive of cloud-based image and content specialist Integritie – an admittedly fully-paid up exponent of social media – offered the following response:
“Robin Kiely is certainly right to describe Facebook as a two-way tool.
“Consumers expect to be able to contact their brands on the social network and are now increasingly demanding response in real time – it’s the latest customer services tool.
“However, the view that Ryanair would need to hire additional staff to manage the process (a key reason given for this move) is off the mark and actually a pretty archaic view.
“With the development of social media management tools, response and integration of interactions into traditional workflows are no longer a problem.
“There are now tools that capture incoming Facebook posts, communicate an appropriate response to the consumer, integrate the issue into the business workflow – and in essence, control the whole process.
“So whereas a few years ago, Mr Kiely might have had a point, in today’s social age, his argument doesn’t really stand up and the move risks infuriating consumers who naturally expect to converse with brands via social media.”