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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Editor's Note: Media Socially

by Emily Feliz

It’s been a little more than a decade since I left journalism school. It was 2001, and it was a simpler time — a tweet was a sound a bird made, tablets were something you wrote on and a blackberry was something you ate. No one had heard of social media, iPhones/iPads, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest.

Oh how things have changed.

Social media has exploded to become a dynamic way of communication, both for personal and professional purposes, becoming so pervasive that it is now uncommon, even rare, to find someone without a Facebook page. And I certainly can’t imagine going through my day and not checking in on at least one social media channel. How did my grandmother live on this planet for 86 years and NOT have a Pinterest board?! Amazing!

From my perspective at Avionics Magazine, social media, with its far reach and immediate response capability, has the amazing capacity to connect me with readers, aviation companies and aviation enthusiasts from all over the world. Never before have I been able to elicit immediate responses from the Avionics readership by simply posting a sentence or question on social media platforms. It’s a great way to get a quick pulse of the industry, all the while sitting at my desk in Rockville, Md.

For avionics companies, social media is an efficient way to connect with customers and prospective customers. Companies are able to post about new products and contract awards, or they can post about what shows they will be attending. Problems are solved, many times, in 140 characters are less. In these very public forums, companies are held accountable to their customers in new and more stringent ways. Having trouble with your cockpit display or your GPS system? Send a tweet, tag the manufacturer, bcause you know they’re on Twitter, and I’m fairly certain you’ll get a response very, very quickly.

“We’re doing our part to engage and have actual conversations [on social media],” Jake Jacobson, social media manager at Garmin, said during an Avionics Magazine social media webcast earlier this year. “Good social media can’t solve a bad product; good social media can’t solve a bad hiring practice; it can’t solve a bad experience … [social media] is a way to expand our voice and amplify our message and hopefully broaden our reach, but it can’t be disingenuous and it can’t be inconsistent with everything else people are seeing with the brand.”

For more on this webcast, which also included presentations and case studies from Duncan Aviation and Rockwell Collins, visit www.aviationtoday.com/webinars.

Social media is a powerful tool. It can’t replace good products or good customer service, but it can help you better engage with your community, troubleshoot problems and communicate solutions.

The aviation community seems to be embracing various social media platforms, both as a way to receive information and as a way to disseminate it themselves, based on a survey we conducted last month. According to the Aviation Today survey, 55 percent of respondents use Facebook, 45 percent use LinkedIn and 37 percent use Google+. And, 61 percent of respondents use social media as a way to stay up-to-date on industry news and trends. Respondents said they like to see news briefs, headlines, videos, pictures and interviews on social media. (At this writing nearly 5,900 people were following Avionics Magazine on Twitter and nearly 2,000 people “like” us on Facebook.)

So the message is clear social media is a powerful tool; it can’t replace good products, good customer service or even face-to-face meetings, but it can help you better engage with your community, troubleshoot problems and communicate solutions. And, if you’ve got a good story to tell, it’s a good place for that too.

For Avionics Magazine, I look forward to more engagement from this community via social media. It has been really fascinating to see the level of interest and enthusiasm within aviation. Companies in the aviation field, and individual aviation enthusiasts, are some of the most passionate people I’ve met and I’m excited to continue the discussions and relationships online. Have a story idea? Love an article we wrote? Want to write a letter to the editor? Send me a tweet! Follow us on Twitter (@EmilyFeliz1, @AvionicsMag and @AviationToday). Like us on Facebook (Avionics-Magazine and Aviation Today) and join our group on LinkedIn (Aviation Today).

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