By adaptive - February 20th, 2013

Few companies have embraced social media and made it work for them quite like KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM have been pushing what the company does with its social media exposure for several years. Their innovative Meet and Seat offered business users a chance to check who would be sitting next to them via their LinkedIn profiles. 

What’s more, this wasn’t random, as passengers could choose which seats they booked based on the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles of the other passengers. This innovative approach to offering a practical application of social media in a business context, showed how creative thinking by corporations could deliver real world value to their customers via social media networks.
Not resting on its laurels KLM then moved their use of social media to their B2C passengers with their surprises initiative. Surprises as their name suggests offers small personal gifts to KLM passengers at Schiphol Airport who have mentioned via their social media profiles that they intend to fly with KLM. As soon as someone checks in via Foursquare at Schiphol or another airport KLM flies to, KLM tries to contact him or her through the @klmsurprise account on Twitter. The message is that KLM has a little surprise. Next the KLMsurprise team comes into action to quickly offer a surprising, personalized gift before the customer is on board.
The ‘thank you’ economy is a commercial aspect that few corporations pay attention to. Not so KLM that use social media to identify their passengers and personally deliver small gifts to them as they wait for their flight.
Useful Social Media spoke with Catharine van Dijk, Manager Reputation and Content for Social Media about the surprises initiative: “Schiphol is the chosen location for little acts of kindness for our passengers. Passenger uses KLM/#KLM / @KLM in tweet, and let us know that he or she is travelling with KLM. KLM finds out background info via profile of passenger, how we can surprise him (hobbies, interests) and where we can find him (gate number). 
“KLM buys little present and surprises passenger. Little presents, nothing big, but very personal. Impact on passengers was huge. Lots of exposure and buzz.” Read more of the KLM Practitioner Interview to see how KLM have fostered closer connections with their customers via their social media networks.
The latest social media-based campaign from KLM is the Must See Map. Say you are offer to New York on a business trip, but will have some time for sightseeing. Instead of trawling the Internet for recommendations, the Must See Map service does all the hard work for you.
Connecting the digital world of social media with the well-understood printed map offers a uniquely connected campaign that KLM will surely benefit from with high levels of positive sentiment across their social media networks.
A Must See Map invites your friends and colleagues via social media to recommend places to see, visit or where to eat. All of the recommendations that are given – using Google Maps – are then compiled into a personalised map. This is then printed out and sent to KLM’s passenger completely free of charge.
“The KLM Must See Map campaign perfectly fits KLM’s ‘little act of kindness’ social media strategy. Participants get a free personalized city map delivered at home and we receive their e-mail addresses in return. That means there are two winners and that’s what we always strive for,” said Viktor van der Wijk, Director of Digital Marketing for KLM.
KLM’s use of social media that makes a direct personal connection with their customers is a powerful marketing and CRM strategy. High levels of brand advocacy and positive sentiment were shown with the surprises initiative. Linking social media to the physical world via a printed map is innovative and unique.
Other corporations that are attempting to leverage their presence on social media channels can struggle to make more than a superficial connection with their followers. KLM is showing that with innovative thinking that places customer service at the heart of social media activity, real ROI can be shown. What will KLM do next?

First step is to select a travel destination, then to invite friends via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail to share their 'to do' or 'must see' tips in that place. The participant decides when the map is ready to be printed. Three weeks after ordering it will be delivered to their home. And naturally it is possible to view the personalized Must See Map online.

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