Top image: Report: Positive social sentiment offers airline brands opportunity to increase social media engagement

Jeff Haws, Director of Content Marketing, Emplifi

Report: Positive social sentiment offers airline brands opportunity to increase social media engagement

Understanding the sentiment of consumer interactions on social media is crucial for airline brands aiming to build strong relationships with their audience. Emplifi's latest worldwide research into social engagement with airline brands reveals critical insights that can shape effective marketing strategies.

Let’s look at the key findings of our study and discuss actionable advice for leveraging these insights to enhance your airline brand’s social media strategy.

Sentiment analysis overview

Our research highlights significant shifts in consumer sentiment across major social media platforms since 2020.

Instagram has seen a substantial increase in positive sentiment, rising from 44% in 2020 to 53% in 2024. Negative sentiment stands at 31%, while neutral sentiment is 25%. This uptick in positivity presents a golden opportunity for airline brands to foster deeper connections with their audience through engaging content and interactive campaigns.

Facebook also shows an encouraging trend, with positive sentiment climbing from 27% in 2020 to 34% in 2024. Negative sentiment is relatively low at 11%, and neutral sentiment is high at 44%. The increase in positivity suggests that airline brands can benefit from strategies that boost engagement and interaction, such as live sessions and targeted ads.

Conversely, X has experienced a decline in positive sentiment, dropping from 17% in 2020 to 15% in 2024. Negative sentiment is high at 32%, and neutral sentiment dominates at 53%. This indicates a challenging environment where airline brands need to be proactive in addressing negativity and enhancing overall sentiment.

Impact of sentiment trends on marketing strategy

For airline brands active on Instagram, the growing positivity can be leveraged by partnering with travel influencers, encouraging user-generated content (UGC), and utilizing engaging Stories and Reels. These tactics can amplify positive interactions and create a vibrant community around your brand. Additionally, hosting interactive Q&A sessions about travel tips and using features like polls and quizzes can further enhance engagement and maintain the positive momentum.

On Facebook, the balanced sentiment suggests room for improving engagement. Airline brands can benefit from posting interactive content, hosting live sessions, and using targeted advertisements to capture and maintain audience interest. Creating and participating in groups or communities around travel experiences and destinations can also drive engagement and foster a sense of belonging among followers.

For X, managing high levels of negativity and neutrality requires a strategic approach. Airline brands should focus on timely responses, proactive engagement, and addressing common complaints to improve sentiment and foster a more positive brand image. Engaging with trending travel topics and leveraging the power of retweets and replies to show a human side of the brand can also help in shifting neutral sentiment towards a more positive outlook.

Brand response rates and their importance

Our research also sheds light on brand response rates to consumer questions, which play a crucial role in shaping consumer perceptions.

On Instagram, the response rate has increased by 47% since 2020, now standing at 28%. This high engagement level underscores the importance of maintaining responsive and interactive communication with followers.

Tools such as automated response systems and dedicated social media teams can help manage this effectively. Additionally, airline brands should consider setting up FAQs and using AI-powered chatbots to provide instant responses to common queries, such as flight status or baggage policies.

Facebook shows a decline in response rates, down 13% since 2020, currently at 21%. This trend highlights the need for airline brands to improve their responsiveness. Implementing dedicated social media teams and utilizing automated response tools can help address this challenge. Regularly monitoring and analyzing response times and customer satisfaction can provide insights into areas needing improvement.

X maintains a steady response rate of 25%, indicating consistent engagement. Airline brands should continue balancing automation with a personal touch to ensure followers feel valued and heard. Engaging with followers through personalized responses and showing appreciation for their feedback can enhance the overall interaction experience.

Practical tips for airline brands

To leverage positive sentiment effectively, airline brands should focus on creating emotionally resonant content that encourages positive interactions. Here are some strategies:

  1. Create compelling content: Develop content that tells a story and evokes emotions. This can include behind-the-scenes looks at airline operations, customer testimonials, and success stories that highlight the brand’s impact.

  2. Encourage UGC: Motivate your audience to share their travel experiences with your airline. Running contests or campaigns that encourage followers to post their content can generate a wealth of positive sentiment.

  3. Build a community: Foster a sense of community by creating spaces where your audience can interact with each other and with your brand. This could be through Facebook groups dedicated to frequent flyers, Instagram hashtags, or X chats about travel tips and destinations.

  4. Engage proactively: Don’t just respond to queries — initiate conversations. Engage with followers’ posts about their travels, celebrate their milestones, and show genuine interest in their lives. By doing more of this, Volaris saw real improvement in the sentiment of their UGC.

Addressing negative sentiment requires swift, empathetic responses and transparent communication during crises. Here are some strategies:

  1. Swift response: Ensure that your brand responds quickly to negative comments or complaints. A timely response can prevent a small issue from escalating.

  2. Empathy and resolution: Show empathy toward the complainant and provide a clear resolution or next steps. A sincere apology and a solution can turn a negative experience into a positive one.

  3. Public and private communication: Address issues publicly to show transparency, but also follow up privately to ensure the issue is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

Increasing response rates can be achieved by using social listening tools to identify and prioritize queries and training customer service teams for social media interaction. Here are some strategies:

  1. Social listening tools: Use tools to monitor brand mentions and sentiment. This allows your team to quickly address issues and engage with positive mentions.

  2. Prioritizing queries: Develop a system to prioritize responses based on the nature and urgency of the query. High-priority issues should be addressed first.

  3. Training teams: Train your customer service teams in social media best practices and effective communication strategies. This ensures consistent and professional interactions with followers.

Takeaway: Sentiment analysis fuels opportunity for stronger customer relationships

The insights from Emplifi’s research underscore the importance of understanding and responding to consumer sentiment on social media. By analyzing these trends and adjusting strategies accordingly, airline brands can foster stronger relationships with their audience and drive better business outcomes.

If you’d like to learn more about how Emplifi’s suite of products can help your team respond to the latest trends in customer sentiment, schedule some time to chat with one of our experts today.

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