Emirates just flew past half a million followers on LinkedIn: here’s how [INFOGRAPHIC]

Lessons from the most followed travel brand on LinkedIn

February 24, 2016

What can the rest of us learn from the most followed travel brand on LinkedIn? Having watched the Emirates brand community soar past the half-million follower mark, almost doubling in size over the last 18 months alone, I think the lesson is a simple but powerful one. When you engage customers and employees through the same channel, you multiply the levels of enthusiasm, engagement and advocacy around your brand. That’s what Emirates has done so successfully, and it’s a strategy that I believe can pay off for any brand.

Take a look at the Emirates Company Page on LinkedIn, and a couple of things jump out at you. Firstly, there’s the frequency of the updates that Emirates publishes – usually around four a week. Then there’s the immense engagement levels that each of those posts receives (most have over 1,000 likes and often 50 comments or more). When you look closely, you’ll find those comments come from a very diverse collection of highly engaged followers. They’re united by one thing – a strong interest in flying, and an enthusiasm for the Emirates brand that those managing its Company Page know exactly how to tap into.

What’s the secret? How is this brand able to post so frequently and generate such consistent levels of engagement around those posts? To my mind, there are three factors at play here – and they are factors that most marketers can seek to apply to their own LinkedIn activity.

Boutros Boutros, Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing & Brand from Emirates says that LinkedIn has helped the engage successfully with two key sets of people – high-value customers and employees. Both these audiences are critical to any business, and in these days of brands building their own personae, Emirates shows that strong engagement can make a significant difference.

“Our engaged and growing audience on LinkedIn reflect the deep-rooted connection that our customers and employees have with the Emirates brand. We would like to thank them for their support and making us the biggest brand in the Middle East in terms of followers. We will continue to engage and delight them with relevant, entertaining, and inspiring initiatives,” added Boutros.

Firstly, there’s the type of content that Emirates shares. In the last month, it’s mixed announcements of new routes (directly customer facing content that has obvious relevance to LinkedIn’s global professional audience), with more inside-track material, such as updates on new aircraft deliveries, that talks directly to the internal audience but also rewards loyal customers with an insider view of the business. Interestingly, there was great engagement on LinkedIn around Emirates’ environmental report – something that interested parties and advocates genuinely care about, and which shows the value of transparency to these audiences. And the brand found time to stir in some spectacular visual content too. A time-lapse video showing sunset to sunrise on New Year’s Eve in Dubai proved extremely popular. This mix of content helps to engage followers on a number of different levels – and by tapping into a range of different content sources within its organisation, Emirates is able to maintain a healthy frequency for its updates.

Secondly, there’s the way that the two different audiences of employees and customers interact around this content. There’s a strong sense of dialogue and shared interest in Emirates’ comment streams and that’s exactly the type of contact between employees and consumers that any brand should be aiming for. This is a brand that isn’t afraid to use the same Company Page for employer branding and consumer branding, confident that the two faces of its brand will enhance one another. It’s an exercise in transparency that works extremely well.

Thirdly, there’s the visual execution. Emirates excels in its use of both high-quality imagery and rich media, to ensure that its content gets the attention that it deserves. It helps when you own a lot of beautiful photography of your aircraft flying across inspiring settings – but Emirates doesn’t settle for using the same type of images each time. It mixes in Infographics and employee photography and makes excellent use of in-stream video as well.

It all shows what can be achieved through an open approach to content, investment in rich media and visuals, and the bringing together of different audiences. If you ask me, a strategy like this can drive take-off in engagement levels for any brand.