Qantas changes social media tack, merges Twitter accounts

Iconic airline Qantas has announced it will adjust the course of its social media strategy by closing one of its Twitter accounts, calling for people to utilise the company’s news webpage instead.

The airline’s @QantasMedia Twitter account, which is designed to break news and communicate with journalists, will be closed on Friday, April 19.

There have been three tweets sent since March 24, all advising of the page’s closure and requesting media personnel to now consult qantasnewsroom.com.au for all the latest information.

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The more consumer-facing @QantasAirways Twitter page will remain active and will continue to be managed by an internal Qantas social media team.

A Qantas spokesperson told SmartCompany it closed the account because the same messages were being communicated over its two accounts and the decision to start the Qantas news page was separate.  

“Qantas public relations has been operating two Twitter accounts with lots of overlap and many of the same followers. By consolidating into one Twitter handle (@QantasAirways), we avoid duplication of messages going out to our followers. However, it is still managed by Qantas PR team and remains an interactive platform with our followers.

“In addition, and quite separate to this, we have created the Qantas News Room. The Qantas News Room provides media with a one-stop shop to access the latest Qantas news, media releases, speeches and multimedia including images and videos,” the spokesperson says

The spokesperson says the news room provides new ways for the airline to connect with the media and key stakeholders on current issues.  

Over the past few years Qantas has been involved in a number of social media scandals, involving both its Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Earlier this month, users spread bigoted views over the company’s Facebook page in regards to the airline no longer serving pork on flights which stopover in Dubai.

The company’s media page currently has 27,411 followers, compared to the main Twitter page’s 113,904 followers.

The @QantasAirways page is also used more often than the media page, having sent 24,385 tweets in contrast to the media page’s 543 tweets.

Social media consultant Hugh Stephens, founder of Dialogue Consulting, told SmartCompany the closure of Qantas’ media page is an uncommon move and the airline will miss out on opportunities to communicate with its audience.

“Twitter provides a very good opportunity for media relations and this represents a lost opportunity for Qantas. It’s possible the airline thinks Twitter works better as a customer service channel,” he said.

“Twitter helps companies to respond to journalists and reach out to them in a way that wasn’t necessarily possible without picking up the phone before,” he says.

Stephens says while the Qantas Airways account is still operating, it is directed toward consumers, rather than journalists.

“The Qantas Airways account is predominately followed by consumers, so Qantas is likely to have to ‘dumb down’ the media releases communicated via this account and ensure they’re still friendly to a consumer audience.

“It just results in creating missed opportunities for Qantas. Twitter is really useful at communicating news quickly and engaging in a brief conversation which can lead to further discussion,” he says.

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