In a recent study looking at the world’s most social brands, four out of the top five were from the travel sector.

German airline Lufthansa came in third place, so it seems like a good case study for our series of posts looking at how different brands use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

Lufthansa actually publishes its social media policy online, however it doesn’t appear to have been updated in a while as it links to Twitter feeds that no longer exist.

So here’s a look at how it uses the four main social networks. This post follows on from similar articles focusing on Walmart, Nike, Coca-Cola and Starbucks

Facebook

Lufthansa currently has 1.2m Facebook fans and updates its page on an almost daily basis.

The social team posts a decent variety of content, including competitions, images of planes, its adverts and more recently a load of photos of Bayern Munich as they travelled to and from the Champions League final.

Large images of planes in flight tend to be the most popular posts, aside from the football photos, and attract around 5,000 ‘likes’ each. 

In comparison, the recent competition posts only received a few hundred ‘likes’ which demonstrates the continued popularity of visual content on Facebook.

The competition the airline is currently promoting offers entrants the chance to win tickets to Croatia, an iPad mini and discounts flights.

As is normal with these kind of competitions it requires access to all your personal data if you want to enter, plus you have to first ‘like’ the brand as “only Lufthansa Facebook fans are eligible to win prizes.”

I wasn’t quite willing to open up to Lufthansa so I’m not sure what the competition involves, but the prizes are certainly attractive enough to lure in a few extra fans.

It follows on from a similar competition that Lufthansa ran last September where people had to submit photos of themselves lying down in awkward positions to try and win a business class flight to Europe.

The aim was to promote the fact that Lufthansa business class has beds that lie totally flat, and the airline was clearly impressed enough with the results that it decided to run another competition this year.

One other Facebook campaign worth noting is a project it ran in partnership with Nivea that aimed to highlight romantic and amusing long-distance love stories.

People had to upload their story plus a photo to Lufthansa’s Facebook page to automatically receive a promotion code for their next flight, while there were also three Lufthansa flights up for grabs.

Lufthansa is one of the few brands I’ve looked at that also uses Facebook as a customer service tool. For example, it recently posted an update to let its customers know about a strike that was impacting its flight schedule, then responded to customer queries in the comments.

It’s a great example of a company using social as a two-way communication tool, rather than just broadcasting messages then ignoring any responses.

Twitter

In comparison to its huge number of Facebook fans Lufthansa has surprisingly few Twitter followers, though this could be due to the fact that it has separate feeds for different markets.

The German feed has almost 125,000 followers, however as I can’t speak the language I will instead focus on the English language version which only has 16,300 followers.

Unlike many brands that operate separate Twitter feeds for marketing and customer service, Lufthansa deals with both from the same account.

Even so it only tweets around 20 times per day, which means that either its customers don’t use social that much or it deals with queries through different channels.

The social team also responds to incidental @mentions from other users, which is a good way of adding a personal touch to customer service and building affinity with the brand.

The rest of the content is largely photos of planes and travel images, with a few random quotes and references to sustainable energy thrown in every now and then.

It’s largely the same as the content shared on Facebook, but due to the far lower number of followers it obviously achieves far lower levels of engagement.

Pinterest

Lufthansa doesn’t appear to have a Pinterest page, and while this isn’t a major omission on its part the airline could also achieve some positive results if it experimented with the platform.

Travel is one of the most popular categories on Pinterest and Lufthansa already shares a variety of imagery on Twitter and Facebook that it could easily repurpose.

Therefore with a relatively low investment the airline could potentially extend its reach among Pinterest users and begin to drive traffic back to its booking site.

Google+

Lufthansa has a confusing number of Google+ pages, most of which appear to be official though none have the official G+ tick.

There’s one for Lufthansa Group (1,017 followers), Systems (565 followers), Elite (36) and Consulting (110).

Lufthansa Group and Systems are updated on an almost daily basis while the other two are basically dormant, but even the active pages achieve a bare minimum of interactions with just one or two +1s per post.

A number of brands I’ve looked don’t make much effort with G+ so it’s no surprise that Lufthansa doesn’t appear to see any value yet, but it is interesting to note that it hasn’t even claimed its brand name yet.