Airport Business

APR 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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Page 38 of 51

LEGAL MATTERS While smaller, regional airports tend to have fewer personnel resources, they can nonetheless create systems of safeguards to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate, indecipherable or inappropriate social media posts. We have all seen headlines about local government officials going rogue on social media and spewing forth with ill-advised statements. Airports cannot allow this to happen via their social media channels. That means developing a thick skin about pushback from followers. Social media users can be cruel to airports, as even a glance at #airportfails on Twitter will confirm. Having equanimity about criticisms and being politely responsive (again with team review) where warranted is part of the game here. Consistency, too, should also be a goal. Frequency of posting as well as tone and content should be consistent. Avoid scenarios in which multiple employees are logging into the institutional account and creating and sending posts on the same subject — especially in the midst of a crisis. Rather, the publication process should resemble that of a newspaper or magazine: The "draft" content goes through multiple edits before taking final, pre-publication form. Toward that end, the team needs to sit down and establish strong safeguards and procedures. Social media should be part of the airport's emergency response drills and training. How would you handle a power outage or aircraft accident? Will you create prepared, pre-cleared statements for use in the event of such occurrences? Once key questions are answered and procedures established, they should be disseminated to the appropriate parties, integrated into routine training and retraining and periodically revisited for improvement. While airports are still learning to optimize social media, the progress thus far is heartening. Moving forward, airports would do well to consider more robust advertising and promotion of their social media presences. This could be everything from billboards, to terminal signage, to ad campaigns on social media platforms themselves. Already, some airports use social media to alert people about available parking spaces. These platforms can and should be used to improve the customer experience in other ways as well. Like virtually everything else in life, use of social media is a risk-benefit analysis. While the potential benefits for airports are substantial, so, too, are the risks. Fortunately, with careful planning and skilled execution those risks can be managed to good effect. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mark A. Dombroff Veteran aviation attorney Mark A. Dombroff is an Alexandria, Va.-based shareholder in LeClairRyan and co-leader of the national law firm's aviation industry practice; Skymark Refuelers Worldwide Leader in Aircraft Refuelers Ask About Our Leasing & Rental Options April 2018 airportbusiness 39

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