Social Seating: Using Facebook For Real Life Connections

A common criticism of Facebook and other social media platforms is that the interaction is impersonal. For example, the New York Times recently wondered if high school reunions were even necessary anymore? Everyone knows what’s going on with each other. There’s no incentive to meet physically. Businesses are running into the same dilemma.

For businesses, every social media ROI article encourages “interaction” with your fans. However, what does that mean and how do you get them to not just “Like” you, but also buy what you’re selling? Try this: Instead of interacting B2C, facilitate C2C.

Malaysia Airlines developed and recently launched MHbuddy. It’s a Facebook-based service that allows passengers to choose their in-flight neighbors based on their occupation, mutual interests and appearances. Also, when booking a flight, users of the app are reminded of friends who live near their destination, and if they want, they can share their itinerary with friends.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and others aren’t far behind with similar applications. For KLM’s “Meet and Seat” service, Linkedin and Facebook are providing the information. These airlines believe that the added value will provide opportunities for networking, while others suggest it’s more likely to be used as a matchmaking tool. Regardless, these airlines are using social media to get what businesses really want: a meaningful connection to customers in the real world.

How could you add a physical, social twist to your own offerings?