Can You Instagram That Bus? Can You Tweet As You Go? Can You ‘Like’ a Bike?...Getting Social in Transport



Can You Instagram That Bus? Can You Tweet As You Go? Can You ‘Like’ a Bike?...Getting Social in Transport

Authors

Bob Pinkett, Peter Brett Associates LLP, Dawn Wylie, Peter Brett Associates LLP

Description

Based on our experience of building social communities around transport we highlight the positives and the negatives, where we seek to temper expectation against the sometimes messianic zeal of “social media gurus”.

Abstract

In 2008 the authors presented a paper to the European Transport Conference on delivering travel behaviour change. We reviewed theories of mass behaviour change in marketing, health and psychology, and then applied them to travel and transport, with examples provided from projects in Australia and the UK. We proposed that current projects, by only focussing on how to influence an individual’s propensity to change, miss the potentially greater impact of social networks and community relationships which we believed were being significantly undervalued.

In particular we sought to identify the future role of social marketing techniques and specifically the use of social media. In 2008 very few transport planners were using social media, either corporately in building brand awareness or as an integral part of their transport projects and campaigns. At best they were seen as a further advertising or awareness raising channel and rarely was their ability to build relationships with communities developed. So is it much better now, five years on, when Twitter, Facebook and blogging are so ubiquitous in our day to day lives?
We will define social marketing and within that definition consider the use of social media tools, explaining which platform works best for the exact type of interaction you want with an individual or community. We will advise on which platform works best with travel and transport audiences and why. We compare how transport planners currently use social media with successful examples from other sectors and will explain the sometimes counterintuitive factors that determine success in social media campaigns.

Based on our experience of building social communities around transport we highlight the positives and the negatives, where we seek to temper expectation against the sometimes messianic zeal of “social media gurus”. Social won’t reach all audiences all of the time, it won’t necessarily be cheap and will need measurement just like building a bridge or judging the success of a new bus service. It is though a powerful tool when used well and transport planners have only just started to explore how the interaction it encourages can be harnessed for delivering real behaviour change.

Publisher

Association for European Transport