Malaysian Airlines Berhad: Social Media Research Report

Hi everyone, my name is De Zhong and my research report is on Malaysia Airlines Berhad!

Photo on 1-23-16 at 3.15 AM #2

Dang dang dang!

That’s right, the airline carrier which unfortunately got thrown into the spotlight after 2 of its planes met with unfortunate incidents. Well, it has been a trying time for MAS (I’m gonna call it that from now) as even before the incidents, they were already in trouble as there are just SO many strong competitors in the region, such as from Singapore Airlines Limited and Garuda Indonesia!

So what happened after is that they basically had to fire staff, hire a new CEO – but he has been doing a rather good job! Just a few days ago, an article has been published stating that they have just profited for THE FIRST TIME since the incidents!

I am very excited to see what will happen in the near future as MAS progresses to become an inspiration to other businesses out there which have met with trials and tribulations.

Alright, but firstly, here’s the two questions I was pondering whilst doing the research report. They are written below!

  • How is Malaysia Airlines Berhad currently utilizing its social media platforms in order to engage with its key stakeholders?
  • How can Malaysia Airlines Berhad, through social media initiatives, reestablish a

reputation of trust and safety for the corporation, and ultimately increasing profitability to pre-incident levels?

So basically for my research report, I looked at MAS’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, in comparison to the other national airlines in the vicinity, namely Garuda Indonesia (who actually also suffered from incidents in the past but has managed to become such a respected airline after restructuring), and the one and only Singapore Airlines!

Strong competition aye.

Dolce & Gabbana Candy Apple Red

Alright now to my findings!

I compared the 3 airlines to each other and WOW were they different. For example, Garuda Indonesia posts more commonly in Bahasa Indonesia (they are sure missing out on a lot of people like me who can’t speak Bahasa), and Singapore Airline’s social media is like reading a gigantic “fact-of-the-day” book, its really interesting and filled with little bite sized pieces of information about travel, tourism and culture!

Whereas for MAS, I am quite surprised but elated that they are not doing too badly too – in fact they have more followers on Twitter than SIA! HA!



But back to serious business:

MAS’s social media account is quite unique, focusing on its staff, and peripheral cues such as happy people to portray optimism on its platforms. Yes! On its people. While this may not work for everyone (for example, personally I’m not so interested in looking at photos of the staff and managers no matter how handsome or pretty they are), but it does BUILD PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS with the people who follow the account.


But at the same time, if you look at these pictures of the smiling staff and think to yourself…

“HEY. They weren’t smiling when they served me rancid coffee on the plane.”…

Then you know what’ll happen?

This’ll happen.


Negative sentiment is a major issue, as people are generally critics and only listen to negative stuff most of the time. I bet you’ll notice this a lot more than the usual “Good job posts eh”, coz this is more exciting, ain’t it?

So, if we look at MAS’s sentiment analysis as below:


11.8% is way too much.

Let me give you this analogy.


Let’s say I buy a plate of chicken rice at the hawker centre. And there’s a single cockroach leg in it. I make a big fuss, and a complaint on social media.


Does the public see that the other 10000000 plates of chicken rice are nice and tasty? NO!

So you’ve got my point.

My aim now, is to bring down these little pieces of negative sentiment to 5% (a realistic goal coz 0% is impossible) – How so? I will DIVERT and DETER.

DIVERTING, by putting up call-to-action posts to ENCOURAGE users to give feedback (and hopefully inclusive of the bad ones) via messaging them directly, and not post it on social media and all. BUT this requires their effort to be very consistent and timely in fixing problems as well.

Here’s an example of what they can do!


Yup, friendly language, hashtags and all – I AM CONVINCED AND I WILL MESSAGE THEM.

So what about DETERRING then?

Well, we will be PROACTIVE in engaging in a social media campaign, unified by #TheMASLife hashtag. In essence, they are already posting pictures of their employees (yay!), what I am suggesting is for them to actually make it into a campaign, and build upon it by including inspirational accounts of why they joined MAS and etc.

Here’s an example!


Basically, everyone already knows our sob story. Now’s OUR turn to tell them that WE MADE IT BACK, to serve you guys.

And isn’t that beautiful?


Well of course, on hindsight, these communication strategies rely a little on fate. If MH370 is found, and we know how the plane was lost, then MAS would be better able to tell its key stakeholders that they either have made the necessary changes to prevent such an incident from happening again, or scapegoat someone else.

That’s all folks, and I am so happy that I have signed up for this module with you guys! Till the summer holidays!!!

De Zhong 🙂

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