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 🙂

2 Workers dead, does SMRT care?

Recently, 2 workers died in an incident whilst at work on SMRT train tracks. While much discussion has been made regarding SMRT’s current safety measures, I am appalled by what I see in the following screenshot:

IMG_2016-03-23 18:00:31

It can be noted that this response on social media (Facebook) is considered within the realm of crisis communication, and what our minister has done is basically the technique of diminishing the severity of the incident, by diverting attention to good news, before offering his condolences. This, inevitably, led to responses such as this:

IMG_2016-03-23 18:00:36

In retrospect, it can be seen that leaders of many corporations (e.g. Shell) attempt to downplay the severity of an incident, but it always backfires. A more sincere, and possibly effective method would be to take up full responsibility instead. Although it may result in immediate losses (of reputation), but this is minimised, and the organisation will be also commended for taking up full responsibility and providing compensation.


What are your thoughts?

Aly & Fila and Zouk: The Chronicles of The Malaysian VIP

Many things get blown up online. And when a prominent DJ, with many followers and fans tells the world on Social Media that you’re “lame”, using the Denial tactic and Minimisation technique will only cause more damage to your brand reputation.

As according to the link above, a popular DJ was playing at Zouk. His stated end time was 3.30am, but he was initially invited to play till the end, which he agreed to. However, this initial agreement was dissolved when the Malaysian Prime Minister’s son wanted to spin. And there the situation worsens, as the DJ’s video of him criticizing Zouk’s actions were uploaded on Facebook and shared, leading to widespread dissent on an initially well regarded brand such as Zouk.

And Zouk responded, albeit in a way that only created more dissent as they were minimizing the determinants for their actions.

Lesson learnt: Apologise, and be sincere about it? People might be initially angry, but at least not as bad as now?

666: Number of the Beast… Or Number of LTA?

I’ve recently come across this article,

in which the launch of a bus service number, 666 in Punggol invited much flack from netizens in Singapore. This is due to the symbolic inclinations of the number 666, typically seen as a Satanic symbol, the “number of the beast”. LTA had wanted the new bus services, which they broadcast on their official Facebook page, to generate positive feedback as new busses lead to better transportation options and a reduced traveling time. However, this generated social media interest, albeit not in LTA’s intended manner.

With this situations, I have two questions:

  1. Why did LTA choose such a number, one that has potentially religious sensitive connotations? In recent months, it can be seen that the Christian community in Singapore are very active on Social Media, especially with the recent Madonna concert as well. By choosing such a bus service number, won’t LTA know that they are inviting negative feedback?
  2. In this light, what can LTA do, especially on Social Media platforms, to change the negative activity on social media into something more positive?

Also Singapore is a secular nation, it prides itself in keeping all religions in harmony, as reflected in our national pledge:

“We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,”

De Zhong


Thoughts about Nikon’s “Fake Plane” Saga

Recently came across this article on Facebook, and it’s turning out to be proof that Social media strategies can often yield suprising results…

“Nikon Singapore posted an announcement on its Facebook page yesterday, congratulating a photographer named Chay Yu Wei for capturing a perfect shot of an airplane framed by a ladder in Chinatown.

Photographers quickly pointed out that the photo is clearly the result of editing, and sarcastic comments soon flooded the post.”

What are all of your opinions on this case? In my opinion, on the surface, Nikon has been discredited, and Nikon has generated a high level of negative publicity for not being able to discern a badly photoshopped photo. However, on hindsight, if the picture was a genuine, perfect shot – would it have generated that much public scrutiny?

Could bad publicity be better than no publicity at all? I’m still going to buy a Nikon camera for its long-running reputation for being a high quality DSLR manufacturer…


De Zhong

Thoughts regarding Myspace, Facebook, and… Friendster?

Whilst I was listening in class regarding the comparisons between Myspace and Facebook, and the reasons for the eventual success for the latter, I was reminded of Friendster, a website myself, and many peers of my generation frequented. Both Friendster and Facebook exhibit similar qualities at that time (around 2008, Facebook already existed but wasn’t very popular yet (only in September 2009, did Facebook break-even). At that time, both sites offered an ease of access, a simplified interface suitable for the technological-dummies – basically targeting similar demographics, in comparison to Myspace whom *bla bla bla* (prof has already covered in class!)… In fact, in the year 2008, Friendster had a membership base of over 115 million registered users, exhibiting a continued growth in Asia…

Well – I am thinking – could the reason be the “openness” which professor was talking about? Did widgets exist back in 2009, which led to easy integration and the eventual mass migration over to Facebook?

Photo on 1-23-16 at 3.15 AM #2 Hmm.