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  • Writer's pictureChris Bowler

Social Media Spotlight: the TSA

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

Key take-aways from a surprising brand

If you're not following the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on social media, you should. They are one of the breakout brands doing it right in 2019.

Let's start with the obvious: the TSA is not an organization you normally want to hear from. They are the government staff at airport security check-points that you only hope to rush by on your way to catch your flight. In a very real way, they are a 'negative brand', meaning you actively seek to avoid it.

So you might be surprised at how successful they are on social media. Consider: they have 989K followers on Instagram, 227K followers on Twitter, and with @AskTSA, their customer service handle has 50K followers.

Moreover, their engagement rates are stellar - each Instagram post generates thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

Let's take a closer look.

One of the primary reasons for engaging with the TSA centers around what you can and cannot bring through security. So naturally, a focus for both posts and responses are around conveying this most basic information.

But the TSA does a great job injecting humor and relevancy into their posts. The 'burger' post is a good example of this. They are using #NationalHamburgerDay as a means to be relevant, they use a visually compelling image and are having fun with the light-hearted copy. It's social media story-telling at its finest.

A similar post around fishing equipment leverages the same elements:

On Twitter and Messenger, the @AskTSA handle is open to handle traveler's questions. What's notable is that the larger ecosystem of airlines and airports regularly point to this handle, leading to more engagement.

Clearly the TSA doesn't need to really do anything like this. As a government agency, the expectation is low that you would even expect they would have a presence on social media. But I wonder if the administration executives see a business reason around their approach? If more people are aware of TSA guidelines, perhaps it alleviates issues (and costs) of dealing with uninformed travelers.

In any case, the TSA is fun to follow. Perhaps I'll be smiling going through my next security line.

Have a suggestion or thought? Feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

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