Air New Zealand loves to take risks but only with it‘s advertising strategy. And as a result, when it comes to social media networking, Air New Zealand rocks.

In fact, in the last year, this airline has become certifiably geeky, creating a strong twitter presence (@flyAirNZ)  and using facebook, you tube, flickr, and websites to promote it’s edgy marketing strategies that are putting not only the airline but also New Zealand on the map.

After all, who could forget their innovative flight safety video featuring naked staff members, covered only in body paint. It raised more than few eyebrows when it was posted on You Tube – more than 4.1 million according to the stats.

matchmaking flightThen there was Air New Zealand’ Matchmaking Flight, a social media exercise testing whether the “opposites attract” concept applied to transcontinental travellers. One hundred single Americans and one hundred and fifty single Kiwis connected first online and then onboard for this world-first inter-hemisphere mingle than culminated with a Great Matchmaking Party in Auckland.

Air New Zealand’s two latest social media forays – Jump Seat and Airpoints Fairy –  keep up this innovative and entertaining way of connecting and engaging with clients and potential clients.

jump seatJump Seat, an Air New Zealand facebook game, offers players the change to be in charge of their own flight and head off to exotic locations while completing various missions and adventures along the way.

airpoints fairyMeanwhile, the Airpoints Fairy is a website and twitter based ( @AirpointsFairy) application where, once a day, the  @AirpointsFairy sprinkles some fairy dust and grants customers’ wishes. So far, this Airpoints Fairy has provided Air New Zealand frequent flyers everything from Koru Lounge access to extra air and status points. All you have to do is make a wish (mine as @kiwiwriter was  “keeping fingers crossed @AirpointsFairy will grant me wish to turn silver or even gold”)  and pray that some fairy dust will come your way. It’s a brilliant spot-on campaign that brings the child out in all of us.

Of course, none of this social media networking would be worth a cent if Air New Zealand wasn’t able to also deliver on it’s promise to provide an excellent in-flight experience as well. Because just as the social media can work as a marketing tool for airlines, it can also work as a word-of-mouth tool for travellers who are dissatisfied with an airline’s service or actions.  After all, who can forget how quickly the ‘United Breaks Guitars’ video made by a disgruntled passenger went viral causing United Airlines some strife.

But it turns out that not only does Air New Zealand rock as a social media networker. I can, having taken numerous long haul Air New Zealand flights, honestly state that it  rocks for it’s excellent in-flight service.

For more on airlines and social media, check out Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation’s article “Airlines and Social Media: Carriers turn to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and online blogs” . It not only discusses efforts by various airlines in social media networking but also lists the twitter accounts of airline carriers around the world.