Ryanair's new comms chief to eschew social media

Robin Kiely, the incoming head of communications at Ryanair, has pledged to build bridges with traditional media, but dismissed the value of social media engagement.

Robin Kiely, the incoming head of communications at Ryanair, has pledged to build bridges with traditional media, but dismissed the value of social media engagement.

Kiely said that while other airlines had “tapped into social media” platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, the sites “would not be helpful” to Ryanair's communications strategy.

Kiely is stepping into what Ryanair has dubbed “the worst job in PR.” He has replaced Stephen McNamara, who has joined the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Kiely will be supported by his own replacement once the role is filled, as well as numerous agencies across Europe.

Noting the existence of more than one fake Ryanair account on Facebook and Twitter, which have significant consumer followings, Kiely said, “A Facebook account would not be helpful to us, as we would have so many people looking for a response.”

He called the social network a “two-way tool” and said maintaining a dedicated account would probably mean “hiring two more people just to sit on Facebook all day.”

“If customers want to get in touch, the methods are there,” he added, referring to the brand's customer care line.

Kiely is planning to “open (Ryanair) up to the media” through a dedicated section on Ryanair.com to give journalists better access to the airline and “prevent false claims” from spreading in the press.

“'We find that if an issue breaks in one country, within a matter of hours or days it has spread across Europe,” he said. “'It is important to nip those in the bud.”

The airline will continue to aggressively fight questions on its safety record. The Sunday Times last month printed a correction of a story from September 2012 that claimed Ryanair planes had broken safety rules in Spanish airspace 1,201 times.

This article originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister title of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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