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If you’ve spent time on TikTok in the past year, you’ve likely heard the name Alix Earle.
In 2022, Earle rose to TikTok stardom by posting “get ready with me” videos and chronicling her experiences as a student at the University of Miami. With over 5.3 million followers on the platform, Earle is one of TikTok’s top creators earning up to $70,000 per sponsored post.
Earle recently went on a trip to Europe with a group of 11 friends, some of whom were content creators themselves. Upon arriving in Italy, the group learned the house they reserved through Booking.com didn’t actually exist, leaving them stranded with nowhere to stay.
Naturally, the group took to TikTok to post about the situation.
How Airbnb Earned Millions of Impressions Through Social Listening
Earle’s video about the group getting stranded racked up over 3.9 million views, and caught the attention of the social media team at Airbnb who quickly sprung into action.
Within 24 hours, Airbnb arranged for the group to stay in a villa nearby, seemingly saving the day. Again, Earle went on TikTok to share how Airbnb reached out to help and posted a tour of the villa the group moved to for the duration of their stay in Italy. This video has over 3.8 million views, painting Airbnb in a positive light.
While the details of the exchange are unclear (Did Airbnb comp the group’s stay at the Villa? How much was the group’s stay worth?) Airbnb has earned nearly 4 million impressions from Earle’s post likely for less than her typical $70,000 fee.
After the group moved to the Airbnb, Booking.com commented on Earle’s initial post about being stranded days later, telling the group to reach out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to resolve the issue.
While the comment appears to be standard procedure, it came too late to help the group's initial problem (being stranded) and was a missed opportunity for good press after the botched booking. Due to the slow and lackluster response, Booking.com appeared unreliable and out of touch.
Airbnb was clearly ready to pick up the ball after Booking.com fumbled and jumped on the opportunity to be featured.
The difference in the two company’s responses demonstrates the significance of social listening and keeping a pulse on conversations that are happening in your brand’s niche.
In this instance, Airbnb demonstrated social listening. The brand’s social team was keeping a close eye on a popular creator’s travel experience and was ready to act when the opportunity presented itself. Booking.com demonstrated social monitoring, providing a response instead of a solution.
Ultimately, both social listening and social monitoring are important for any brand but knowing when to respond versus when to act can make all the difference in how a company is perceived.
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