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The Secrets Behind Ryanair's TikTok Dominance

I've listened to every interview with Michael Corcoran, eager to decode the secrets of Ryanair's social media magic on TikTok. I unpack them in this post.
The Secrets Behind Ryanair's TikTok Dominance

Most brand's barely touch TikTok, yet Ryanair was able to use the platform to boost brand awareness, change perception and increase customer loyalty.

Their meteoric rise on the platform is a strategy worth dissecting.

Behind this success is Michael Corcoran, the mastermind and former head of social media at Ryanair, whose innovative strategies have catapulted the airline into social media stardom.

Over the past week, I've listened to every interview with Corcoran, eager to decode the essence of Ryanair's social media magic on TikTok.

Trying to learn some key insights:

  • What is Ryanair's social media strategy? Specifically TikTok.
  • Why are they so good on TikTok?

This blog post aims to unravel the secrets to their TikTok success and how brands and creators can learn from their strategy.

As of Feb 2024 the account has:

Source: Ryanair's TikTok

Here's how Michael and his team did it:

Creator-Led Approach:

Ryanair's strategy emphasizes a creator-led approach to social media. This breaks down into 2 main functions:

    1. Newsjacking or reactive - focusing on creating news already relevant to topical content and being reactive to current events (newsjacking)
    2. "always-on" content that aims to change perceptions about flying low-cost.

Michael's team was also built with these 2 functions in mind, creating 2 pods to handle each task. They use tools and processes to discover news and opportunities for content creation across platforms, emphasizing quick, timely, and smart concept development.

Buzzsumo, Glimpse, and Exploding Topics are great tools to stay on top of trend

7 Benefits of a Creator-Led Growth Strategy for B2B Companies
In this blog post we will dive into what is creator led growth and how it can scale your business.

1st mover advantage:

Ryanair joined TikTok in May 2020. This was still during the pandemic and way before most brands really used TikTok as an awareness channel.

Jab-Jab-Hook Method:

A term originally coined by Gary Vee, the team at Ryan Air uses the Jab-Jab-Hook method. This involves using reactive content to gain momentum and reach, followed by delivering equally entertaining content to engage users further. This method relies on the algorithm's tendency to show more content from accounts a user has interacted with, thus increasing Ryanair's visibility on the platform.

Create a Banger Bank:

Ryanair emphasizes the importance of repurposing high-performing content (content that reaches a certain view threshold gets stored for future reuse) and putting it in the banger bank. This approach ensures continuous growth in reach without overwhelming the content creation team.

Pro tip: Create a Banger Bank - If any content reaches a certain threshold ex: 100,000 views, put it in the banger bank to reuse in 12-16 weeks.

Creating a Character: "Plane Face"

The idea behind Plane Face was to create a character that could carry the airline's messaging in a fun and memorable manner. The character facilitated a more direct and personal connection with followers, encouraging interaction and feedback. Through comments, shares, and likes, the audience participated in the adventures of Plane Face, making the brand's social media channels a more interactive and enjoyable space.

Ryanair's plane face

Change perception strategy:

Ryanair's TikTok strategy aims to reshape perceptions, highlight the value of their offerings, and foster a deeper understanding among their key demographic. This targeted approach not only aids in dispelling myths around low-cost traveling but also strengthens the brand's relationship with a generation that values authenticity and transparency.

Many brands make the mistake of being on social media for the sake of being on social media. This leads to boring posts such as "Happy National Hotdog Day" or whatever calendar update companies come up with.

This is the opposite of what Ryanair did. They deliberately used TikTok to tackle brand perception.

Source: Ryanair's TikTok

Ex: Targeting people who would complain about amenities on a low-cost flight.

Ryanair's approach to strategy and business alignment in social media shows the importance of understanding the "why" behind even being on social media. By ensuring their tactic serves a broader business purpose, Ryanair has managed to create a social media presence that is both engaging and strategically aligned with their goals.

Brand History:

The transition to leveraging social media as a low-cost, high-return marketing channel was a natural progression for Ryanair, especially considering their history of utilizing PR in a similar manner under the guidance of CEO Michael O'Leary. O'Leary's ability to generate top-of-mind awareness through cost-effective public relations tactics laid the groundwork for the airline's foray into social media. This background in maximizing returns with minimal expenditure paved the way for social media to become a key component of Ryanair's marketing strategy.

Community Building and Team Dynamics:

Michael focuses on gathering a diverse team of individuals with different skills and personalities to bring a multifaceted approach to their content and strategy. When it comes to building a team Michael looked for both creative types and organized types to get the jobs done.

Reevaluation and Adaptation:

Ryanair continuously evaluates the performance of their content, setting benchmarks for success and adapting their strategy based on what content performs best. This iterative process allows them to refine their approach and maximize engagement and reach over time.


Michael Corcoran's tenure at Ryanair serves as a masterclass in social media marketing. By blending creativity with strategic insight, Ryanair has not only amplified their brand presence on TikTok but also set a benchmark for how brands and creators—can engage with their audience in funny, yet impactful ways.

Ryanair's journey from PR to social media sensation underlines the potential for brands to reinvent themselves and thrive in the digital arena, provided they have the vision, the strategy, and the team to bring it all to life.

About the author
Joey Labs

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