JetBlue Leads the Way with Tweets

So far in the previous post we have looked at how Airports have began using Social Media and using it to better convenience their fliers. Now we will shift our attention from Airports to Airlines. Airlines are one of the best industries in today’s world that are trying to use social media to solve problems and benefit their fliers. The first company we will look at, and visit again later, is JetBlue. We’ll look at how they are using Twitter to help their fliers and see what else they are doing to best utilize the ever-growing tool called social media.

JetBlue has become one of the biggest corporations that uses Twitter the social media website. They are the largest Airline to use it and have the largest number of followers out of all other Airlines on Twitter. As of now they have 1.8 Million followers and over 175,000 tweeted messages. Their Facebook presence is also growing, with 894,884 likes on their Facebook page; this is used to tell potential fliers of any major changes to the Airline. Things like seating upgrades, specials, and they also do give away contests where you can win anything from discounted flights to free trips. JetBlue’s attention to twitter takes 6 people from their corporate communication department to monitor the page from the start of the day to the end of the day. It is this constant monitoring that makes their use of twitter so successful and efficient.

With six people whose jobs are to monitor a twitter page and JetBlue’s other social media presence, there is a good amount of manpower being used. How effective is this in terms of boosting profits for the company? An interview with Marty St. George the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Commercial at JetBlue reveals how important this is to the company whether or not the presence on social media sites is directly related to sales or not. “The utility is not what it does to the bottom line but how it works as a marketing tool, real-time customer feedback is a gift.” Marty realizes that not only is he building JetBlue’s brand image with his use of Twitter, but is also building brand loyalty, which is how you increase in profit. Marty goes on to talk about how JetBlue, being a successful company, is getting bigger and bigger everyday. How can they go about staying small and holding onto the customer service values that the company was built on? The answer for JetBlue was social media: “One of the things that has been a factor in our pursuit and embrace of social media is our customer base, JetBlue has a customer base that skews more affluent, younger, and much more tech-savvy than the traditional airline.” While Marty is not quite sure what the next steps are for JetBlue, he knows they will include the use of new technologies and social media to reach their fliers.

While it may seem that JetBlue has had a loving relationship with social media, they have been at the other end of the rope. On August 9, 2010 a flight from Pittsburg to New York was landing, where a flight attendant by the name of Steven Slater was involved in an altercation with an unruly customer who accidentally hit Slater in the head with her luggage. Slater then replied by yelling, “I’m done” and taking a beer before he slid down the emergency exit of the airplane. The event went viral and Time listed it at number two in the Top Ten Travel Moments of 2010. The company decided that they needed to respond quickly, yet not so quickly that important were facts are ignored. They waited a few days before first responding on its blog, BlueTales, and with a memo to its employees. The memo released by CEO David Barger stated, “Let me just say this: JetBlue will always seek to prosecute people who physically harm or threaten to harm a crew member or customer. Period.” Slater was put on suspension from the company and then later removed.

JetBlue despite having a viral negative message has not focus on the past but instead looks toward to the future, continuing to develop their online presence and think of new ways to conveniently use social media for their fliers.

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4 comments

  1. JetBlue handled the situation in the best way they could, not over-doing it and not just ignoring the issue either. It was clearly an accident as well as the employee’s reaction is something that all companies have to deal with and it isn’t something they can really take credit for because it was the individual’s fault, unless the company in the past has treated employees with disrespect and old methods of management and communication.

  2. They may not see results sales straight away but it pleases the audience more and helps show them that the company cares. JetBlue have definitely made their mark on social media by leading within their industry for followers and giving out constant information to the public. It helps a lot when a company has been in a bad situation like JetBlue was, they learnt from this and now know that putting out the right message is critical. Such social media applications like Twitter are a great way to get the message out to the right people quickly, which is why companies put so much time and effort into it.

  3. To have effective social media presence, man time is necessary. If minimal amount of time is used for the company’s social media outlets, there is no true purpose for them to have it at all. For large companies that means that there needs to be specific positions that are dedicated for individuals to work solely on the social media aspect of the company. This is not a foreign concept to businesses outside of the airline industry as well. Vance Publishing, for example, is a large media company that has a position, called Social Media Marketing Manager, for an individual develop social media strategies as well as implement/measure their social media. Even a company high in the media industry which is keen on using social media to it’s advantage needs to delegate specific responsibilities to individuals for the sheer time-consuming aspect of it.

  4. I can see why JetBlue has the largest amount of Twitter followers out of all other airlines. By offering promotions like free trips and discounts, more and more people begin to follow them just for a chance at winning. Especially since flights are so expensive, having the chance to win something that most people don’t get to experience can be life-changing for that person. Responding to negative press is important, as well. I think JetBlue replied gracefully. They stood their ground, letting the people know that they do not tolerate violence, but they also did not say anything negative about the person.

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