Southwest Makes Friends Using Twitter

Since more and more airlines are adopting social media, Twitter in specific, to accomplish things and interact with customers, the fliers are realizing the increasing ease at which they are able to interact directly with the airlines. Southwest Air thinks so, after the 2013 holiday season, the rate in which fliers interact with the industry via social media skyrocketed. This trend will only continue in greater number in the seasons to come. Fliers are realizing how much voice they have in these companies who are almost constantly monitoring their online presence.

By using records that were set in 2012 from the holiday traffic, Southwest has come up with the most frequently asked questions and have posted them on most of their online profiles, and have also prepped responders to respond to these question quickly. In January of 2014 Southwest launched its Listening Center which is powered by Salesforce Radian6, which is a social media monitoring platform that will allow Southwest to engage its customers in almost real time.

Southwest doesn’t stop at using its online presence to reach fliers and potential fliers. In February of 2013, Southwest engaged in a conversation with JetBlue over Twitter. A frequent flier named Phoenix Robles tweeted that “It’s an aviation geek thing, but it SERIOUSLY annoys me when people abbreviate @SouthwestAir as “SW” and @JetBlue as “JB” *….”. This then continued on in a lighthearted conversation between the two airlines. The two airlines continued on in a light hearted conversation over Twitter, throwing around aviation jargon, and making jokes. A third user, Alexa Rae, tweeted both airlines saying, “You guys friends or something?”

 

JetBlue's Reply

JetBlue’s Reply

 

Southwest's Reply

Southwest’s Reply

It’s nice to see that not only are airlines interacting more with the fliers, but also with each other. Interactions like this speak more for the brand of a company than any amount of advertisement can do. In this interaction, we see the respect and lighthearted genuineness that come from both of these companies. I can only hope to see more interactions like this in the future.

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4 comments

  1. I think the interaction between the brands is really intriguing and refreshing for consumers to be able to view and see that behind a brand there is people. This is a really subtle way to bring that attention to the company without trying hard at all, making it look way more organic and authentic to the audience. Swell read !

  2. I like the idea of the listening centre in which they can respond to customers very quickly because some issues when it comes to flying need urgency. Its good to see airlines knowing that connections can be a big thing within their industry and I think its pretty funny how they ended up in a conversation over twitter. It definitely speaks out when companies are willing to communicate with anyone, even competitors. It helps their brand image and like you said we see the respect and lighthearted genuineness that comes from both of these companies, which is a promotion in itself!

  3. The main use of Twitter for airlines seems to be to talk to customers, but the social media can be used for more. I really enjoy how South West and Jet Blue use social media, Twitter to be exact, to converse with one another. Those outside the business do not normally see the competition participating in light hearted conversations as if they are friends. When that one tweeter, Alexa Rae, asked Jet Blue and South West if they were friends, South West’s response was sassy and something for customers, fans, and followers to connect to. It creates another dimension to the airlines and reminds everyone that they are more than just a company, they are people too.

  4. It’s great that Southwest compiled a list of frequently asked questions and posted it on their Facebook site. Since people are so accustomed to social media and are more familiar with that social environment, rather than searching through Southwest’s page and trying to find the frequently asked questions section, they are more likely to appreciate the ease. That’s really all consumers want, is to be able to easily find what they’re looking for. Also, the idea of the real-time Salesforce Radian6 is so effective. People get results directly after they ask their questions, which shows how tuned in the company is with its customers.

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