social media ropes to skip: C-level blogs FAQ #1 what have Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and Delta Airlines in common?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/05/27 · 1 comment 1 views

in c corporate blogging

    This starts a series of posts about c-level (CEO, CIO, COO) or c-suite blogging. Here we focus on three airlines and their corporate blogs.

    All three airlines use social media channels to reach their target audiences in different ways and they all have had their successes and failuresWe have tried to outline some of the ropes to skip.Getting a handle on these issues will help everyone getting up to speed on these issues, supporting clients or, most importantly, convincing one’s boss about the importance of social media.

    Feel free to pass these around

Recently we have read a few messages in our in-box claiming that airlines blogging is a good thing. Debbie Weil posted:

Corporate Blogging 2.0: Southwest Airlines’ Blog Re-launches

The company uses its blog to point out about the Flickr pics, video, polls, news and more it offers to visitors. Naturally, icons for YouTube, FlickR, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are given at the bottom of the page. Debbie Weil calls this a multi social media platform approach similar to the one Dell uses. We reported here:

Dell – 1st investor relations blog of a major corporation – case study #2

However, some customers are not that happy with their airlines’ and their social media efforts. We will outline some general issues that we think are important. To view the image to the right, please click:

should airlines really use social media and if so how?

a) Social media – having to install a program to enjoy things fully

As the Southwest Airlines’ story shows, social media efforts are difficult to measure most of the time. Getting people to install a small program on their PCs is surely nice especially if the gadget creates traffic (see below right).

The first your alone, Southwest Airlines claimed that with the help of this program it was able to sell more than 100’000 tickets. Hence, this was a successful tool. See the image right here:

Southwest Airlines – latest offers and promotions

Unfortunately, users are not always willing to install a program that runs constantly on their PC whilst they are online and, as a result, it uses up bandwidth as well.

Nevertheless, part of Southwest Airlines’ target audience is those wanting to travel when the price is right. With the help of such a small Java-based program, users can get the latest offers. In turn, they might make some impulse purchases helping the airline to fill left over seats.

Mistake 1 – expecting users to install program to get full enjoyment: Many users are neither tech savvy enough to do this nor may user rights at work give them the possibility to install programs, make it easy on them instead.

b) Social Media – can backfire – learning from mistakes

Jet Blue is a successful start-up carrier that does a few things a bit differently than its competitors. Besides having an interesting blog and website

His CEO write a blog that uses quite frank language – something social media advocates recommend.

Jet Blue CEO blogging

Unfortunately, when things go wrong social media can also be used effectively to voice customer dissatisfaction.

Recently Jet Blue has been in the news as well. These provided a few negative headlines and a law suit as well as described here:

JetBlue made me trade my seat for a toilet, man says in lawsuit

Social media can have a huge negative fall out as well for the company.

The damage to a firm’s reputation can be far worse than what it might be if more traditional media is involved. For starters, anything published on social networks by disgruntled customers will be available for years for people to see:

JetBlue emergency landing – Fox News ‘airliner may land shortly’

In the You Tube clip below, customers had some bad experience with JetBlue being more than 8 hours delayed. Instead of just complaining, the filmed their experience, feelings and statements and put them up on You Tube. It happened during 2006. Unfortunately, this tape is being downloaded as of today – two years after this incident happened.

You Tube JetBlue eight hour delay – passenger tape – what a nightmare

Mistake 2 – expecting to have control over social media: customers will let you know if they are unhappy in more ways than one and often with means that put viral marketing to shame… millions will see it trust me.

c) Does your customer find her way around your social media offerings?

Sometimes too much is just too much. For instance, the Delta Air Lines Blog is an example of a corporation not using the technology effectively. When reading the blog the reader wonders, who is the target audience?

Is this blog intended to reach holiday travellers, frequent flyers or others? Reading the blog it is clear that all of these groups are being targeted. However, can this approach produce the results intended?

Hence, why use my RSS feed to follow this blog since plenty of its posts will not be relevant to a particular target audience. In turn, focus the blog and make sure it provides what your target audience wants.

Mistake 3 – having no clear focus and getting your target audience confused: It is impossible to write and produce a blog for everybody, so just focus on those groups that you find most important. Remember, TV channels are specialized and a sports freak might not be too much happy about watching Masterpiece Theater. Same with blogging, you cannot please everybody, so define and then focus on your target audience.

Bottom Line

Whatever one does with social media, it has to be easy and fast. While Southwest Airlines’ little program gadget is a great success, I do not want to have to install a new program on my computer to take advantage of it. As well, most corporate users will be unable to take advantage of it anyway, since they do not have the necessary user rights to install a program.

Jet Blue Airlines Corp. is classic example for how social media can hurt you for a long time if you make mistakes. Social media has given your customers an opportunity to vent their grief publicly while reaching a huge readership or audience wanting to watch your tape on You Tube.

Finally, having a blog without a clear focus as the one from Delta Airlines might not be the best way to use social media.

Stay tuned, we bring you a follow story on this one within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, sign up to our social media channels listed below.

watch out:
follow us on Twitter be the first to know – subscribe
My.ComMetrics ranking your social media efforts
test drive the social media race course rock the boat – do it smarter

  • mobile

    Some fact witch are given here are very helpful really good and interesting.nnThanks for that…. also the links are very helpful.

Previous post:

Next post: