Twitter has simply exploded into the social media sphere in the past three years and the medium now has millions of users all over the world. However, for us at JetBlue, the best thing about Twitter is our ability to communicate with our passengers in a ‘human way’ and to keep up with the real-time pulse of our operations from the words of our customers.
With a scan of brand mentions, anyone, from leadership to front line, to the customers themselves, can get a small sample of how we’re doing at that very moment.
This makes it a really powerful tool that allows us to make minute changes to hone our processes and deliver an even better experience. This is an opportunity that you simply do not get through other media, as they are not instant.
As Twitter is targeted at a mobile audience, we realised that mention of our brand was popping up from customers actually in airports or preparing to purchase a ticket online. When we realised that we could potentially help to inform them and recover their experience before any potential damage was done, we quickly began reaching out to tweeting customers with advice or guidance.
Engaging on an individual level
This was just one part of the steep learning curve that we have been through with Twitter. From the beginning it became clear that we had to earn the right to talk about new routes to our audience.
When we first started using Twitter in May 2007 we pushed route and sales announcements. This failed horribly until we actually began engaging with customers on an individual level.
With the vibrant community of followers we’ve built through dialog and collaborative growth, we’re thrilled to see customers asking us for route announcements and helping to spread the message to their followers. In recent months one of the more common questions we have received is: ‘When are you going to start flying to/from my favourite airports?’ This is a wonderful problem to have.
Collaborating with airports online
It’s also gratifying to see more and more airports and tourism authorities getting involved in Twitter.
In one instance, when engaging our audience to talk about their Richmond Virginia travel tops in our regular ‘Tuesday Travel Tips’, Troy Bell, director of marketing & air service development for Richmond International Airport rallied his own community to help support the idea through his Twitter account @flack4RIC. We were able to develop a really robust amount of travel tips, and a great deal of excitement about an often-overlooked vacation destination.
We have evolved in many ways since we first started using Twitter, and have grown from a single individual based in the Corporate Communications team to a working group that spans Corporate Communications, Marketing and Customer Commitment. We feel there is great advantage to having those subject matter experts assist directly from the various business units.
Looking ahead, I believe we will see increasing involvement and engagement between customers and crew members through various social media channels. Social media has the potential to connect the humans behind the brand with their customers – and our responsibility from a corporate standpoint is to make sure our people have the best resources to represent us responsibly.
• Monitor first – Twitter is a great ear to the ground for operations
• Engage with audiences – you will be surprised at how willing your audience is to help build your presence
• Inform – be ready to answer even the most seemingly minute questions with backing resources
• Add value – it’s a good opportunity to get important information out to your audience. Engaged readers will even help you spread those messages
• Be a human being – Twitter is about humans talking to humans. Prove you’ve got a pulse and a brain
This article is featured in Routes News 2010 Issue 5