What is Southwest Airlines’ social media strategy?
Southwest Airlines was an early adopter of social media. After we wrapped up the reality TV series, Airline, on the A&E Network, we felt the need to continue the look “behind the scenes” with our customers. Out of that necessity, the Nuts About Southwest blog was born.
Since 2006, we’ve added our Southwest Airlines personality to Facebook with a fan page, an official Twitter account, Pinterest, YouTube, and Flickr. These tools enable us to share what is happening at Southwest with the world, but more importantly they allow us to hear directly from customers, employees, media, and fans in real-time. This ‘conversation’ is what makes social media so different from traditional forms of communication.
Our Philosophy: To provide Southwest Airlines employees, customers, and fans a voice and a platform to engage in all things Southwest Airlines. To provide outstanding customer service.
Our Goals: To protect the livelihood of the Southwest brand across all media platforms. Maintain the Southwest Airlines ‘FUN-LUVing’ personality across all channels.
Create outstanding multimedia content and distribute to everyone.
Raise awareness of new products and services.
Provide critical information to customers and employees during times of crisis or emergencies.
How big an audience do you have on Twitter?
We have 1.2 million followers.
What kind of tweets prove popular with your followers?
Our customers enjoy receiving a peek behind the scenes at the Southwest operations, they love sharing photos with us of their travels across the Southwest system and participating in contests and fun trivia games.
Does social media play a role in your route development and choice of destinations?
We definitely enjoy seeing suggestions from our fans and followers regarding where they’d like to see Southwest jets landing, but a lot of research and evaluation goes into making those decisions, outside of the social media realm. It’s always a thrill to announce new service via our social media channels, and it’s a wise choice to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get breaking news regarding any new service or schedule announcements.
Do you use Twitter to speak to airports?
Yes, we have great relationships via Twitter with many of the airports we serve. It’s a great way for us to share relevant content with the local audiences. It’s also critical to maintain a great relationship with the airports to advise customers in times of operational challenges.
Do you think someday Twitter and other social media outlets will be the main way Southwest communicates with its customers?
I think Southwest Airlines will continue to go where our customers are. We want to communicate with them on the channels that matter most to them personally. Southwest Airlines will continue to have a high-touch, high-tech mentality when thinking about serving our customers. We believe that people are a key ingredient to the success of our airline, so I don’t see any of our technology-based channels replacing that method of doing business. Instead, I think we’ll continue to put an emphasis on developing both, our online and offline customer service.