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If you follow Southwest Airlines on Twitter, you’ll never be bored.
In fact, if you were paying attention in 2009, you might have run
across a video of a rapping flight attendant in addition to your
typical updates about routes and flight information. It’s just not your
everyday corporate Twitter account.
That’s because Southwest – led by Christi Day and Paula Berg of the corporate communications
team – has been paying careful attention to how their customers interact with and respond to them
online, and they’ve decided that being fun and personable (in addition to helpful and informative) is
what their customers want from them.
On a given day, Christi uses Twitter to share news and information about Southwest, inform their
customers of flight delays or weather issues, and route potential customer service inquiries to
appropriate internal team members so they can assist.
Southwest also has a popular blog, Nuts about Southwest, that chronicles their adventures in the
world of aviation. There, fans and customers can find anything from information and news about
the airline to videos, photos, and polls. To tap their community, Southwest used their blog as a sort
of informal focus group to ask their customers what they thought about assigned seating. Their
feedback – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – helped influence the business decision the company made
to maintain their first come, first served seating policy.
Listening plays a role for Southwest in all of their social communications. It helps them build
relationships in the blogosphere, get feedback on the content they’re posting on their site, and pay
attention to emerging customer service issues that might require attention.
The rapping flight attendant got traction in the mainstream media, but only after Southwest was
paying attention on Twitter when the video was tweeted by one of their customers after he fil