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Southwest Sees Rewards from Social Media

IndianaChamberAccording to most frequent flyers I know, Southwest is the only major airline that "gets it right." Seems air travel isn’t the only concept the company understands, as it receives kudos for its social media efforts from Ragan. Here’s an excerpt, but I’d recommend you read the entire piece to see if your company can benefit from Southwest’s approach:

On social media, behave like regular people.

Too often, brands appear stiff on social media sites. Not the case with Southwest—its tweets and status updates are brimming with personality. To that end, Moffat stresses the importance of being real on social media.

"You should sound like you’re talking to a person," she says.

One way Southwest manages to sound human is by tapping its employees to be voices for the airlines. After Southwest redesigned its blog about a year ago, it recruited employees to tell stories on the blog. The social media team chose 30 people-flight attendants, pilots, mechanics and more-armed them with Flip cams, and let the authors use their voices to tell stories.

Southwest also lets employees create local Facebook pages to connect with their communities. The company trains employees interested in managing a local site and allows them to be creative in their approach. It does check in on them to help determine which strategies work.

Moffat says it’s important for companies to foster the unique qualities of their employees when tapping their voices. The approach has paid off for Southwest. "Customers embrace our quirkiness," she says.

Understand that transparency isn’t just a buzzword.

If there’s a situation that Southwest feels its audience should know about, the company will "send out a statement and post it on Twitter and Facebook so people know we’re handling it," Moffat says. "It’s better to be proactive than reactive."

She adds that Southwest strives to respond to as many customers as possible via social media, especially when a customer has a problem or question.