On Friday I sat with business executives from several states as the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) - Supplier Board of Governors met here in Des Moines. It was great to have them here and give me a chance to show off our city. (That's Vernon Schmidt, light blue shirt, from the FEMA office, go ahead click on the photo to see...we'll wait, talking business with us. Thanks for coming by Vernon!)
Part of what we talked about centered on Social Media and why we encourage our clients to use things like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. To a person, the folks in this meeting thought I was speaking a foreign language and, as typical of many business types, waved off social media as a waste of time.
I've been following @SouthwestAir for sometime. It's a pretty gutsy move to lay a company like this out to the public. And, I'm sure they don't RT (Re-Tweet) or pass along ALL the comments. But, from what I've seen, these folks "get it" and "use it" very well.
It starts right with their PROFILE: "Airplanes can't type so @Christi5321 is responding/chatting with you." Did you catch that? A person, who is part of Southwest who also has a Twitter account is the person responsible, for this shift at least, for the conversation. Very cool. The 31,592 people that are following @SouthwestAir now know that a REAL person is reading and responding.
The conversation goes from, "WOW, hit the jackpot we're flying WiFi and with the Rapping Flight Attendant. How cool!" to , hints like, "On a full SWA flight sit in row 1, row 9 or row 16 and be first for drinks." And, no these notes are not from @SouthwestAir they are from customers!
Talk about "buy in"!
And...Southwest Air doesn't just ignore people and have a one way conversation they follow nearly 8,000 folks who "Tweet". Now we're talking conversation.
And, that's what this is all about. Instant feedback on your product or service. Instant market research. Instant attention and a "hotline" to the company.
Twitter can be used very badly...or very well. Congrats Southwest!
Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can see our work at www.InsightCubed.com and follow us on Twitter, @MichaelLibbie