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Its a Saturday night, comedian/actor/director Kevin Smith has just boarded his flight on Southwest airlines ready to take flight. Minutes later Smith, who is a frequent Southwest flyer, is asked to leave the flight due to his weight and escorted off the plane immediately. Within a matter of minutes, Smith’s experience is shared with his 1.6 million twitter followers and is National news by Sunday morning. The series of events that took place, while an extreme example, show strike fear in businesses across the land. One of the top brands in any industry, a brand that took a decade to build through strategic PR moves….tarnished in a matter of minutes.
THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Who is watching your brand?
Think about all the investments (both time and money) in understanding how the general public views their brand /products / services and neglecting the unbiased opinions being shared online. In the case of Southwest Airlines, their team was alert and responded immediately on all mediums to Kevin Smith and the 1 million followers they have on Twitter:
“@ThatKevinSmith hey Kevin! I’m so sorry for your experience tonight! Hopefully we can make things right, please follow so we may DM!
Hey folks – trust me, I saw the tweets from @ThatKevinSmith I’ll get all the details and handle accordingly! Thanks for your concerns!
I read every single tweet that comes into this account, and take every tweet seriously. We’ll handle @thatkevinsmith issue asap
I’ve read the tweets all night from @thatkevinsmith – He’ll be getting a call at home from our Customer Relations VP tonight.
@ThatKevinSmith Ok, I’ll be sure to check it out. Hopefully you received our voicemail earlier this evening.
@ThatKevinSmith Again, I’m very sorry for the experience you had tonight. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.
@ThatKevinSmith We called you on the number you had on file in your reservation. If you prefer a different number, please DM me. Thanks!
Our apology to @ThatKevinSmith and more details regarding the events from last night – http://cot.ag/96KHC7 #Southwest“
Southwest also used their Media site: http://www.swamedia.com/ to issue statements to the general public about the occurrence. This public response was also followed by private and personal responses to Kevin Smith. Whether it was the right response, the most important piece was that Southwest was monitoring their Brand and thereby able to react immediately versus having a bigger surprise come Monday morning.
In some of the following posts, we will cover the next steps that occur… damage control!!
Here are some great tools available for monitoring your brand:
Google Blog Engine: http://blogsearch.google.com/
Blog Digger: http://www.blogdigger.com/index.html
How Sociable: http://www.howsociable.com/
Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts