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Prefatory Review of @AlaskaAir on Twitter

13 July 2009

@AlaskaAir Twitter Home Page This past Friday morning I captured 100 consecutive tweets from @AlaskaAir in order to conduct a preliminary analysis of its Twitter presence.

From the random sample of tweets – posted between June 22nd at 7:00 a.m. and July 10th at 6:05 a.m. – I derived a number of insights relating to @AlaskaAir’s public Twitter page and its usage of Twitter semantics (i.e. @replies, RTs, #hashtags & requests for DM).

@AlaskaAir Stats (as captured on July 10th)

Followers: 9,109

Following: 6,591

Posts: 586 (avg. 5-6 tweets a day; range 0 – 10)

Account Created: December 2008

@AlaskaAir’s Twitter Page: Background, Avatar, Bio, Transparency, Website

Background: B*

The imagery of @AlaskaAir’s profile page is clean, relevant, & integrated with the larger “North of Expected” campaign. That is good, however, the background may benefit from a visual call-out to the individuals tweeting for the handle (see @wmdev,@lonelyplanet).

Avatar: A

The smiling Eskimo is a solid choice for the @AlaskaAir avatar. The image, also used on the tails of Alaska Air planes, is a unique & friendly visual identifier for the brand on Twitter.

Bio: C

With the understanding that Twitter bios play an important role in search, as well as gaining active followers, the AlaskaAir bio should be revised. Instead of using precious characters to identify who the tweets are powered by (which should be done in the background as noted above), the bio should strive to integrate important keywords (maybe “customer service”) and offer potential followers an idea of what they might expect from following @AlaskaAir.

Transparency: B

@AlaskaAir is transparent with who is tweeting for the handle in real-time by calling-out who is “currently listening” in their bio. However, this is not helpful if people are reading through the historic feed, or if they are using a 3rd party app. Thus, followers do not know when one person picks up & another drops off. To address this, the handle may benefit from consistently making use of the carrot symbol “^” to identify the person tweeting by their initials. Shout out: Elliott Pesut does employ this tactic on occasion.

Website: B

The @AlaskaAir Twitter page currently links directly to Alaska Air’s homepage. If this is not part of Alaska Air’s SEO strategy, then the handle may benefit from directing their followers elsewhere. Is there an Alaska Air blog that would give people another platform to connect & communicate (see @qftravelinsider)? If not, and directing people to the Alaska Air site is a must, it may be worth surveying the site map for another more relevant/helpful subpage to direct interested followers.

@AlaskaAir’s Usage of Twitter Semantics: @Replies, DM Requests, RTs, #Hashtags

@Replies (59/100)

From the sample of tweets, @AlaskaAir does a good job of responding to people in a genuine and caring tone. 59% of tweets from the sample were @replies, which is a strong indicator of @AlaskaAir’s commitment to using the infrastructure as a way to manage/strengthen customer relationships. Also worth noting, the handle seems to effectively balance the usage of public @replies with private DMs on a case-by-case basis.

Requests for DM Comm (7/100)

@AlaskaAir seems to have embraced DMs much like @JetBlue has (see tweet) – using DMs when addressing more specific & private needs of consumers that don’t need to be broadcast. From the sample, this DM tactic seems to be prudently employed.

RTs (2/100)

There were only 2 RTs captured in the sample of 100 tweets. Though, it is not as important to RT as it is to be RTed, this may be an area for @AlaskaAir to experiment. If the handle begins to RT its followers on occasion, will the handle in turn become more RTed?


@AlaskaAir makes good use of hashtags, but may benefit from using a hashtag directory (like twubs) to define the tags & group the participating tweets. The reason is two-fold: 1) it helps people understand what the hashtag is for/means (i.e. defining acronyms like #ASAGN) and 2) it helps the handle create a unified repository of the tweets using the hashtag (esp. great for when you are compiling answers i.e. for #SEAK).

With these learnings in mind, I believe @AlaskaAir’s presence on Twitter is very good and improving with time. I was only able to nitpick the details because the handle is doing so much right! Without hesitation, I recommend following @AlaskaAir because I have confidence in its embrace of Twitter and its capacity to provide compelling content, as well as real-time customer service.

Please note: The aforementioned Twitter page analysis is subjective and the semantic analysis is not comprehensive or generalizable. Both were simply meant to offer a glimpse into @AlaskaAir’s presence on Twitter without the benefit of any information provided by a 3rd party Twitter Analytics tool.

*Key to Grades:

A Great! Wouldn’t change a thing.
B Good. Would change a couple of things.
C Nothing special. Change most of it.
D Pretty bad.
F Terrible. What were you thinking?


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