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@SouthwestAir Profile

22 July 2009
Next up, @SouthwestAir. This handle has recently gained praise for its swift & informative response on Twitter, as well as it’s day-to-day customer service efforts (Mashable’s 40 Best Twitter Brands**). Broadly, @SouthwestAir not only seems to get customer service right, but also blogging. Thus it should come as no surprise that Twitter has been a natural extension for this intrinsically fun, helpful and quick-to-the-punch brand.

Taking a closer look at @SouthwestAir on Twitter, I pulled a sample of 100 consecutive tweets (beginning on June 29th at 3:20 p.m. and finishing on July 15th at 8:30 a.m.), to derive insight from their Twitter page & their usage of Twitter semantics (i.e. DM, RTs, @replies, #hashtags).

@SouthwestAir Stats (as captured on July 15th)
Followers: 287,947
Following: 8,118
Posts: 2,874 (avg. 5-6 tweets a day; range 0 -30! )
Account Created: July 2007

@Southwest Twitter Page: Avatar, Background, Bio, Transparency, Website

Avatar: A
The @SouthwestAir tail fin works as a Twitter avatar, just as @JetBlue’s and @AlaskaAir’s. Simply said, I’m a proponent of such imagery being used in this capacity on Twitter. I think it’s a visually compelling and effective way to stand out in people’s Twitter feed; it associates the handle’s tweets with the airline brand, as well as the category at-large. Currently, most brands solely rely on logo recognition, without leveraging any iconography unique to the category.

Background: A/B In their Twitter background, @SouthwestAir offers strong contextual information to reinforce the Southwest brand. Their call-out to where people can find them on other social platforms is particularly helpful, but aesthetically, it makes for a more cluttered page. The handle may benefit from some consolidation.

Bio: B Generally, Twitter bios are underutilized in the airline category. Most are using the allotment of 160 characters in their bio to call-out who is “responding/chatting” for the handle (at any given moment). As you see, @SouthwestAir is no different. Beginning with the phrase, “The LUV Airline!” is a good start, however, and the handle may benefit from continuing with another relevant, interesting & search friendly phrase. Note: If there is more than one person tweeting for the handle, they should all be listed in the brand’s Twitter background.

Transparency: A/B @SouthwestAir, like the other airlines I have reviewed, seeks transparency. It does so by calling-out who is “responding/chatting” in the page bio. Only because it seems that @Christi5321 is the person tweeting from the @SouthwestAir handle, it’s o.k. If in fact, there is more than one person managing the handle though, each of them should be identified in the background (as I mentioned above) and should utilize the ^ + initials protocol to associate their respective tweets. Note: This is a recommendation I make for all handles leveraging the platform as a CRM tool, not a news channel or PR outlet.

Website: B Both the company homepage and blog is listed in the @SouthwestAir background, so why is the homepage linked to instead of the blog? The handle may benefit from linking directly to the blog, as it may offer people an alternative and relevant way to engage with the brand. Surprisingly, of all airline brands I have reviewed, @DeltaAirlines is the only Twitter page that links to their blog.

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

@Replies (27/100) @SouthwestAir, from the sample, had a particularly low percentage of tweets using @replies (in comparison to other airlines I have reviewed). This begs the question, is the handle being used more as a news source than a customer service platform? Or, is the handle communicating through DM more than @reply? How does the handle determine who to @reply? Or, are they deleting some old replies from their feed?

Requests for DM Comm (1/100) Though I can not be sure if @SouthwestAir is using DM heavily or not, the sample would indicate that they are using it less than other carriers by the number of times they request to be followed.

RTs (28/100) @SouthwestAir RTs more than any other airline I have reviewed. This may be an effective strategy for @SouthwestAir to spread their content & positive sentiment originating elsewhere (see example). One thing is for sure, the handle uses the RT as a chance to simply give people shout-outs!

#Hashtags (11/100) @SouthwestAir makes good use of hashtags. And, recently the handle has begun to hashtag news updates with #southwest. Although this may not be intentional, it lends nicely to a strategy: hashtag real-time news tweets, so people can choose to have a separate column for the #southwest hashtag and be less likely to miss any important news about their flights/airline ect.

Overall, I think @SouthwestAir is doing something different on Twitter. I recommned people who fly with the carrier, or even another that goes to similar destinations, should follow the handle.

Disclaimer: 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 the handle’s presence on Twitter without the benefit of any information provided by a 3rd party Twitter Analytics tool. **@JetBlue was also listed among Mashable’s Top 40 Twitter Brands.

*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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