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Profile: @VirginAmerica

8 August 2009

A sample of 100 consecutive @VirginAmerica tweets (pulled on July 24th at 6:00 p.m & dating back to June 4th at 3:42 p.m.), demonstrated yet another way airline brands are deriving value from the microblogging infrastructure. Worth noting is that the sample of tweets I reviewed includes those interactions generated by @VirginAmerica’s #dayinthecloud promotion and, in turn may or may not precisely reflect the handle’s “normal activity.” Regardless, it does demonstrate the potential of airlines using Twitter as less of a light CRM tool and more of a promotional tool. Taken together with a search of @VirginAmerica, the feed read like it was percolating from a cocktail party; one where a single guest captured the hearts of all the guests (even if it was for novelty sake).

@VirginAmerica Stats (as captured on July 24th)

Followers: 24,513

Following: 16,218

Follower/Following Ratio: 1.51

Posts: 603 (avg. 2-3 tweets a day; range 0-8)

Account Created: January 2008

Social Media Presence: Twitter, Facebook, Website, Yelp, YouTube, Community

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

Avatar: A

See here for rationale.

Background: A/B

@VirginAmerica’s Twitter background is unique to the brand and is consistent with their current marketing campaign. The handle, however, may benefit from adding links to the number of other social spaces they engage online. It may also find value in a clickable background to help promote such spaces, as well as any new promotions the handle may be involved. In addition, if there is more than one person tweeting on behalf of @VirginAmerica, the background would be the best place to identify them. If not, the bio will do.

Bio: C

@VirginAmerica’s bio may benefit from additional keywords that both differentiate the airline and peak the interest of potential followers. A great place to find such ideas is within the Virgin America itself – the “Our Difference” page to be exact.

Transparency: D

Who’s tweeting for the handle? They only indication that there is a human behind the handle is the use of first-person in many of the @replies. The handle may benefit from polling its followers to ask if identifying the person(s) tweeting on behalf of @VirginAmerica would add value to their relationship with the handle.

Website: Undecided

Why not link to the community page?

@VirginAmerica’s Semantics: @Replies, RTs, DM Requests, #Hashtags

@Replies (53/100)

As alluded to earlier, @VirginAmerica isn’t consistently around and interacting with people on Twitter. Rather, it engages just enough (in the sample) to keep people interested. If the handle was more consistently interacting with people on Twitter, it may strengthen their relationships with the brand, and in turn their brand preference.

RTs (17/100)

VirginAmerica consistently uses RTs as a back-patting mechanism. The handle may benefit from using it as such on occasion. However, selectively RTing those tweets that add value to others feeds (i.e. by sharing a link to a good article or picture of good/informative experience), may prove most beneficial.

DM Requests (13/100)

Just as the other airlines, @VirginAmerica sensibly uses DMs to help people on a case-by-case basis.

Hashtags (33/100)

@VirginAmerica consistently promotes the use of specific & relevant hashtags to thread/bucket conversations. From the sample of tweets, @VirginAmerica not only defined some of their hashtags, but also promoted them through their own tweets, @replies and RTs.

Of the airlines I have reviewed on Twitter, Virgin has carried out the most creative and Twitter-unique promotions (@dayinthecloud, @4320LA). The brand’s early embrace of the platform as a promotional tool, albeit not the most sustainable, is a refreshingly original way to instigate excitement and synergy between the brand & the platform.

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 the handle’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 Issue not addressed.

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