Thursday, August 23, 2012

B2B Social Media Overview - Southwest Airlines Social CRM Tactics

There is no question that social media is changing the way that we, as individual consumers, consume information and media.  We have entered a stage in the evolution of media where businesses can no longer dictate what messages we see.  We now dictate when we want to watch a video, where we get our information, and who we rely on for information.  We now look to our network to help us make consumption decisions.  So, from a big business perspective, how should social media be treated?

I recently listened to a Q&A session with Paula Berg of Linhart PR and Southwest Airlines.  She had some very interesting insight to provide on the concept of social media for big business.  As the creator of own of the most prolific social media campaigns to date, Paula has first hand knowledge on how to implement a social media program from a big business perspective.  The following are some notes I found provocative from the session:

Humanize your Business
  • The reality show Airline was created by Southwest to provide a connection with Southwest Airlines employees
    • Job applications tripled after each show
    • Revenues increased 7% during the show's 4 years (attributed to the show)
Organize Your Social Media Strategy and Tactics

  • The Nuts about Southwest Airlines website replaced the show after the show ended
    • The Southwest marketing team picked 30 employees, told them to write when they like, and make it personal
    • The blog is the anchor of Southwest's social media platform.  All the social media channels flow from the blog.

  • Social Media Tactics
    • Southwest uses Flickr, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts
      • Each channel is assigned to one person to own
      • Southwest marketers are also active on aviation blogs and forums
  • SEO
    • Produce timely content and write about hot issues
    • Content production helps to Influence search, draw readers, lead discussions
  • Facebook
    • Facebook was used for promotion, fans would fall off after a promotion ended, but ultimately rose due to the marketing tactics
  • Twitter
    • Twitter was used beginning in July of 2007.  Southwest was an early adopter of Twitter
    • Promotions were announced via Twitter
    • Fare sales via Twitter and other social media channels has lead the biggest traffic days in Southwest website history
  • Youtube
    • Youtube was used to promote rapping flight attendant, customer service, aviation lessons, etc.
    • Youtube posts, both by Southwest and customers, has accounted for huge PR gains and web traffic
Case Studies
  1. Gary Kelly announced the change to assigned seating via blog post
    1. The blog post received thousands of negative comments about it
    2. By tracking comments and feedback, Southwest to change course and averted a big disaster
  2. A small(er) sized blog posted a customer complaint 
    1. The complaint to a San Diego local news report, and Today Show appearance. 
    2. Southwest chose not to participate, and was unable to impact the conversation
  3. A couple of customers were kicked off of a Southwest flight and banned from future flights
    1. The customers posted a video Too Pretty to Fly on Youtube
    2. The story was picked up by CNN and other outlets
    3. Southwest responded on their blog with a logical presentation of why the "rowdy" customers were banned.  This response mitigated the damage, and turned the tables on the conversation.
  4. Southwest was cited by FAA for safety violations
    1. They used their blog to communicate what Southwest was doing, etc. to fix the issues
    2. Katie Page and other blog professionals were revered for their blog communications
Measurement and Reporting to Executives
  • Capture and measure by day, week, month and year
  • Capture Ah-ha moments
  • Tell a story
  • When reporting, utilize
    • Graphs
    • 2-3 Case Studies
    • Use gut instincts, but use Radian6 and free online tools to supplement
  • PR
    • Do PR for your efforts. Make your efforts known
    • Reach out to reporters, news outlets, etc.
Lessons Learned
  • Educate Leaders and Employees
  • Get an Executive Sponsor
  • Engage positive people first
  • Don't be afraid to join conversations
  • Be decisive, and act fast
  • Don't rely on Numbers alone
See for Yourself
I've just captured the highlights of the interview and Q&A session with Paula Berg.  However, if you'd like to view it in its entirety, feel free to view it below:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Creating Video Content and Hustling Your Site to Success

There are two things that I keep hearing over and over again when it comes to inbound marketing.
  1. Content is King
  2. It's all about video
I believe in both of them.  I was just talking to my old pal Q, from Keysnkeys, the other day about this very topic.  We were discussing how easy it is to get sucked in focusing on the little technical details of your blog like sharing buttons, sidebars, cool little gadgets, etc.  While these things are important, they aren't nearly as important as content.  People will come to your website for your content.  They will stay for your content.  They may poke around and "like" a page because of those little widgets, but ultimately, they want to read and see interesting things.
That's what today's topic is all about.  It's called Passion-Inspired Video and Other Creative Content (GF 502), and it's taught by Gary Vaynerchuck.  Gary is the owner of Wine Library TV, and the author of Crush it!  The notes from this lecture are funny, because he's kind-of a rambler.  However, he is extremely passionate, and extremely high energy.  I really love the passion he puts into his interviews and lectures.  If you take away nothing, take away the fact that passion propels.  Gary also gives great sound bytes, so I put these notes in bullet form.  Go ahead and view the video at the end to see his lecture first-hand.  The following are takeaways from a recent lecture of his on Hubspot:


  • We are all in the "eyeballs" business.  The goal is to get eyeballs on your stuff.
  • Video is the new word of mouth.  It's easily viewed, and easily shared.
  • Platforms
    • Lookout for Facebook as a video platform. There is some serious upside if they get it right.
    • ustream and istream are THE big platforms right now. 
    • Also bliptv and tumogile are other platforms to research
  • Mobile is going to change video. 
    • As phones get more powerful, and cameras get better, mobile video is going to explode in popularity
  • We are having the same debate now about social media that we did about websites in 1995. Live it, breath it, and start investing your time in it.
    • The ROI isn't there yet. It's so new that it's hard to prove. This is going to work. Trust in it.
  • It takes devotion
    • Buidling winelibrarytv took18 months to build, at 5 days a week, spending all day in forums and blogs promoting the website.
  • 1 case study is all you need - "once 1 person wins, that means everyone can win"
  • See Dell, Southwest Airlines, the makeup chick on youtube, winelibrarytv. Do you need more proof?
  • "There is no such thing as viral video"
  • You can't put a video out there and fall asleep. You have to hustle behind the scene. Remember, 5 days week, all day in forums and blogs when you aren't creating content for your own.
  • Mobile isn't exciting, it's the content that mobile will let us bring with us that is exciting. It's simply a way to bring our computers/tv's with us
  • Every B2B decision is made by a human being. Employees do have their own Facebook accounts. Don't pigeon hold yourself in B2B. Go to C before B if you have to. 
  • Content will always be king. Always make quality content.
  • It's storytelling - Testimonials, corporate environment (cool people at work), anything that creates emotional attachment. These are all things that you can produce content about, that people will relate to.
  • Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees pitcher) has 1 pitch. He doesn't have a bunch of others. He says "let them hit this pitch. Until then, I'll keep using it". You only need to do one thing really, really well to make money.
  • Dailybooth - like a photo booth. This is a cool concept.
  • We're heading into the "thank you" economy. People who appreciate you will give back to you.
  • Customer service and content are the name of the game. Be responsive to your fans and partners.
  • Care - return emails, respond to people. Show that you care!
  • Life first, then business - always

Vaynerchuck quote, "He who cares most wins"