I’d just intended for this post to be about SouthWest Airlines stepped up its efforts to incorporate social media into its corporate blog and I thought this is a great time to go over what I think is the future of product-user, 2-way communication of the future.
Click on above image to take you to the blog
Before I continue, let’s step back a bit and understand that corporate blogging per se is NOT the end game in itself. It’s a tool to help users communicate effectively with the various elements of an organization. In a software company like LinkedIn, that means ease-of-chat with our engineers, product managers, etc… and in the airline industry that may mean communication with “Mechanics, Customer Service Agents, Schedule Planners, Executives, Marketing Representatives, Flight Attendants, Pilots, and more.”
I think moving forward every corporate social media portal is gonna have a mix of the following three components with future implementations trending towards multimedia strongly
1. Corporate Blog
SouthWest Airlines’ social media portal takes off
Here are some salient points culled from their old-school press release:
* Over the last two years, the blog’s function has evolved to also serve as a virtual focus group, assisting the Company through crisis and new product launches.
* The blog’s readership continues to grow steadily month-over-month and has more than doubled year-over-year since its inception in April 2006.
* “From the debate over assigned seating to the timeframe in which we release our flight schedules, the passionate comments and opinions shared on our blog have unquestionably influenced several business decisions” says Linda Rutherford, VP of Corp. Communications at Southwest.
* Nuts About Southwest features more than 30 Employee bloggers that represent a mix of Frontline and behind-the-scenes Employees
My favorite part is that they have even included their CEOs LinkedIn Profile – Gary Kelly, although I wish the URL would have his name in it, instead of http://www.linkedin.com/in/southwestairlines. I’d just recommend their starting a group on LinkedIn as well (if they haven’t already). I even InMail’ed Linda about it.
Given that they recently started, I wonder how long they would take to beat Delta in Marketing Nirvana’s Corporate Blog rankings, which I restarted recently.
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