Southwest Airlines Wants to “Friend” You

Posted January 29, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

SouthwestOnFacebook Tell me, do you tweet? Perhaps, instead, you flickr. Or are you a YouTuber? A Facebooker? A MySpacer? Maybe you’re just, oh, say, familiar with blogs. (Ding-ding-ding!) How new media-savvy of you. Tell me, while you’ve been out there, navigating through cyberspace, have you happened to come across a little company called Southwest Airlines? If you haven’t, you will and they’ll make sure of it.

Southwest is one of the only airlines to have taken advantage of the unique marketing opportunities that Web 2.0 has to offer. Regular posts on YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and LinkedIn plus a rather popular in-house blog has put this airline right in front of your eyes in places you might not normally expect to see it. They’d love to get their cute little icon nestled right in there on your friend list, between those thumbnail pics of Katie from high school and Jim from college. And, as the end result, they’re hoping for a hefty dose of popularity and some bottom line-helping bucks.

The operating premise is that the better you get to know a brand and the more personal it feels to you, the more likely you are to spend your money on it. When one brand of toothpaste makes a concerted effort to introduce you to the names and faces behind each squeezable tube, they think you’ll feel more solidarity to this brand than to another.

In this economy, whether you can (or would) get to the point of saying, “Well, Airline X has this flight for a little cheaper, but I just love Southwest! I’m going to book with them!” is a make-or-break budget question. I’ll be honest with you: I’m a sucker for experience. I’d rather shop at a store that has a nice atmosphere and salespeople I enjoy talking with than somewhere with the same merchandise and a slightly less-pleasing ambiance. Maybe that makes me a fool. Maybe that’s what’s making me broke. Anyway, I’m fairly certain that if I came across enough of Southwest’s social media marketing, I’d probably fall in love: Hook, line, and sinker.

We know two things for sure: the first is that Southwest is one of the most beloved airlines in the industry. And the second? That Southwest is doing some award-winning relationship-building work. The question is: To what degree are the two related? How much does getting to know your airlines matter to you? Southwest is betting: A lot. Leave a comment below and let me know.

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Reader Comments

I wnat an air travel community on Mixx... can you make one for us?

Posted on January 29, 2009 at 08:52 PM by JoeBlow

I understand that hard times have hit everyone, and yet, Southwest continues to help with the price of flights. Thank you!
Yet, I have a problem; I run a non-profit organization that works with kids who have been in trouble. Some of them turn around and become upstanding citizens. We have one right now. He has received a scholarship, but we are having to fly him to Ontario, CA every two weeks and our agency is really feeling the financial pain. I am wondering if it is possible for Southwest to help us? By the way, if you look up my name, you will see that I fly Southwest frequently. B. Baker

Posted on May 09, 2009 at 12:59 AM by Becky

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