Social Media For the Win

I recently ran into a snag with a reservation on American Airlines. I had booked a flight and put it on hold for the free 24-hour hold but when I went to purchase the ticket, I was told that my reservation had been cancelled because another ticket had already been reserved in my name.

After venting about it to my coworker, we decided to try and get the issue resolved via twitter. Within minutes of our tweet, one of my coworker’s followers had re-tweeted it and American Airlines had responded to both of them asking that I send them a direct message. So I did. And my problem was fixed. And I was happy.

You see, what American Airlines did was use social media as a real-time customer service portal. It saved me time and they saved face on a matter that could have gotten ugly. It took all of five minutes to get the issue sorted and I thanked them via direct message and directly to their twitter account. It was a win-win-win scenario. I got my problem fixed (win). They had a happy customer (win) and they got their happy customer to tweet about it in a positive light (win again).

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Social media, when used correctly, can really drive business and help with the bottom line. This (semi)recent Forbes article explains it pretty clearly. Social media is everyone’s job at a company. Yes, you may have one person dedicated to getting content out on social media, but the strategy and content creation needs to go hand in hand with a company’s overall marketing strategy. You can’t rely on one person to do it all.

You may recall that American Airlines recently did a full overhaul of their brand. And it seems that social media was clearly a large part of the strategy. And a good part. They use social media (not just twitter) as a forum for interacting directly with consumers – sometimes they post quizzes and fun facts and sometimes (like in my case) they offer customer service stewardship. This didn’t happen haphazardly. This happened because the marketing team made sure to include that as part of their overhaul. And so far it seems to be working – not just because of what happened with me; take a look at their online presence for yourself.

What are your thoughts on social media and its role in the marketing mix? Do you have any stories to share about your experiences with a company and its social media interactions?

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Digital Marketing 101

When I first started this blog, I was determined to make something of it. But I was unsure about where I wanted it to go. Thanks to my digital marketing class this past semester, I have had the chance to share my thoughts on topics relating to what I work on and what I am studying. As our last assignment this semester, we were asked to list the top five key points that would help a person who is not so well-versed in digital marketing. While there are many intricacies to digital marketing, the following five points provide a good big picture.

1. Know your audience. Knowing who your audience is and what they like helps guide the direction of your digital marketing plan or campaign. Ask yourself who is buying your? Why are they buying it? What websites do they frequent? The more insights you can get, the better picture you can paint of your consumer.

2. Have a strategy. Just like you would with traditional marketing, you need to have a strategy. You can just start using social media willy-nilly or advertising all over the internet. Know what the plan is and use it as the guiding force for your campaign or overall digital branding endeavor.

3. Set goals. Measure. Think about what you are looking to get out of your digital marketing strategy. Do you want to increase overall brand awareness or number of shares for a specific campaign? In marketing, we call these key performance indicators (KPIs). Having these in mind, you can measure your progress and identify areas for improvement, which can lead to better planning for future goals.

4. Make it relevant. This goes back to knowing your audience. Don’t talk about things that wouldn’t interest your audience. Also, don’t start a conversation or advertise about a topic if it doesn’t somehow tie back to your product or service.

5. Social media and digital marketing are not synonymous. This is where people get thrown off. Yes, social media is a part of digital marketing, but digital marketing is not just knowing how to use social media. Digital marketing includes online advertising  (i.e. Adwords and AdSense), website optimization, and email marketing among others. Use the array of tools available to you and don’t just think you’re covered with social media.

What are some key takeaways you recommend? Is there anything you have come across that works or doesn’t work for you?