Every business has numerous goals - and numerous tools to achieve them. Interestingly, some companies use tools with no apparent goal in mind. They just "do things" because they can. Ever run an ad because you always have? Exhibited at a trade show based on little more than tradition? Yes, marcom can be part of the problem. But not in this case.
Today, when big businesses are crumbling, when the airline industry is in a shambles, during the holiday season when travelers put a tremendous crush on the capacity and infrastructure, and during the winter (in North America) when Mother Nature randomly throws us all curve balls, does United Airlines crawl, sniveling, into a corner and hope it all goes away? Just the opposite!
I have NOT interviewed anyone from UA, so I do not know their goal for using Twitter. But I can tell you that MY goal for following @UnitedAirlines is to be a successful traveler - period. I don't want chatter, I don't need to develop the warm fuzzies, I don't hope to fall in love, I just want to get where I am going with confidence. UA seems to have made this their prime objective on Twitter - then they attacked.
- Huge eastern North America snowstorm days before Christmas 2009.
- Travel disrupted.
- Thousands of flights canceled.
- Ground transportation interrupted.
- United Airlines unleashes a torrent of informative, helpful, linked, insightful, knowledge-based tweets that surely changed plugged-in travelers' experiences.
The link addresses the location, the situation, and the best way to tackle the issue. All from a United Airlines insider.
Here's another (one of several) very traveler-friendly tweet from The Friendly Skies:
Be informed before going to the airport. Check in & sign up for mobile text alerts: http://tinyurl.com/yjt4t7p
Travelling (especially during the holidays) can be very emotional and stressful. To address that, @UnitedAirlines offers Tweets like this:
Ticketed & flexible? Need to confirm for peace of mind? Knowledge=power, online=control:http://tinyurl.com/yjt4t7p
Remember, modern social media and marcom tools are very alluring. But they're not going to help your organization unless you use them properly and effectively. United Airlines shows us an exemplary implementation of Twitter at just the right time.