Southwest's 12 Days of Love, User Twit Pics Drive Customer Loyalty

Posted: 07/12/2011

Southwest Airlines is historically known for stewards who will sing happy birthday over the intercom and rack bad puns while the safety overview. The company has taken this warmth online and stayed at the forefront of social media engagement in the airline industry.

Josh Neal, an assistant manager of product marketing at Southwest, recently spoke about the structure of Southwest’s social media department, the reasons behind the airline’s successful social media engagement strategies and why working closely with your legal department is successful to social media success.

With over two million followers – mostly on Facebook and Twitter – Southwest has raised its customer loyalty with a variety of initiatives.

"Users love interacting with us," Neal said. "Anything that’s user generated, they love."

In this vein, the company’s robust social media department – which is integrated across the three main pillars of corporate communications, marketing and customer relations – designs Facebook and Twitter events to engage users in this manner. The company’s "12 Days of Love" initiative on Twitter spans the 12 days leading up to the Holiday season. Each day, the company Tweets out a theme, such as "send us a picture of your pet in holiday attire," and the user who Tweets the most appropriate response each day gets a $1,000 gift card.

Southwest also smartly ties in philanthropy – at the "heart and soul of Southwest" – into its social media efforts – a company trait that increasingly drives customer loyalty. Last year, through an exclusive deal with Facebook, Southwest donated plane tickets to the Make a Wish Foundation each time someone checked into a Southwest airport on Facebook.

Check out the full interview with Neal above.

Contributor: