Tweeting About American Airlines' Social Strategy

Social Media
Customer Experience
American Airlines has developed a winning social strategy that sees the company interacting with its customers on different channels and offering added value.

Social media might have been born out of humans' need to communicate with friends, to remove geographical boundaries, and share information with loved ones. But it has long moved on to become an important tool for organizations, and the more savvy ones are leveraging it to interact with their customers.As we illustrated in this article, American Airlines is one of these forward-thinking organizations which is maximizing the power of social interactions to the extreme, building a following over different channels.

On Tuesday, Jonathan Pierce, the airline's director for social communications, joined us for a 1to1 Media Tweet Chat to further discuss American Airlines' social media strategy. In case you were not able to join us for the event, here are Pierce's replies to some of our questions:

1to1 Media: Social media has become a necessity for organizations. Why is it so important for @AmericanAir in particular?
Jonathan Pierce: Social offers @AmericanAir a way to connect with customers at every stage of their trip; before, during and after travel.

1to1: In which ways is your social strategy helping you interact with customers differently?
JP: For our customers, social at @AmericanAir means convenience, customer service, and connection with the brand.

1to1: Social media is not just for conversation, but also to help customers. Can you speak about your social care processes?
JP: The team at @AmericanAir offers 24/7 social customer service with a dedicated team connected to each department across the company. The @AmericanAir social customer service team assist with a range of inquiries from re-booking to airport or in-flight assistance.

1to1: Your social media team is made up of people from reservations and customer relations. Why did you take this approach?
JP: We find an integrated team allows for efficient, accurate response no matter what or when customers ask.

1to1: How does this strategy facilitate the sharing of information with the rest of the organization?
JP: We consider each group our client, and share insights and feedback with them regularly & in real-time.

1to1: How do you share insights with the rest of the organization?
JP: Depending on the insight, it either happens in real-time via email or phone or after the fact via meetings and regular reports.

1to1: Social interactions also alerted you to some questions that customers were asking which led to the video series. How are the videos helping create a conversation about American Air?
JP: Our business can be complex to understand. We saw recurring questions and addressed them via video. When people view the videos, they share with friends for novelty of our approach and the information within.

1to1: Social had a part in American Air's new visual identify. What was the most important role that social had?
JP: Yes, but broader than that, social consistently has a role across American's marketing and communications. Social helped @AmericanAir share a lot of info quickly, and gave us an immediate understanding of reaction.

1to1: You mention that success in social depends on having the right data in hand and being able to make sense of it. How do you leverage data?
JP: My advice is focus on data that helps tell your story, and use the same metrics your client group uses. Data drives our decisions, from staffing to content strategy to strategic investment in social.

1to1: Can you share any future plans to leverage social channels?
JP: @AmericanAir continues to experiment with short, high impact video on forums like @Vine and @Instagram.

1to1: @Jonnorp, what advice can you offer companies that struggle in creating an effective social strategy?
JP: Begin by listening; your customers will tell you want they want to know to get you started.