For Delta Airlines, Twitter isn’t just a forum for promoting their brand in the hopes that a follower will one day do business with them.
It’s also a tool to help passengers when they’re in the middle of a travel-induced crisis.
Sure, its Twitter content serves a marketing mission as well, but Delta goes beyond social marketing by providing customer service to existing, mid-flight customers.
All travelers have had a flight cancelled on them, and all know how stressful things can get when flight plans change at the last minute.
In that situation, if you’re travelling with Delta, the best forum to vent your frustration is the Twitterverse.
There, the airline has customer service representatives responding to anything sent to their @Delta or @DeltaAssist handles,
One disgruntled passenger recently tweeted “@DeltaAssist 715am LGAORD flight canceled, app won’t book me on anything till Sat, 3hr wait for a phone rep. What’s going on?”
The distress call was instantly answered: “If I can assist you in rebooking to another flight, pls follow and DM me your confirmation #. Thx. ^JH”
This is content marketing in it’s purest form — one that the airlines and other consumer-oriented companies are starting to embrace. After all, it’s more important that people actually fly Delta than simply follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.
Sometimes, that timely customer service can salvage an important moment in someone’s life.
Back in May, one Delta passenger who was on the way to his brother’s graduation when his flight was rerouted to another airport because of a mechanical failure with the plane. Understandably furious and a little bit scared, he took to Twitter.
Before things turned ugly, a customer service representative saw the tweet and found a way to switch his flight and get him to the graduation on time. It was a quick response that turned a potentially bad public relations moment into a good story in real time online.
This is a new kind of content that’s uniquely designed for Twitter, and Delta is all over it.
Delta’s aggressive approach to content on Twitter is very helpful for those who need it, but it doesn’t seem to be gaining much of a following.
Its 329,993 followers (about 53,000 on Delta Assist) are dwarfed by JetBlue’s 1.7 million, and the younger, hipper airline publicly states on the top of its Twitter site that it’s not there for customer service.
JetBlue’s Twitter advantage is that it is seen as an alternative way to fly and its customers are simply more likely to be engaged with social media.
American Airlines deploys a similar content strategy as Delta, and it has 375,000 followers.