What does it mean to be social? How can your business be a social business? We read that “being social” means connecting with our audience, being authentic, and listening to others.
I recently flew to Boston for a conference, and because I was making a stop in Florida on the way home, I flew on three different airlines. The Phoenix-Boston leg was crowded, cramped, and too warm in the airplane. The service. . . well. . . commercial flying just isn’t fun any more.
The Boston-Orlando leg had roomier seats and friendly service. A definite improvment.
But the Southwest Airlines flight back to Phoenix was fun! Once we got in the air, one of the stewards came on the intercom and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”
This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.
Part way home, I looked up to find one of the stewardesses kneeling next to a young girl of maybe 9 or 10 and talking with her. Then she took some of the girl’s papers and walked to the front of the plane to get on the intercom.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to showcase a budding artist that’s on our flight today. Celia has drawn us a marvelous picture. I’m putting it up here on the wall so we can all enjoy it. She and her family just came from the beach — looks like she had a good time!”
This crew was having fun and connecting with people. Airplane flights are generally boring, but the folks at Southwest Airlines know that they can use flight time to reach to their customers and put smiles on their faces.
The final example occured after we landed in Phoenix and were pulling up to the gate.
As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.
Be social to build your brand
You’re reading this story, and so are many, many other people. How many of the people who read this ever fly somewhere? How many people know that Southwest Airlines is the only profitable discount carrier? How many of our readers now think more highly of Southwest Airlines?
Southwest Airlines encourages its flight staff to engage with people, to be social. Your company can be more social, too! Encourage your staff to be friendly, to be authentic, to reach out to prospects and customers like they would to friends.
It’s not just about social media. . . it’s about being social
I know, you thought this article was going to be about Facebook or Pinterest. But they already get enough attention! Making YOUR business more social is simply a matter of creating an environment where people feel they can express themselves, and then encouraging them to do so. Encourage your team to reach out to that prospect or customer and put a smile on their face. To listen, really listen, to them. To give them some extra value.
And by the way, isn’t being social like this far more rewarding than Tweeting?
If you’ve run into any companies that are social like this, please drop me a note in the comments below. I’d love to talk with them and feature them in an upcoming article.