July 20, 2010
US Airways ran a trivia contest on Twitter yesterday to celebrate their #1 ranking in May for on-time performance, baggage handling and customer satisfaction. Personally, I was excited to participate because they were giving away three $300 US Airways gift cards and well, I like to travel.
I missed the first question but participated in the second trivia question. I responded swiftly but realized I was the fourth person to tweet the correct answer and they were awarding the prize to the first correct answer. Oh well, I tried. But then it got interesting.
US Airways took almost an hour to announce the winner for the second question. I then checked out the Twitter page of the person who responded first and realized why there was a delay. In my opinion his tweets were inappropriate. He was making fun of people who were questioning his answer to the trivia question. He was making fun of US Airways and what he would do with his gift card. Then his tweets turned sexually graphic. I understand our right of freedom of speech and believe people should invoke that right. However, what does a company like US Airways do when something like this happens?
I was very curious how US Airways was going to act or respond. They did so quietly. Announcing the winner but not linking directly to his Twitter feed (like they did for the other two winners).
US Airways used Twitter yesterday to engage with their followers, elicit excitement for their brand and promote their recent successes. Considering the amount of people who participated by tweeting answers to their trivia questions and the amount of new followers they picked up yesterday, I can only imagine they deemed the Twitter contest a success. US Airways also uses Twitter as a customer relations tool and I think they are utilizing Twitter in the best way they can.
It's a very real possibility that you weren't even aware of the contest I am referring to. However, as social media has proved time and time again, this particular contest has people thinking about using social media as a marketing and public relations tool and the challenges many people and companies face when taking their messages and brands to such a public and uncontrollable environment.
How would you have handled the situation US Airways faced yesterday? Do you think US Airways handled it well? What would you have done differently?
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