The August 9 tale of a JetBlue flight attendant “blowing the slide” after apparently blowing his cool on the tarmac at JFK went viral almost before the passengers got their luggage. The next day, we reported on a YouTube ballad about the incident. The majority of media analysts felt JetBlue was sitting on a ticking PR time bomb by keeping silent. Finally, two days later, JetBlue posted 140 words on their blog with a mixture of tongue-in-cheek, self-depreciation and a reference to the cult movie Office Space.
How did JetBlue fare in the court of everyone’s opinion on the social web? Find out after the jump.
Sit back and learn, because JetBlue nailed it. Its response was notable for four things:
- Acknowledging the weirdness of the situation rather than its seriousness may have kept the social media conversation away from topics that could have turned critical of JetBlue.
- Using a tone consistent with the JetBlue brand reinforced the brand as sufficiently resilient to weather this storm.
- Refraining from firing off a quick defense before they knew against what they were defending may have prevented the airline of having to defend itself at all.
- Responding only in their blog almost guaranteed wide distribution across social media.
Alterian used its SM2 social media monitoring and analysis package to uncover what consumers were saying in social media channels and provided its findings to Social Times. The bottom line? Results show that the JetBlue incident created a 460% spike in social media conversations. Yet JetBlue didn’t have a PR nightmare on their hands, as evidenced by a social media sentiment analysis. Most conversations were neutral in tone, with “very positive” mentions outweighing the “very negative.”
Note how quickly the total number declined in about a week. (We won’t comment on how few JetBlue mentions were found before the incident.) And shown in the chart that follows, nearly half the mentions were in microblogs. (This blogger wonders how many of those stories were simply cut-and-paste jobs or robotic relaying.)
Thanks to Alterian for the graphs. And thanks to JetBlue for the lesson in social media crisis management.