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Bouncing Back from Steven Slater

This post was written by Phil Kam, Cision Analysis’ director of new services who is integrating social media analysis into general PR measurement protocol.

Chances are you’ve heard about Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight-attendant-turned-folk-hero when his response to an unruly passenger was picked up by social media. But what did this mean for JetBlue? Let’s take a look at the implications and response, starting with a quick review of JetBlue’s basic social media analytics over the past 30 days.

  • JetBlue skyrocketed from an average 1,500 mentions per day to 32,000 mentions the day after the incident.
  • The story consumed 80 percent of mentions August 10th, and 60 percent of all collective JetBlue references for the month.
  • However, there were still 6,000 JetBlue mentions August 10th that did not reference Slater, so the incident raised general JetBlue awareness to four times the norm.
  • Good timing: JetBlue announced the return of the popular “All You Can Jet” offer on August 17th. This announcement generated buzz for JetBlue isolated from Slater references.
  • Most negative comments were not specifically at or about JetBlue, but the incident was a good venue for conversations about disgruntled employees or the airline industry, which tended to have an overall negative tone. For example, “Why would he grab those expensive beers when he can grab a whole case for the same amount on the way home?”
  • The economy’s still taking a toll: Even with Slater’s incident just a week prior to the “All You Can Jet” announcement, the special offer generated 17% less buzz than in 2009.

Here’s what was happening behind the scenes from the perspective of Jenny Dervin, director of corporate communications for JetBlue. Look at how quickly and effectively they used their available social media analysis to turn the tide.

“The story generated high positives for the “working class hero” angle, but high negatives for JetBlue in the first 24 hours. Once we posted to BlueTales, our company’s blog, the trend reversed and we saw our positives outpace the negatives. We also saw a steady separation of JetBlue as a brand from the story.

“An interesting side note: We had so much traffic to our BlueTales blog that we are now in the process of moving it to another server so it can handle far more traffic. Luckily, many websites pulled the post into their sites, so anyone unable to get through to BlueTales could easily find the company’s response on a number of other sites, from Fast Company to Huffington Post.”

Tags : social media

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