Frontier Airlines Corporate Communications Director Steve Snyder responds to Andrew Hyde’s post about his unofficial social media outreach on behalf of the airline.

Frontier AirlinesFirst, we certainly value Mr. Hyde’s business and his opinions, and we appreciate the fact that he started his FrontierAir Twitter account without any prompting from us.  In fact, we reached out directly to him shortly after he started blogging about the negative experience that was the tipping point for his starting his Twitter account.  Contrary to some of the views expressed in his article, we do monitor consumer conversations on many social media outlets.  For us, this is probably the most important aspect of the social media explosion:  the ability to listen to what our customers are saying.

At Frontier, we have engaged in social media in very specific, segmented ways, using Facebook and Twitter where there is benefit to both our customers and our company.  Our FrontierStorm and FrontierSale Twitter accounts, for instance, provide specific information to interested parties without the need for round-the-clock monitoring and response.  We also have several initiatives in the works that will extend our reach in this exciting communications channel.  But in times as challenging as these, it is difficult to quickly execute major shifts in communications strategy. We have to look at everything in the context of our current business model.

We know many companies, including major airlines, have moved on to direct engagement with their customers via blogs, Twitter and other social media.  Those companies have also raised the expectations of Twitter users to a level that can sometimes become unmanageable, even with the best of resources. We don’t want to disappoint our customers by introducing a communications tool we can’t properly support. We also have a lot committed to our more traditional customer service tools.  Any introduction of new programs now would end up taking resources away from existing channels.

The segmented approach we’ve taken with Twitter is right for us now. It lets us listen to our customers. And that’s the best use of our current, limited resources.  We know that social media is here to stay, and we will continue to grow our efforts as our company grows. But we want to do so in a thoughtful, measureable, sustainable way.

Steve Snyder
Corporate Communications Office
Frontier Airlines

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5 Responses to To Tweet or not to Tweet, and other thoughts on social media at Frontier Airlines

  1. Ef Rodriguez says:

    Good point. There’s a value in being judicious about when to start participating in any form of social media. As you said, if you can’t “properly support” that effort, it will fail. And public failure is not desirable, so it’s best to take that step only when you have the resources to make it soar.

    Like some sort of noble bird.

  2. Andrew Hyde says:

    Very well done.

  3. Very well put. I think there is a lot to gain from corporations stepping into the social media arena, but I think there is also much to lose if not done “right”. I will be interested in hearing from Southwest when they visit the chapter later this month. The different perspectives on how airlines are using social media will help other Denver communicators make wise choices when it comes to their social media strategy.

  4. Steve – Thanks for your insight into Frontier’s approach to social media. You’re being smart by taking slow steps and by being sure you can support and sustain those steps. It would be interesting to hear more from you about your communications efforts – including social media – going through a restructuring, and the additional concerns and restraints that this brings to your planning and execution. Perhaps a future PRSA session?

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and participating in the conversation. I’m looking forward to flying Frontier in July. :)

    Sarah Rasmussen, APR
    PRSA Colorado Board Member
    Account Supervisor, MGA Communications

  5. Bob Thompson says:

    Steve,

    But what are you doing to try and solve the problem of not being able to support the customer Service/Social Media environment?

    It seems like your comments are kind of defeatist. Other companies are doing it. Figure it out.

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