Joanne Hunter Social Media Case Study BUS 511
Six Flags is a company that uses Facebook and Twitter to interact with its customers. They are using Facebook and Twitter by allowing their fans to become Facebook friends. They have basically set up Six Flags Facebook and Twitter pages and customers can go on there and add them as friends. The goal of having social media pages for Six Flags appears to be to allow customers to interact with each other as well as obtain feedback from customers. The underlying strategy behind the social media connections with Facebook and Twitter fans appears to be having these fans connect in order to get each other excited about Six Flags and to advertise for Six Flags via word of mouth. These sites can also help Six Flags see what their customers are saying about their theme parks and find out what the customers are looking for as well as if they are satisfied customers or not.
These social media sites are an excellent tool for Six Flags to connect with their customers and get their reactions to their newest thrill rides as well as to find out what they are saying about their theme parks. They can use this information to see if what they are doing is working or if they need to make improvements in their parks or rides. Based on the user reaction on their Facebook page, Six Flags appears to be doing something right. Most of the interaction between the friends on their Facebook site was positive, with customers discussing how they could not wait for a new ride to open up at Six Flags and when they had planned their trip.
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This site also seemed to be working as an excellent customer service tool as many new customers were posting questions on Facebook and more seasoned customers were answering them for them. For example, one student had posted [“Is the Six Flags in LA open during weekdays now?”] and another person had answered [“yes’] [Six Flags Facebook, 2010]. So, rather than have to wait until a Six Flags representative could answer the question, the customer was able to get an immediate answer from another Six Flags Facebook friend. The Twitter account was even better customer service avenue as it was more useful for asking specific questions and having them answered quickly. Six Flags representatives were apparently monitoring this site frequently as they were addressing customer service issues and letting customers know when those issues had been resolved.
Facebook can advertise through word of mouth for companies by showing you which of your friends have also friended Facebook. While I was on the site, two of my Facebook friends that like Six Flags pictures came up to show me that they recommend Six Flags. This was a personal touch to advertising that could only be done with social media, and of course, meant more to me than the opinion of someone I didn’t know. Companies use a link to Facebook on their website and other companies can post banners there to advertise, so this is another way to reach a wide range of consumers.
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One of the things that could use some improvement on Six Flagâ€™s Facebook page would be their feedback methods. They seemed to be doing fairly well with their Twitter account as far as responding to problems or questions left by customers, but on Facebook, I really did not see any presence or comments by Six Flags staff. There were a few negative comments left by customers and there was no response made at all by Six Flags. Of course, some comments were just randomly made by people being silly and really made no sense, but there were some negative comments about customer service issues, which were not addressed. A lot of companies have jumped on board with social media by starting up Facebook or Twitter accounts, but are really not sure how to fully use them once they have them.
To address this problem, TechCrunch held a Social Media Summit in April of 2009 with key speakers from Facebook, Twitter and Google to give companies tips in the use of social media for their companies. One of the main tips they gave these companies was to hire some employees who were completely devoted to their social media pages in order to continuously monitor and update these sites. The key speaker at this conference, Jeremiah Owyang, of the Altimeter Group gave some tips companies should follow when conducting social business. Number one was to think about your broader marketing agenda; donâ€™t focus on just one aspect. Number two was to get your company ready for social media before starting it, thatâ€™s 80% of success. Hiring enough people to represent your company on these sites was the main advice given in this area [TechCrunch, 2010]. Six Flags has done a good job of using social media to
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help advertise their company and handle customer service issues. They have also taken advantage of You Tube videos to show how awesome their rides are as well as created a Six Flags blog to keep customers current on theme park attractions. The next step is to start monitoring these pages more frequently and keeping up a continuous presence with their customers. Then, they will be able to realize the full impact social media can have for their company.
References Rusli, Evelyn (2010, May 13) How Facebook and Twitter Are Changing Business Models, Shaping Brand Identity, TechCrunch, retrieved from http://www.TechCrunch.com on January 18, 2011. Six Flags.com (2011), retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/sixflags on January 20, 2011.