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Social Media, The Commerce of Being Nice, and Delta

We live in a world where we communicate and interact with each other through various mediums such as wireless voice, text, email, IM, and social media. The most personal of those mediums is voice-to-voice but increasingly its also the one used less-and-less. As the volume of our interactions increase in non-personal forms, our capacity for personal interactions are reduced. The promise of social media forms has always been to make us more connected, but in many cases the rapid growth of these tools has out-paced our ability to apply them judiciously to get the most from them personally and in our corporate endeavors. The landscape is littered with lives and companies negatively impacted by improper us of these tools and online etiquette (Check out Yelp).

People, leaders, and companies that do “get it” often invest in educating themselves on how to apply these tools for the greater good. Some companies will even have a Social Media and Digital Marketing role, such as our own Erin Moloney. Those that do make this investment understand that ultimately what we say, do, see, and consume in social media and online reflects on our culture and character. Not only is that a reflection of us individually, but also corporately. Sometimes those reflections are intended, sometimes they’re not. No doubt we’ve all seen the negative impact of those unintentional reflections, but rarely do we get to see a positive unintentional character reflection.

The recent story posted on Facebook by Jessie Frank, is a powerful example of how a company’s character is shaped from the top, reflected in the trenches, shared unintentionally, and positively impacting corporate commerce. It seems Jessie’s predicament happened to intersect precisely with one other persons personal character, and a company’s corporate values. The story is one of cancelled and delayed flights, stand-by lists and family time. I encourage you to read Jessie’s story. It’s a reminder that in today’s connected world common courtesy isn’t that common, and we really never know how far the ripple-effect our actions can have. It seems that slowing down and being nice is not just good etiquette, it’s also good business.

Peter Shankman the founder of the Greek Factory said “Create great customer service that shuts down the fire that is going to build on Twitter later.” Clearly the opposite of that is true as well, as exemplified in Jessie Frank’s story. Great customer service can start a fire storm of Commerce as well. The Delta CEO’s random act of kindness and uncommon courtesy has sparked national attention from individuals on Facebook, travel industry, local media outlets in print, and online publications. One act, one choice, from one individual to another is helping to drive investor relations, and promoting Delta’s brand values nation-wide at no cost. Peter Shankman was recently interviewed at IBM’s Smarter Commerce conference about his book Nice Companies Finish First. You can see his interview in the video below. The take-away is that there are great individual, corporate, and even commerce rewards to those willing to make the investment in Social Media, and put their values into action. The tools are there if we’ll learn to apply them for our own good.

All business is personal, nice is a commodity we don’t have to pay to use.

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