#FollowFriday – Brands That Say It All

This is a weekly series that I’m hoping to help add some more relevance to the #FollowFriday (what’s this?) Twitter activity that originally started through Lijit’s own Micah Baldwin to help connect Twitterers with one another. For this week’s selection, I’m nominating brands that you know of and have established a personality and presence on Twitter that has become one of trust & you know you can turn to them for help – even though you may not like the answer you get.

KGMB9

Having spent my early career and most of my childhood in the great state of Hawaii, it’s always good to find ways to keep in touch with things back “home”. So when I found out that the local CBS affiliate was following me, I was really intrigued. Imagine my fancy when I discovered that the guy in charge of the brand on Twitter was instigating this all on his own! Jared Kuroiwa is his name and he’s responsible for monitoring the KGMB website and working on making the station broadcast more interactive. I’m completely fascinated by what he has done to help revolutionize the way news is reported in the state and how now I am privvy to shows and news that I only could read before. Having had multiple conversations with @KGMB9, I know that it’s definitely one of conversation and innovation. Look out! This station is on the move and is definitely leading the charge in technology in Hawaii.

Travelocity

Everyone knows Travelocity. It’s a big ole’ website that you go enter in your travel information and get your ticket and move on your way. I’m one of those people that have used the site to arrange my trips, but now they’re on Travelocity. And you know what? Their Twitter account is actually human sounding. They don’t give you the bureaucratic red tape that you might expect from a corporation. I’ve enjoyed my conversations with Travelocity and they have become a great resource for me to know what’s going on in travel fares and other tourism information. And did you know that the Roaming Gnome has cousins? I always thought there was only one! Well they’re everywhere!

Colonel Tribune

Chicago’s mascot for one of its mainstay newspapers. I was first approached by Colonel Tribune and we started having conversations. At first I thought the only reason newspapers would be on Twitter would be to spew out their headlines and be on their way. But to my surprise, the Chicago Tribune’s tweets were much more conversation in tone. Whether it’s about sports, entertainment, or even the political scene (we love us some Blagojevich news!), it’s always fun to hear Colonel Tribune’s spin on it. Oh, and have I mentioned that I’ve met his secret identity at South by Southwest? Shh…I’m not telling you who he is but will let you know that I think he’s a great guy too, but Colonel Tribune is much cooler.

Destination DC

Something about Destination DC that you should know is that I’m connected to this Twitter account. Why? Because I set it up. I used to handle all the online marketing for Destination DC (formerly the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation – yeah, a mouthfull) in case you were wondering. But why am I recommending them? Because I know they’re doing a great job of pushing out information on the latest happenings at the nation’s capital. They not just reporting the news. They’re also having conversations as well. You’re going to find the insider information that most people won’t get without talking to a local or even following the Twitter account.

Did you know that Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonians was filmed there and that they had a movie premiere just recently? Next time there’s an inauguration there, you might want to know where to get hotel rooms early, right? Rooting for the Washington Capitals or any one of the DC sports teams? So is Destination DC. It’s your one-stop shop for what’s going on in DC. So start following!

Zappos

Practically everyone knows about Zappos and the brand it represents on Twitter. The dealer of shoes, clothing lines, accessories and now electronics, the Zappos twitter account is one of the few in the Twitterverse that is controlled and published through its CEO – Tony Hsieh. I was taken aback by that at first since it was probably unheard of for a large company’s leader to take the time to tweet what was going on, let alone be the recognizable face of the brand on Twitter. But it is…and remarkably he responds like he’s a regular person.

During this recent season of Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump had the teams create a mascot & campaign for Zappos and after the episode, I tweeted to @Zappos that he did great. Next thing you know, two things happened: (1) Zappos followed me, and (2) I received a direct message personally saying “Thanks”. Now if that isn’t commitment to the brand and great use of Twitter, then I don’t know what is. Simply to say thanks to a customer is definitely worth at least a #FollowFriday.

Southwest Airlines

I have something really awesome to say about Southwest Airlines. Over the past few years, I’ve flown them everywhere in the United States – mainly because one of their main hubs was where I used to live – Baltimore. Their service has been phenomenal a majority of the times and really appreciate them not charging for 1-2 bags when you check in. This in of itself is probably at least worth the #FollowFriday mention because more people flying their service, the better it will be & cheaper, maybe?

But aside from their great service, I’ve been personally affected by their Twitter service as well. Although I didn’t notice it at first, I was sitting in their new terminal at BWI Airport and tweeted that I liked their new cushy seats they had there. Of course, in a few minutes I got a tweet from the Southwest Airlines twitter account. Cool. Nice to know that they were paying attention to any mention of “Southwest Air”. However, it wasn’t until this past March when I was at South by Southwest did Southwest nearly come to my aid.

On the way home from South by Southwest, I was late getting to the airport because of the Supershuttle I took having issues with a passenger so when I got there about an hour before takeoff, I still had to check-in my luggage and go through security. I had not been through Austin’s airport before so I didn’t know how long it would be but I knew that time was running out. In my haste, I immediately got onto my phone and tweeted out to @SouthwestAir that I needed help and wasn’t going to make my flight. Luckily I managed to make it to the gate & flight on time, but once on board, I checked my phone & immediately came across a direct message from @SouthwestAir themselves saying “Where are you going? What city are you at? What flight?“. Wow. Can you imagine how that would be if I really needed their help in a bind. Fortunately for me, while I definitely appreciate their help, I didn’t have problems getting through the airport. However, I am extremely thankful that if I ever need their help again, I know how to reach them and know they’ll come through in a clutch.

Sorry about not having photos this time around – hard for me to get photos of brands to insert here, but you know who they are.

You want to know more about #FollowFriday and who other people are recommending? Then check out this great site created by Micah Baldwin.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."