If I post a complaint about your brand on Twitter, how long will it take for your company to respond?

On December 12, 2007, Lance Campeau posted a 4-minute video about his Panasonic video camera on YouTube. The video slams Panasonic’s customer service and commitment to quality and has been viewed by more than 3,000 people.

A couple dozen people have chimed in with their own (negative) thoughts about Panasonic’s service. As of September 2008 – nearly a year after the original post, Lance writes (on YouTube) that he’s heard nothing from Panasonic on his camera situation.

A lot of companies are hesitant to get involved with social media communities like YouTube, FaceBook, and Twitter and that is a huge mistake. Huge. 

With the new Web 2.0, customers can freely post complaints, gripes, videos, full-page blogs, and more about brands. And the thing about social media is it tends to stick around forever. Remember, the Panasonic YouTube video was posted in December 2007.

I’d bet the farm that Southwest Airlines wouldn’t let a YouTube video complaint go unanswered for more than a year. Paula Berg of Southwest Airlines says, “We monitor more than 100 travel and airline industry blogs a day. We also are very active on YouTube, Twitter, and FaceBook.”

After I experienced problems with my Internet for 4 days, I posted a Tweet on Twitter. Within 12 hours I received a Tweet from my Cable Company, Cox Communications. The next business day a Tech was at my house and  he quickly got my Internet back up.

Doing business in the social media era means brands must check out chat rooms and blogs and jump in whenever the company’s name is mentioned. It means constantly monitoring YouTube, Twitter, FaceBook, and more. 

Failing to get involved with social media can (will) lead to a viral blog, video, or Tweet that will not only linger for years, but will be far more persuasive than any monetary advertising your company ever sponsors.

Are you monitoring online conversations about your brand? If not, why aren’t you? My blockbuster webinar, “Social Media Is the New Customer Service” will put your company on the fast-track to protecting your brand credibility by listening to online conversations. The live event has passed, but you can download the digital recording right now and watch it with everyone on your customer service and marketing teams. Here are the details: