How to Make 2 Million People Hate Your Company

Why is it that many companies do not understand the power of social media?  With people having the ability to reach out to millions of people in a relatively short period of time, paying attention to your online reputation as well as having stellar customer service is a key to success in today’s business world.  It is essential that a company be aware of the implications of social media and have a social media strategy.

United Airlines have learned this lesson the hard way as Canadian musician Dave Carroll and his band Sons of Maxwell served the airline a rather bitter lesson in social media and online reputation management. 

After Unite Airlines baggage handlers broke Dave’s $3500 Taylor guitar and refused to compensate the musician for his loss, Dave promised the United Airlines representatives that he would take his matter to the social media airways and would be writing three songs about his 9-month ordeal and terrible customer service.  His goal was to have the three songs viewed a total of 1-million times over the next year.

Dave’s first song was just released to YouTube and it has gone viral.  Not only has Dave surpassed his goal of 1-million viewers in a year, the video stands right now at having over 2.3 million viewers, has been picked up on national media outlets in both the United States and Canada.

United Airlines has learned a very valuable lesson in the implications of social media.  When the video had reached approximately 50,000 views, United made a statement that they liked the video and would be using as a textbook case in how to handle customer complaints in the future.

What has United Airlined done to compensate Dave Carroll?  Well, they offered to “make things right” but Dave doesn’t want any compensation and asked that any money they were considering giving him for this mess be donated to a charity.

United Airlines has done just that and have made a $3,000 donation to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz for music education for kids.  Taylor Guitars have also offered to see if they could repair the broken guitar and offered him a big discount on the purchase of his next one.  I’m guessing the press that Taylor Guitars received from this is well worth the cost of a new guitar!

For Dave Carroll and the Sons of Maxwell, this video is also perhaps the best thing that could have happened to them.  With over 2.3 million viewers to their revenge video, there is no denying that this will definitely attract attention to their music and raise their profile in the music industry.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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