Thanks to social media, big businesses are learning what small businesses have always known

images-2I always say social media can turn your whole world into a small town, and that’s true for companies as well as people. Most small business owners figure out fast that word of mouth can have a significant impact on the bottom line, whether it’s happy or unhappy customers doing the talking. Now, thanks to social media, dissatisfied customers can reach a wider audience with a more powerful impact than ever before. United Airlines has learned that the hard way.

You may have already seen this hysterical YouTube video making the rounds, titled, “United Breaks Guitars,” because nearly 5 million people have. Ravi Sawney posted a Fast  Company blog last week on singer-songwriter Dave Carroll’s experience with United’s customer service — and the stunning impact his funny video had on United’s business, to the tune of a $180 million stock loss.

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