How consumers can use social media in their favor

FRESNO, Calif.

Social media giants like Facebook and, most recently Twitter, are making headlines for hitting the stock market. Twitter's initial public offering was so popular some investors say it overshadowed big economic moments last week.

Many are using the power of a tweet to their benefit. Nearly 150 million people around the world are sending out their thoughts in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

The info blasts are giving a big voice to regular people like Jason Bezerra and Garrett Horn from Fresno.

Both had poor experiences with food orders. Jason's problem, admittedly a rare issue with his favorite pizza parlor Me-N-Ed's.

"Opened em up and they were just, they just didn't look good. They were cold, but we had little kids so we couldn't really worry about it. We just had to feed the family. And someone just shouted out, oh you should tweet about it," Bezerra said.

Moments later a pizza picture popped up on Jason's twitter feed.

"So I got out my phone and I just tweeted Me-N-Eds and said, hey its 90 minutes late and its cold, what's up with that," Bezerra said.

And Garrett's trip through a Northwest Fresno Jack in the Box drive-thru resulted in a Twitter picture of his over toasted chicken sandwich.

"And I used some of the hashtags from their commercial for the chipotle chicken club. So they were monitoring the hashtags on Twitter and they contacted me and said that it was unacceptable," Horn said.

Both men came out ahead following their digital complaints.

"They apologized and told me if I can send my information someone would contact me," Bezerra said.

Jason then received calls from two company managers and free pizza.

"Their reaction to it after the fact really impressed me," Bezerra said.

As for Garrett Jack in the Box representatives sent him coupons for two free combo meals.

"I thought it was really cool that they were being proactive about people's bad experiences at their food chain," Garrett Horn said.

According to Influential Media founder and CEO, Branden Hampton, the broad uses of social media are now all about individual influence.

"You have an audience now. So it doesn't matter if you have 200 followers, it doesn't matter if you have 200,000 followers. Now you have a voice and now the integrity of this company and the integrity of this brand is put on a pedestal and now they're handling your issue in a public forum," Hampton said.

Hampton continues to brand himself as a social media master. He has been featured on for managing several Twitter accounts, including the most influential twitter handle, Notebook of Love. And while he says Facebook and Instagram can be leveraged in favor of the consumer, for now Twitter holds all the power.

"I think right now, the majority of the influence lies on Twitter, just because the user base is growing so fast. Facebook is for personal relationships it can only reach certain amount of audience based on platform design," Hampton said.

When asked, Jack in the Box did not provide a comment of on their personal efforts on Twitter. Me-N-Ed's said they could not comment on the matter.

However, many companies, large and small, are now dedicating entire departments to social media response.

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