Many companies still seem to be apprehensive about engaging in social media–perhaps they are afraid it will spark negative conversation, or because they still don’t understand the upside. But the reality is, no matter if your company is involved in social media or not, people are going to be out there talking about you, so you may as well be involved and direct the conversation.

Recently, one of our team was involved in the perfect example of social media really working. After tremendous frustration, she unleashed a Tweet into the social media-universe criticizing the California Department of Motor Vehicles for the difficulty she was experiencing replacing her California driver’s license.

“just heard the CA DMV is taking months to replace licenses…meanwhile i lost mine and cant get a NY one until i replace CA one #predicament”

Assuming the DMV to be somewhat “old” and untouchable, she didn’t even check to see if they were actually on Twitter. So it was to her surprise that the California DMV actually Tweeted her back.

“@CA_DMV @leesaraab We would like to help. Please follow DMV & DM us your phone number so we can contact you for additional information. Thanks.”

Not only did they Tweet her and offer assistance, but they called within 10 minutes of receiving her number to assist her in fixing the situation, free of charge.

Had the CA DMV not been present on Twitter, the scenario could have gone down much differently–perhaps by other people on Twitter joining in to throw out their complaints or maybe there would have even been a negative blog post or two, which would have spiraled one Tweet in to an on-going word of mouth nightmare.

Instead, they took advantage of the opportunity to let her know that they care and are there to help. The result… Several Tweets (which went out to over 300 people) giving praise and thanks to the CA DMV, and now even a blog post to say how impressed we are.

So when you start to think social media isn’t the place for your company, just ask yourself WWDD–what would the DMV do?