In a previous post, I introduced my two Twitter lists which identified the superstars and blooper-stars of Corporate Social Media.  I also invited everyone to send me suggestions- and send you did!  This report, however, is of my own personal experience with Panera Bread (@PaneraBread).

This was a tough one!  I am a huge fan of Panera’s “Pick Two.”  I always get the Grilled Chicken Caesar and the bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  It’s quite literally my quintessential lunch, and I’m the Mayor (on FourSquare) of my local Panera. For those not on FourSquare, it means I go there too much!

So what happened Casey? Nothing major, nothing dirty or disgusting.  I called in on my way and got lunch to go.  Did the Pick 2- of course!  And while the soup was tasty, this is what my salad looked like:

Click here to see a larger image.  From my CSI photo with pen for measurement, you can see that the Chicken Ceasar Salad should have a small “c” for chicken as there is barely any there!  This is not routine for dining at Panera Bread.  When eating there, my salad bowl is full of goodness and yes, Chicken (capital C!).  I have however noticed that the take out salad is usually a bad value.

Normally I just put up with the salad’s issues, but this particular day the chicken was so spare (and thinly sliced) that I decided this is it! Rather than call up and complain, I had previously found & followed Panera on Twitter and decided to use Social Media to inform them.

I took a photo with my iPhone, uploaded it to TwitPic, and Tweeted:

@panerabread my chik cea salad frm Nashua makes me sad. :( And I’m the mayor!

Would you like to see the response I got?

Their response was:

What was that? You can’t read it?  I didn’t type it?  Oh, so sorry!  Here’s a graphical version:

No, they didn’t send me a t-shirt.  They didn’t respond at all.  Crickets! Chirp chirp.

I wasn’t mean, didn’t demand a refund, and actually took the time to take a PHOTO of something they should probably fix.

For their lack of response, Panera Bread earns a Social Media Fail.

Let that be a lesson to all of those responsible in Corporate Social Media.  Twitter is all about a 2 way conversation.  If you don’t want to hear from your customers- and respond back, stick to your print mailers and avoid Social Media.  Because it’s not about what you say back as much as it is about you responding at all.

This blog is a second test of Panera’s Social Media program.

Nothing would please me more to hear from them because they saw this article- which means they’re out there, and listening.  I’d be happy to take them off the fail list and post an update.  But until that time, until you see an update below these words, Panera Bread will remain in the list of companies who have failed at Corporate Social Media.