Social Media is huge right now and it can either make or break your brand. Thankfully Mashable has put together 15 of the best ways businesses have used social media to interact with customers.

  • Narrow your focus to responding to customer complaints, as Comcast does on Twitter.
  • Build brand loyalty, as Bisnow does with e-newsletters, as Skittles does on Facebook, and as the Wine Library does with its podcasts.
  • Issue blog posts and tweets instead of news releases, as Google does with its blog, and as its now-former CEO did with Twitter.
  • Re-purpose your existing content, and thus enlarge your audience, as The New York Times does with Twitter, as the FBI does with Scribd, and as Dell does with SlideShare.
  • Manage your reputation, as countless companies do — or try to do — with Wikipedia.
  • Conduct crisis communications, as Johnson & Johnson does with its blog.
  • Hold contests to improve your algorithms, as Netflix did with the Netflix Prize.
  • Crowdsource your challenges, as the U.S. Army did with its field manuals.
  • Demonstrate thought leadership, as recruiter Lindsay Olson does with her blog.
  • Research free advertising opportunities, as Allstate does on YouTube.
  • Showcase your wares, as Zappos does with its blog, and boost your sales, as Dell does on Twitter.
  • Recruit employees, as Booz Allen does on LinkedIn.
Got any other ideas to add to the list? Has social media worked for your business, or has it been a flop? Any social media horror stories out there?