Nobody likes being wrong. Nobody likes to be criticized. And nobody likes to make mistakes. If you do, you’re better than me, and probably a lot of other people.

Brands, especially, get a little freaked out when they screw up. And even more freaked out when they’re called out about it...in front of hundreds, or thousands, of people.

Social media has changed the game for brands who, are now, up for a huge amount of public scrutiny. Rather than complaining about really bad customer service to my friends at a dinner party, I can post that same complaint on a brand’s Facebook wall for their entire fan base to see. Might make me feel good — the brand?...not so much.

Some brands have panicked so severely from consumer criticism on Facebook that they’ve removed posts and changed settings to prevent their remaining fan base from finding out about their ‘oops’. Heard about...

...to name a few?

Now I’m not talking about brands deleting comments that may be vulgar, racist, or harmful — that’s a whole other issue. We’re just talking about negative feedback about products, services, policies and business practices.

I’ve witnessed a handful of situations (working with brands) where a complaint from a fan in social media went from negative to awesome very quickly. Not only were we able to maintain the fan, they became even more respectful of the brand because we addressed their concern. And guess what — they let everyone know how awesome they thought we were afterwards. Hello!

Any social media nut (uh humm) will tell you that if a brand chooses to open themselves up to public conversations online, they need to be ok with, and prepared for, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But why are so many not? Why are brands unprepared to turn a negative into a positive, and no into a yes, an enemy into a super fan? Why are brands afraid of being wrong?