That’s what I ask clients when they are scared to use social media, open up their brand, and become more social.

Yes, it’s true that social media allows negative reviews to scale and touch more people.

On the flip side, it’s also true that positive reviews scale and touch more people too.

I’m going to make a presumption: you’re running a business that’s doing more good than bad. If this is the case, then social media is too big of an opportunity for you to pass up on.

With this cheery inspiration said, some businesses still fear what would happen if they get a negative customer complaint on, for example, their Facebook.com Wall.

When I meet with clients and hear this concern, I always ask, “Are you operating your business with integrity?” In other words, we are all prone to mistakes (which we can correct), but do you provide value in your services and strive to always honour your customers?”

If the answer is yes, then, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

If you operate with integrity and you get a customer complaint, one of three amazing things will happen:

1. Your community will defend you. We see this time and time again. When tbk Creative worked with a client on marketing a national legal proceeding last year, we had one fan challenge the validity of the proceeding. We were not worried about this complaint because we believed in the purpose and evidence of the proceeding (we operated with integrity). Before we could respond to the fans complaint, another fan defended the legal proceeding with strong and reliable evidence. What he presented was probably as good as we could have done and because it came from another community member it strengthened the legal proceeding’s credibility in everyone’s eyes.

2. You’ll have a chance to win the customer back.

Would you rather:

A) Have a customer complain in front of your 2,000 fans (in which, by the way, 90% will never read)? or

B) Not know the customer felt wronged and never see or hear from them again?

I choose option A.

With A, you have a chance to either win the client back or leave them feeling complete on the relationship with your company and go on with their life as a content consuming citizen.

In life, in general, I’ve learned to no longer fear a person that is unhappy but in communication. The ones that are out of communication and silent are usually the most difficult to bring back into the light.

3. Your true values will shine for all.

Others will watch how you respond. They will admire the courage, feel the authenticity, and nobly nod at the responsibility. Don’t fear making mistakes as a brand. No body expects anyone to be perfect.

If you want to throw a good party, a mess might occur. Just be willing to clean it up in the morning – that’s all the landlord will care about.

So get in there. Be unborified (bold and different) and you’ll grab your consumers’ attention. Be generous and you’ll deliver them value. Be honourable and you’ll gain their respect.

What’s the worst that can happen?
I know the best that can happen is the greatness of your brand will scale and you’ll be able to touch more lives than ever before.

Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.