It may be time to re-evaluate your brand’s attitude.

See, now that businesses and consumers can use social media to interact publicly, it’s changed the way people judge the brands they’ve spoken with.  Customers notice how often they’re being listened to, and what kind of value is being created for them by the interactions they have with brands.

In other words, now that you can talk to your customers in the same channels where they’re already chatting with their friends, they’re judging your company as a friend.

And, depending on how your brand conducts itself, this may or may not be a good thing.

Are You a Good Friend?

Are you polite?

Are you reliable?

Are you a good listener?

Do you help others learn to help themselves?

Can you tell the difference between “someone who needs advice” and “someone who’s just venting?”

When the chips are down, are you the one your friends can rely on for coming through in the clutch?

Congratulations: you’re someone that the people around you are probably very happy to know.

On the Other Hand…

Are you perpetually late?

Do you always know best?

Are you always talking about yourself?

Do you have an excuse for every mistake you’ve made?

Do you resent the flaws you see in others, and wonder why they can’t be more like you?

When in doubt, do the people who know you realize that they’ll need to look elsewhere for help?

If so, you’re not a very good friend.  In fact, you’re probably the kind of acquaintance most people avoid, and tolerate only when they have to.

That’s not a recipe for endearing yourself to the people you live with.  And when you’re a brand, the people you live with are your employees and your customers.

If you’re a brand that people want to know, they’ll be happy to introduce you to their friends.  They’ll want you to succeed, because they want what’s best for the people (and brands) they respect.

But if you’re a brand that people avoid and ignore, then convincing others of your merit will forever be an uphill climb.  And since you’ll probably complain about that climb, and hold grudges against the people who don’t help you along the way, it’s bound to be lonely at the top… if you ever get there.

Given that disparity, why not be the kind of person — or brand — that people want to help succeed?

And if you need some statistics to help us prove that point, check out what Dan Zarrella discovered about the power of negative tweeting.  (Hint: it’s not good.)