In business as in life, things can and will go wrong. A customer occasionally has a bad experience with your product—or worse yet, your customer service department. A defective product must be recalled. A corporate officer attracts public attention for embarrassing reasons, or we run a television commercial that upsets or offends someone. None of these things are planned for or intended, but they happen in spite of our best efforts. That’s life; stuff happens. The real test we face is not in avoiding these things but in how we deal with them.

The same maxim certainly applies to social media. One of your employees says or does something controversial or off-message within a social network; one of your campaigns ...

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