No matter the point in your company's social journey, missteps are bound to occur. For better or worse, customers now have an alluring outlet for their opinions, allowing for the dissemination of personal reflections at lightning speed. While companies aim to foster social brand advocates, they must also prepare for those instances when dissatisfaction becomes dissent.

Because social media still needs time to mature, companies find their youthful strategies to be exploratory, putting the emphasis on establishing their footing within the social world. Yet, while companies grapple with how to leverage social media from a business standpoint, consumers use the channel to connect with hundreds and thousands of friends and followers, voicing their positive remarks and venting their frustrations in a public forum. And when things take a turn for the negative, complaints can spiral out of control in mere moments.

For many companies, social media disasters can be devastating, but for those who approach the given issues with careful forethought and a level head, catastrophe can create opportunity. The customer's social journey allows companies numerous chances to cultivate and reinforce the very relationship that could lessen the severity of issues in the future. The following tips provide a social roadmap for dodging the speed bumps and patching the potholes that pop up along the way.