If there were 10 commandments for managing your brand via social media—or let's make it three, this is the Internet after all—it would be these:

  • Thou shalt not use all caps on Facebook.
  • Thou shalt not use exclamation points, foul language or threats on a social media site dedicated to your brand.
  • And thou shalt not, under any circumstances, engage your critics on Reddit and Yelp by taunting legal action and writing "Bring it on" and "you are just trash."
(Phil Walter/Getty Images) (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

But that's apparently how the owners of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Amy's Baking Company responded after their appearance on Gordon Ramsay's reality show Kitchen Nightmares, though the couple now says their accounts were hacked. It appears to be one of the fastest and most intense brand meltdowns social media has ever seen.

After the episode featured Ramsey walking out of the restaurant (the duo fired an employee on the spot and rejected Ramsay's advice), the couple defended themselves on Facebook, writing that "we do not feel the need to make any excuses for our behavior on tonight’s show." Given the thousands of disgusted and mocking Facebook comments that ensued, and the Reddit and Buzzfeed coverage that spread like Internet wildfire, an excuse might not have been such a bad idea.

Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.

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