Fake news spreads like wildfire and can quickly harm your brand, especially if it sounds believable. While some of your competitors might have good intentions, others, including malicious internet users, can misinform your target audience.
Here are tips to help you keep fake news from destroying your small business.
Monitor Your Social Media Landscape
Many small businesses, especially online brands, have a social media presence for purposes of building awareness and generating website visitor traffic.
Therefore, you should track social media activity including all your product mentions by using social media monitoring tool such as Hootsuite. A product mention will help you know what social media users are saying about your product.
Negative or positive sentiments will help you get a thorough understanding of the online world’s mindset and safeguard your brand against fake news.
Have A Dedicated Emergency Team
Make sure you have a dedicated crisis manager who is responsible for leading your emergency team. You can either hire a PR firm or establish an in-house team to take the role of handling emergencies such as mitigating fake news.
Your team should have the right skills to leverage relationships in addressing such risks.
Create Holding Statements
Holding statements will come in handy when you want to identify what your small business deems as fake news. You’ll then use the statements to acknowledge the fake news crisis and buy some time as you figure out the best strategy for solving the crisis.
This will help you avoid creating your own kind of fake news in an effort to address the fake reports spreading around about your product or brand.
Beware Of Online Reputation Management
In today’s digital era, most internet users don’t know or care whether the news they’re reading and sharing is real. A legal or editorial recourse might not help you prevent fakes news from spreading.
In fact, lobbying a newspaper editor to correct an error is an attempt in futility if the news is already out there. Therefore, you need a handy system that will monitor your brand’s reputation online and a company culture to rapidly respond as soon as possible when fake news breaks.
Conduct A Post-Crisis Analysis
Remember, every crisis or attack on your small business is an opportunity to learn. For instance, if there’s fake news that your brand has suffered a cyber attack, you should analyze your cyber-security protocols to ensure everything is safe.
Post-crisis analysis will help you get a better understanding of why the attackers or spiteful internet users decided to attack your brand and mitigate risk in future.
Embrace the finer details of the analysis and evaluate all your bottlenecks so you can improve on your inadequacies. Never assume that a potential customer won’t believe the false news.
Instead, figure out all the possibilities of a certain kind of crisis stemming from this kind of news. Then, create a plan to deal with the source of the untrue stories.
Final Thoughts On Dealing With Fake News
Social media networks and search engines are inherently designed to spread salacious content fast. Malicious news can ruin your business so fast and even lead to you closing shop.
Hence, your crisis management plan should include a solid strategy for identifying and dealing with fake news. Make sure you monitor your brand and product mentions across all platforms where fake news spreads.