Fake news and corporate reputation

Over the past few years, fake news has become a major part of any discourse around the media. Fake news that leads to negative headlines can damage the reputation of a company, bring down its stock price, and set off a PR nightmare. In the corporate world, fake news can act like a suicide bomber. The reputation of a company can blow up into bits. The falsified information that fake news contains may have varied content, but all fake news has a defined objective. Its objective is to misinform by distorting reality. Given below are ways by which businesses can defend themselves against fake news.

1) Monitor social media platforms – Social media platforms are where customers provide feedback to a company. Although not every social media mishap is equally harmful, the ability of companies to make a judgment on the severity of a mistake is critical. Businesses have to take a proactive and comprehensive approach to online monitoring. There could be fake accounts pretending to be affiliated with a brand. Such fake accounts are often used to spread fake news. To prevent this from happening businesses should use social monitoring tools. Tools like Hootsuite, Zoho social, and Trackur provide information on social media mentions, track relevant hashtags, and discover trending topics related to a brand.

2) Rapid response – Timing is everything. In a world where businesses are falling prey to fabricated, negative information,  businesses need to act fast by responding to negative content as soon as it surfaces. PR teams should be actively involved in responding to fake news. Planning is key. Planning ahead on how a PR team would address fake news is important. A well-trained response team can quickly address crucial conversations affecting a brand before they go viral. This could be effective in lessening the spread of misinformation.

3) Reinforcing employee conduct policies – Employee misbehavior can be used to spread fake news. Here, the best policy is that of prevention. It is essential to ensure that employees understand and follow company policies related to behavior inside and outside of the workplace. Employees posting messages or tweeting opinions that are controversial and not inclusive may also damage the reputation of a business.

4) Own up – If a business is responsible for an incident that resulted in fake news, it is always wise for it to own up.It is a great way to manage the crisis. A mistake should not be allowed to transform into a weapon used against a business. It is important not to keep people in the dark. Clients, prospects, and the internal team should be informed about all the steps a business is taking to manage a crisis. Transparency is crucial.

5) Create an online reputation – Fostering an online community of supporters can help a brand in numerous ways. In case of fake news, the loyal base of customers will cast doubt. They might also step in to protect and defend a brand. They might speak up on behalf of a brand, which would seem credible.

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