How to Protect Your Brand Against Fake News and Alternative Facts

By Brittany Berger

In some ways, it’s a great time for the media and those working with it. Content formats are versatile and exciting. Platforms are coming up with cool features. You can usually go five minutes without someone bashing you or your brand in the comments section.

But if you’re a member of the media or your job relies on interacting with it, these are also some risky times.

Especially if you’re a brand that the public or media has latched onto for the wrong reasons. :X

In an age of grassroots journalism, where anyone can livestream what’s going on around them to Facebook, and there are more ways around media gatekeepers than ever…stakes are high.

There’s this “viral outrage” culture where as soon as something sparks outrage, people are quick to judge before getting all the facts. We saw it with United Airlines back in March, for example. When teenagers in violation of a dress code went viral, thousands cried out in anger over United having a dress code for paying customers.

Only…oh wait.

Then we find out these weren’t paying customers. Kind of changes things. But at that point, a lot of damage had already been done to their brand reputation. So when, say, another incident with a passenger happens a month later, the public already has a negative perception of you.

And it can spin out so quickly.

Just one person uploads or shares a partial version of the story.

Conclusions are jumped to. Alternative facts are created. The misinformation spreads. Next thing you know, your brand is the subject of some fake news.

You feel like you’re running for president, and not in the good way.

You may not be able to predict when a misunderstanding will happen or go viral, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare. Misinformation and false negative PR can be handled with a good crisis communications plan.

In this post, we’ll talk about what you need to do if “fake news” about your brand ever goes viral, and how to handle a crisis as well as Scandal’s Olivia Pope (hopefully with less drama).

Your process to protect your brand against fake news and alternative facts

Step 1: respond directly

The first thing you’ll want to do, when applicable, is respond directly to the original piece of content that went viral or started the story.

If it’s a tweet, reply or quote it in a new tweet. If it’s a Facebook post that you can comment on, do so. With a blog or news site, leave a comment. You get the deal.

Write a kind, polite, “customer support-friendly” response that clears up any wrong information without isolating, accusing, or getting angry at the source. After all, you don’t necessarily know if this was intentional or just a misunderstanding.

This does a few things that can help you.

First of all, you’re going straight to the source to straighten out the facts. In terms of how the information has spread, this is starting at the beginning of the chain.

Secondly, it makes your response visible and noticeable Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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