With all great companies come critics, haters, and worst of all, internet trolls. When operating a business, it’s no surprise that some customers will leave unsatisfied. But what happens when those unsatisfied people decided to make false claims against you and your business and it began to affect your sales? What happens if a fake news website decides to write an article filled with conceit and lies and it begins to get traction from the community?
Whether or not the claims made against you are true, once a person believes something, it’s hard to change their opinion. If any event like this were to occur, what do you do and how do you handle the situation?
Breaking Down Motives
Before combating your enemies, it’s probably a good idea to figure out who they are first. Are these people customers, critics, authors of fake news, or perhaps former employees who were fired? Each different group has different interests. For instance, angry customers are likely looking for compensation or trying to taint your name because of bad service, whereas fake news writers could potentially have no connection to you or your business, and just happened to use your company in one of their vacuous pieces. Former employees may try to slander your company due to a deep animosity towards their managers or co-workers. Each threat to your businesses should be carefully assessed and handled accordingly.
The chances of this happening to you or someone you know has become increasingly more and more likely, albeit still minuscule in the large scale of things. The community having access to social media outlets among other forms of communication to facilitate their outbursts gives them more power than they would previously have had say, ten years ago. More power to them does not mean less power for you. In fact, it means you can have a negative and turn it on its head just as fast as it began to spiral out of control. While its true social media can help attract attention to false information and slander thrown at your business, it also means you can use those same platforms to not only kill any misinformation that has spread, but also gain free publicity and support from the public.
Once you have dispelled the lies, what remains is the generosity, compassion and support of the community, and ultimately an experience that could potentially bolster your business. Because each company is different and faces a unique problem, it can be difficult to give a concise, step-by step plan, but it is highly encouraged that businesses work with their teams to figure out how to handle these types of situations, and what approach to take against hostility.