How to handle online misinformation

How to handle online misinformation

How to handle online misinformation

With the dominance of social media today and the onslaught of news and information that these provide, discerning what is relevant and true vis-a-vis what is propaganda and disinformation can be a daunting task.

There is a struggle, especially for young people, to determine credibility and trustworthiness. This extends to reviews and comments on products and services which ones are true? Are they planted by the company itself? Are bad reviews made by real people or trolls?


How do you then, as a brand or a company, respond to online feedback (positive or not) while ensuring a responsible online presence for your brand? We asked Millie Morales, our resource person on social media marketing, for some insights and tips:


Develop a critical mindset and examine the evidence

Cultivate a critical mindset within your team by thoroughly examining the evidence behind any claims or criticisms. Verify the accuracy of information and assess the credibility of sources before responding. This approach ensures your responses are factual and transparent, countering false accusations effectively.

For example, Hello Cafe in Tagaytay faced a controversy a few months ago after a group of customers posted scathing reviews on Google, alleging staff mistreatment. The café owners conducted their own investigation, interviewing staff and reviewing CCTV footage to uncover the truth.

They found no mistreatment, confirming that the staff were simply performing their duties. The café then released a well-crafted statement explaining the incident, which garnered public support and led many to counteract the negative reviews by posting positive ones.

Listen and respond to complaints

Monitor social media and other platforms to stay informed about customer feedback. Show empathy and understanding in your responses, addressing concerns promptly and offering solutions.

One notable example of a brand that responded to complaints and improved itself is Domino’s Pizza. In 2009, after facing harsh criticism for the quality of their pizzas, Domino’s launched a comprehensive “Pizza Turnaround” campaign.

They acknowledged customer feedback, revamped their pizza recipe, and introduced new, higher-quality ingredients. The company was transparent about the changes, openly admitting their previous shortcomings in a series of advertisements. This proactive approach not only improved their product but also rebuilt customer trust and significantly boosted their sales and reputation.


Create a proper response to a crisis

Establish a crisis response plan with clear guidelines for managing issues. Respond promptly and transparently during a crisis, providing honest updates and outlining resolution steps.

For example, after a customer found a small towel in their Chickenjoy order in 2018, Jollibee swiftly apologized and launched an investigation. They closed the affected store, communicated openly with the public, and implemented additional quality control measures. Despite initial negative publicity, their transparent response helped mitigate the incident’s impact on their reputation.

In the digital era, brands are more vulnerable to online misinformation, as deceptive images and videos can quickly spread false narratives and damage reputations. This environment necessitates proactive monitoring and rapid response strategies to mitigate harm and maintain audience trust. A structured and professional response helps maintain your brand’s integrity and reassures your audience of your responsible handling of the situation.

Morales will facilitate a virtual workshop titled Managing A Social Media Crisis: Responding to Complaints to Building a Responsible Online Presence this coming July 29. The course will be beneficial for marketing, social media, or PR professionals, as well as business owners.

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For your other learning needs, Inquirer Academy could assist you in designing and facilitating a live workshop, a webinar, or a self-paced online course for your organization.

For more information, write to [email protected], or send an SMS to these numbers 0919.3428667 and 0998.9641731.

TAGS: Online, Trailblazer

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