Reputation management in a world full of fake news – 4 tips!

Linsey • 7 minute read • 18/09/2019
Reputation management
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Fake news is today’s hot topic. Social media helps to spread a wide distribution of fake news, quickly and easily. And the effect on reputation management is noticeable. How do you as an organisation deal with fake news and what should you take into account? Together with Reputation Specialist Danielle Janssen, we’ll give you a number of tips for online reputation management and the impact of fake news.

Disinformation disguised as news is frequently spread throughout websites, social media and even through traditional media. Along with this, we’re also dealing with the clickbait phenomenon, which is used by the news media to achieve a greater reach. Newspapers that use words such as “groundbreaking” in their headlines often become well-shared. Research that was published in Science even shows that false information is 70% more likely to be spread further. The reason for this is mainly that fake news evokes more emotions in the reader.

It’s clear that we’re dealing with a major challenge here in the field of reputation management. But exactly how big is the impact of these sources that spread this fake news? We’re happy to provide you with these 4 tools to get you started in dealing with these new challenges.

Make sure to firmly immerse yourself into a source’s potential impact

Within reputation management, it is important to realise and understand the full extent of a source’s impact. Despite a smaller reach, the Financieel Dagblad can, for example, have much more impact in the financial sector than when the news is distributed via another newspaper with a larger reach. The smaller reach of the source is then directly opposite to the impact that the source has, because it is a certified source. Danielle states:

“I have a feeling we’re heading towards a system of certified sources where news sources, like banks and other financial institutions, will get a kind of rating that has been awarded by independent agencies”

News reliability can be based directly on your statement

A pitfall in the distribution of fake news is that organisations don’t always know what to do, so they do nothing at all when incriminating (fake) news is released. Realise that, with a statement, you can do something about this.

“A statement or quote from your organisation shows that the news is real. It takes the sting out of the conversation and gives you the opportunity to take a position on something. Articles with a statement that comes directly from an organisation are considered the truth, rather than just another fake news article. A quote therefore increases the credibility of an article. Responding or not responding to news is therefore something that needs to be considered carefully, but definitely contributes to your organisation’s reputation.”

With reputation management you can cover, for the most part, what news regarding your organisation seems credible or not. Is your organisation running into environmental problems, for example? Then you can actively promote what you are doing with regard to this. Opening up (pro) active and honest communication yourself helps people to be able to judge whether any news regarding your organisation coming from other sources is credible or not.

Take matters into your own hands: the wonderful world of data for online reputation management

The importance of data with regard to reputation management continues to grow. More and more tooling and data tracking are coming onto the market. The amount of data that organisations have at their disposal is continually growing. The demand for tooling, to be able to collect all that data and gain insights from it for data-driven decisions from management, is therefore increasing.

Tooling can also help your organisation with regard to fake news. The closer you keep an eye on your reputation and the sooner you are aware of what is going on regarding your brand, the faster you will be able to respond to it and steer it in the right direction.

“Where reputation management used to be based on a product or service, it’s now much more about the storytelling surrounding the organisation than just the product or service.”

Be aware: online reputation management knows no limits

Since the dawn of the internet, there are no limits on reputation management. Internationally-oriented organisations now deal with a worldwide reputation and the importance of national borders is becoming blurred. In addition to an organisation’s reputation – or even more, that of an entire industry – we also have to deal with the personal reputations of the leaders of organisations. Consider, for example, news about top executives from organisations that can be linked to the reputation of the global organisation.

Insights gained from the AMEC Summit in Prague, a congress where reputation managers from all over the world come together, show that this is also the case internally: within reputation management, less thought is being given to data silos and more and more aspects are becoming intertwined. Interdisciplinary teams are working together and thinking much more outside their own box.

This is a good development for reputation management. It means that we can see the bigger picture better, which reduces the impact of individual events. If one event gets out of hand, it doesn’t immediately undermine your entire reputation, because we can view it from that bigger picture. At the same time, it means that reputation managers have to be even sharper when it comes to reputation as a whole. The “so what” behind the data becomes even more important and it is important to monitor and analyse the global reputation, including the impact of both smaller and larger (global) events.

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Linsey Jepma
As Content & PR Coordinator, I am involved in the wonderful world of webcare, chatbots, reputation management and data insights on a daily basis. Writing really is my thing and I have an inexplicable passion for neuromarketing and behaviour. Do you want to exchange thoughts? Connect with me at LinkedIn.

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