TLK Fusion Marketing Offers 3 Ways to Derail Fraudulent Social Media Attacks
As a small business owner, you’d be remiss not to engage in social media to promote your business. It helps increase visibility, establish credibility and build trust—three things you need to grow and sustain your business.
Valuable as it may be, there are also destructive aspects of social media, and the disturbing part of this is anyone can use it to promote their own agenda. They don’t need to be tech-savvy hackers or social media experts. Armed with information, all they need is the ability to influence others.
Ken Collis, founder and owner of TLK Fusion Marketing, a marketing corporation in Los Angeles, says, “If someone seeks to destroy your business or influence the way others think about you, it’s incredibly easy to do that through social media. The most accusations are those of fraud. True or untrue, once you have that scarlet F imposed upon your business, it can be difficult to remove it.”
Difficult, yes. Impossible, no, believes Ken Collis.
There are ways to recover your reputation as a client of TLK Fusion Marketing recently discovered when accusations of fraud were made by a competitor seeking to destroy their company last year.
But there’s more to this story: more disturbing than the ease with which reputation damage via social media can be achieved, is the fact that a significant number of people believe what they read on the Internet.
“People think if they see it on Facebook or another social media platform it must be true,” says Ken Collis. “Especially over the last couple years when actual fraud is being committed by way of scams in industries consumers trust. Fraudulent schemes have cost unsuspecting people tens of millions of dollars in 2018 alone.”
Scammers, however, are not getting away with everything. In July the Justice Department announced the break up of what they called the nation’s first large-scale telephone fraud operation. A round of indictments are sending at least 22 conspirators in the US and India to prison on stiff sentences.
Regardless of qualifications or knowledge virtually anyone can make false accusations. Even a single negative review or story can tarnish a reputation and do irreversible damage. TLK Fusion Marketing says there are 3 ways to defend yourself and your business.
A common response to attack is to defend. Anger and vengeance might be top of mind. Stop and think before you act. Hasty responses could escalate the situation, and from the Twitter feuds as of late we can see how that turns out.
Want to have some fun? Google Celebrity Twitter feuds and you’ll be amazed at what you find. Many of these go viral. Sadly, when people allow their emotions to get the best of them they say (or write) things that are not in their best interest. And they do it in front of the whole world.
The worst thing about this is social media is unforgiving. Once it’s out there it’s out there. Tweets get retweeted and rumors can grow from there. Nobody stops to check to see if they are true.
“When you are attacked,” advises Collis, “avoid the temptation to retaliate. Ask yourself what might be the most constructive way to respond.” Some attempts to inflict damage are so outlandish most people will not believe them anyway. If so, be the bigger person and ignore it. If the accusations are slanderous and made in such a way that serious ramifications might ensue, you might consider dealing with them in another way.
In some cases, your reputation can be truly suffering from false accusations. In this case, legal action might be the best option. The decision to take legal action depends on the situation and desired outcome. Depending on the course you choose, it can be expensive. The first response might be to warn the accuser. Sometimes even a letter from your attorney will put a stop to further action on the part of the attacker.
Monitor Your Social Media Accounts
Monitoring your Facebook pages and other accounts is a wise practice. Will it protect you from accusations made by dissatisfied customers? No. Neither will it protect you from taking responsibility for factual reviews. But it will give you an opportunity to be aware of what’s being said about you or your business and to respond.
“Prompt responses to negative reviews demonstrates good customer service,” says Ken Collis. You might even turn the conversation around or put a positive spin on it.”
Is The Customer Always Right?
You can answer that question. Of course they are not. But if they are unhappy for any reason, ignoring the issue will not solve the problem. It will always make things worse. At the very least, you will likely lose a customer or client. At worst, the disgruntled person will smear their slant on the story all over social media and in face-to-face conversations with everyone they know.
The bottom line is this:
- Always resolve issues without retaliation.
- Deal with misunderstandings quickly and proactively.
- Attempt to resolve issues in a win-win fashion.
Remember this, even when you follow these three ways to handle attacks, the truth doesn’t always prevail, and there may be attempts to do harm to your reputation you can do nothing about. The only way to minimize altercations is always to follow decent business practices in the first place.