There is no denying how powerful social media marketing can be when it is utilized correctly. Unfortunately, however, fake news can have a huge effect when it is combined with social media.
With how quickly news of any kind (both real and fake) travels because of social media, it can be very difficult to combat any claims that are made regarding your business. So, you may be wondering exactly how fake news can affect social media marketing.
Here is everything you need to know about how fake news can potentially affect social media.
What Exactly is ‘Fake News’?
The term fake news was made popular during former President Trump’s presidential campaign. In the political world, it can mean various things to various people depending on their point of view. But in the business world the term is used to describe fake stories created and spread over the internet to provoke and drive up interest or outrage.
How Does Fake News Relate to Your Business?
As an example of how fake news can quickly spread and affect a business, pretend that there is a personal trainer who has a new client special in order to get some new training clients. Now there is a current client who gets upset that they are not able to get that same discount (as they are not a new training client).
This now ex-training client goes on their social media accounts and claims that the personal trainer wouldn’t give a discount to him because the trainer is a racist. While the trainer has no idea this is happening, by the time he finds out it is too late.
The news of the racist personal trainer has already spread all over town and nobody wants to train with him anymore. While this is not true, the shock value this fake news has incited will be very hard to undo, even if the person making the claims admits that it is a bogus claim.
Can Fake News Help Your Business?
While fake news can very quickly increase the number of page views or website visits you receive, it is not something that should be used with your business ever. In fact, fake news is something that will never be able to help your business, no matter what.
As soon as your customers realize that they have been tricked by fake news, they will not only lose any and all confidence in your business brand, but the negative signals also have the potential to damage your SEO rankings.
So you not only have customers who don’t trust your brand, but you are losing your ranking in Google and other search engines as well. These are both things that have the power to shut down a business.
Now that you are aware of exactly what fake news is and how it can damage a business, you may be wondering how it can affect your social media marketing efforts.
Fake News with Social Media Marketing
To sum up how fake news can affect social media marketing in one word, that word is bad. With all of the fake news floating around on social media right now, it makes it much tougher to get your authentic message across to your target audience.
Rest assured though; all is not lost! Here are some tips to make sure everybody knows that what you are saying is 100% authentic and not fake news.
- Know that more and more social media users are becoming aware and skeptical of ‘sponsored content’. This means that you will need to cite third-party references. When you do this, your content will be labeled appropriately, and any potential bias will be completely transparent.
- Refer only to authentic media to maintain and even gain back the trust of your audience (if mistakes were previously made).
- Always do your due diligence. The more research you do, the better. It is the lazy people who don’t check their facts who will end up promoting fake news. As soon as this happens, you are putting your business at risk for damaging its reputation on a very large scale.
- Make sure you only create and post content that is honest and authentic.
- Be sure that you only use powerful headlines and an accurate representation of the content you are promoting. On top of that, if you are planning on using images, be sure that they are appropriate for the content.
- Whenever you are promoting anything on social media, be sure that you use emotionally engaging content, have strong images, and content that is ‘shareable’.
- Never use your business page to repost or even post anything that is unsubstantiated or considered to be a rumor. Wait until all of the facts are known and whether or not that information is accurate.
Protecting Your Business from Fake News on Social Media
There are too many businesses to list that have been effectively crippled by malicious targeting and fake news on social media. Something goes viral and all of a sudden everybody thinks that you’re the bad guy even though you have done nothing wrong.
If you do find yourself in this position, there are a few things you can do to somewhat contain the damage that has been done.
- Whenever you come across fake news about your business on social media, report it by marking it as spam.
- If you notice that your business is continuously being targeted with different types of fake news, notify the social media platform that it is happening on and let them know that your business is being targeted.
- If you are getting negative, malicious reviews, you always have the option to prevent visitors from posting and turning off the review function for your account.
Fake news is something that all businesses will need to face at some point or another. While not all fake news will be on a worldwide, grand scale, it is still something that will need to be dealt with.
By following the tips above, you will be able to keep your business clear of any fake news and continue to use social media marketing to grow your business.