Until recently, the favourite mode of news and information consumption was mostly the journalists and the news channels. However, in the current times, on being asked about the source of news and information, it isn’t surprising to hear Facebook being quoted as a reliable & favourable medium. Facebook and other online social media channels are what we look towards to stay updated and informed about the current affairs.

We sometimes forget that any social media channel consists majorly of user generated content. This content is created with an intent to garner maximum visibility, likes, comments, etc. Quite a few brands resort to unethical techniques to push their content just to make their campaign go viral. A popular technique in this regard is to create ‘fake news’ for instant popularity or click baits for instant gratification. This practice has led quite a few sources of fake news to mushroom. These fake news items, when compared to a genuine news are a lot tougher to verify or trace back to their origin.

Added to this list is the huge amount of satirical or comic content that is created to poke some harmless fun. However, in this era of information overload, this may create a lot of confusion and chaos. Any content that is being pushed hard at the social media users’ faces is accepted without much scepticism and believed simply because it seems true and is right in front of you.

Social media is a democratic world where anyone can post anything. Brands approach popular bloggers to review their products for the benefit of prospective consumers. This too has turned into a money-making arrangement, where the reviews may be falsified or biased. This is of particular importance as a huge number of consumers make their buying decisions based on the reviews available online.

The consumers too are catching on to this now. Extreme brand promotions or PR actually is beginning to affect them negatively as they perceive a trickery on the brand’s part. Some of the consumers can, in fact, call this bluff and initiate negative campaigns for these brands thus tarnishing the brand reputation putting a question mark on their credibility & authenticity.

To combat fake news on the social media circuit, a brand needs to look at the following four strategies:

Being Honest

Facts have a way of coming out to the public. It is imperative that you stay upfront about your mistakes as it further strengthens your credibility. In case any fake news makes way to the media, it is always a good idea to clarify your position succinctly. The other way is to build a sound goodwill for your brand, rendering the negative hype ineffective.

Knowing Your Consumer

The fake news is often created by fringe media publications. It is important to know where your consumers are going to get their information. Building a healthy relationship with reputed media houses and publications gives you an opportunity to defend yourself.

Cultivating Loyalty For The Brand

Give your consumers values and quality that they can trust and create a loyalty for the brand. Offer exclusivity, incentives and use cause marketing to create an experience that the users would like to come back to. Utilise the social media positively; this will only help you effectively combat any fake negativity that might come your way.

Building Online Brand Reputation

Highlight your positives in the online world so that they see the good in you. Building online brand reputation is an indispensable task in today’s time. Ask your consumers for honest reviews. Provide informative articles or other written pieces across media to augment your credibility in the targeted demographic. Team up with the right people to create content that is authentic and mutually beneficial to reach out to the relevant audience.

The Current Trend of ‘Fake News’ and Its Impact on Brands
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