Who hasn’t used user generated review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to find a hotel in an uncharted destination, coffee in an unfamiliar part of town, or a restaurant for a first date, but imagine if that restaurant didn’t exist. And not just any restaurant, but London’s #1 restaurant on TripAdvisor.
It seems hard to believe, right? But if you have 17 minutes to watch the video below, you will learn about a freelance journalist’s endeavor to create a fake restaurant, replete with images, website, and a heap load of fake reviews to help it top the list of London’s best eateries beating out Michelin-starred chefs and culinary mainstays.
TripAdvisor responded to this rouse, stating “According to a 2015 PhoCusWright study commissioned by TripAdvisor, 93% of TripAdvisor users said they find the reviews they read to be accurate of the actual experience. No organization, business or person in the world has more incentive than TripAdvisor to ensure the reliability of the content on our site.”
But unlike the journalist who created this fake restaurant, what about those whose very purpose is to mislead the public about your brand, whether propagating salacious headlines to encourage shares or paying for negative online reviews—here’s some tips if your brand falls victim to fake news.
Time is of the essence so when you discover an untruth making its way around the internet, act quickly. Work with a PR team to craft an honest, well-thought-out response that clarifies the truth.
Enlist your social media and owned channels to help disseminate your statement. You may consider a digital media buy to help counter the negative news.
Mobilize employees and influencers as brand messengers. They know your brand best so allow them to deflect the fake news and point people to the company’s official statement.