In the last few years, the term ‘fake news’ has become pervasive.

Named the word of the year in 2017, fake news is seen to be one of the most dangerous threats to free debate and democracy, causing tensions between many nations. It might even lead to the regulation of what people can say on social media.

Fake news, as the word implies, is the spread of untruthful information through news sites and on social media. Truthfully, fake news has been around since the creation of news itself.

While social media has increased the speed and ease at which information is spread, combatting this phenomenon means going back to the roots of public relations (PR).

Here are some strategies to help keep your brand free from fake news.

  1. Tell the truth: Telling the truth is vital. The truth always has a way of coming out, so being upfront about any mistakes you’ve made can help your brand gain credibility and make your audience trust you.
  2. Understand your audience: Most of the fake quotes and interviews we read on social media usually come from fringe news sites. Knowing and understanding what articles your audience consumes can help avoid potential scandals. Also establishing relationships with credible news organisations can help defend yourself from any backlash.
  3. Maintain your online reputation: When you search your organisation online, the more positive results, the better. Spend time building your online reputation by asking your customers for honest reviews. Write newsworthy and authoritative articles for online news outlets and blogs that will interest your target audience. Try and get as much content online as possible but remember it must be authentic.
  4. Build your brand loyalty: Give your target audience something to believe in. Use incentives and marketing to keep your customers coming back. That way, you can avoid the backlash from false articles, as your customers will be loyal to your brand. They will even more likely cut you some slack or even stand up for you on social media.