There are few acceptable instances for getting heavy-handed on social media. Facing a personal attack on your reputation is one of them.
Being active on social media platforms is like a double edged sword. It has the potential of making you popular, but it’s also an open invitation to cybercriminals and attackers. There are a lot of people out there whose idea of fun consists in posting false and defamatory complaints, accusations, facts, reviews. You need to be careful when choosing how to respond.
Try to understand who the attackers are, the reasons behind their attack, and their point of view.
Acknowledge their post with a short and polite reply then take the conversation offline. It may be a phone call, an email, a letter, etc. Take a friendly approach but tell the attackers clearly how their argument is mistaken. Provide the correct information and explanations and show how they can make things right. Subtly suggest that if you don’t solve this in an amicable way, you’ll take more drastically measures.
Ask Them to Delete the Comment
The only way to avoid browsers showing the post is by deleting it. Google’s first response to searching your name will be the negative post thanks to its popularity. Few people will bother looking for updates.
If the situation permits you to delete it yourself, it’s best not to unless necessary. It would seem that you have something to hide.
Choose Your Online Reaction
If the situation allows it, you can ban or block the attackers as most social media platforms have these options. You may choose to ignore them, but your followers may take their words to heart, causing the lie to spread like a virus. Besides, research has shown that 1 out of 3 people who receive a response to their complaint end up re-posting a positive message. Keep in mind, though, that a defensive and angry reply will, most probably, end up in escalating their behavior. Try not to get drawn into their game.
More advice on how to respond to an online attack can be given by a privacy and reputation management team.
If they still see it as a joke, show them just how serious you are.
- Report them to their registrar.
- Report them to their hosting company.
- Report them to their social network.
- Report them to Google.
Consider Taking Legal Action
It’s a bit complicated because to make a strong case you need a lot of evidence, money and time. Another problem is that while you’re waiting for the verdict, the misinformation is still there causing damage.
When you achieve the desired outcome, regardless of the way you do it, keep your eyes wide open for twisted variations your situation generated. Make sure to nip them in the bud. Otherwise, people may end up believing them to be true.
The best solution to reputation management, though, is to build a strong, trustworthy brand and a supportive community around it. Having an action plan for when situations like this occur is also a good idea.
Choose your “weapons” carefully because the way you use them can benefit you as well. An attack can end up being an opportunity.