Three Tips for Confronting and
Dealing with Business Rumors
Most business owners are thrilled when people are talking about their company. Whether it’s devoted customers singing the praises of their products and services to their friends, or people who are simply spreading a positive story that they heard about the company. All of this happy chit chat can serve as free advertising.
But what if the rumor mill goes haywire and people start spreading negative news about a company? Untrue or not, business rumors can spread like wildfire and can fuel an urban legend type of phenomenon where suddenly a story spirals out of control and a company’s bottom line is affected. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tactics that business owners can use when faced with untrue business rumors.
Acknowledge What People Are Saying and Educate Them
While it might be tempting to make like an ostrich, stick your head in the proverbial sand and wait for the rumor to magically go away, try the “take the bull by the horns” approach. Business owners who address rumors head on will be more in control of the situation and can take the opportunity to address what is being said and correct it. For example, one company that has confronted business rumors in a positive and educational way is Amway. When people claimed that Amway was a pyramid scheme, they got to work correcting this misinformation. Rather than ignore these incorrect assertions, they posted an educational blog on its site that acknowledges these rumors and then sets the record straight. In addition to explaining how the company works, the article on the company website explains how they are a direct selling organization and not a pyramid scheme.
Focus On The Positive
If a rumor about a company is so outlandish, for example, that a major fast food chain is serving boneless meat orbs rather than actual chicken or beef, it might be best to respond by flooding the market with positive press about the company that distracts the public from the crazy rumor. Business owners can work with their marketing team to draft press releases and produce commercials that tout their commitment to quality and their outstanding products; while not addressing the over-the-top rumors, it will let consumers know the truth. These ad campaigns can also remind customers about a company’s many strong points, including their commitment to quality, their honesty about what goes into their products and their outstanding reputation in the business world.
Harness The Power of Social Media
Business owners who are suddenly faced with unfair rumors about their business should consider using social media to address the situation. Coincidentally, social media is often where incorrect business rumors get started and then spread like wildfire, so it’s a reasonable approach to use this same medium to quell the rumors. Business owners can set up Facebook pages that will help to target a specific demographic, location and interest group. Company owners that see a flurry of rumor filled posts from teens about their business can then use Facebook to target that demographic with uplifting and truthful posts about their company. Facebook and other sites like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are also great ways for companies to reach a huge number of customers, engage them in conversations, highlight milestones and more. Social media also allows business owners to post photos that can show consumers how high quality their products and services are.
The Rumor Mill Does Not Have To Win
Business owners who hear unfair rumors about their companies do not have to take it lying down, nor do they have to fire back in a mean way at the people who are spreading the misinformation. By adopting a calm approach that focuses on the positive, educating consumers and reaching consumers where they gossip on social media, businesses should get through these rumor filled bumps in the road in no time.