SuperSpark advises on social media attacks

Kallie from Bellville wants to know how to respond to an attack on social media.

He wrote,

Dear SuperSpark,

Three months after the 6-month perceived warranty as prescribed by the CPA, a customer expected me to carry the cost to repair the car’s gearbox. He had driven 42 000 kilometres during this time and also did not keep to the service intervals as prescribed by the manufacturer.

I therefore refused to be held liable for the costs.

The customer has since attacked my dealership and I on social media and has made false accusations.

How do I handle the situation?

SuperSpark replies: SuperSpark replies:

Dear Kallie,

A complaint on social media is always a difficult one. One of the most disturbing aspects of social media is, that anyone – regardless of qualifications or knowledge, can make false accusations with ease. Equally disturbing is that a significant number of people believe that everything on the Internet is true.

A single negative rating or review or story about someone can disproportionately stain an otherwise sterling reputation. It can be incredibly difficult to counter false accusations on social media, but there are steps you can take.

Determining your options when dealing with a social media situation can also be confusing and emotional. Feelings of anger or fear can provoke hasty decisions that harm ultimate objectives. In fact, knee-jerk reactions to a social media crisis can make problems much worse and create new problems that did not exist before. The key to success is to carefully consider all your options and select the best for your particular circumstance.

Always choose your actions carefully while keeping in mind your ultimate objectives. Poorly conceived actions often backfire.

You can choose to:

Do nothing
As strange as it sounds, sometimes the best action is no action. Attracting unwanted attention instead of avoiding it is called the "Streisand Effect".

Media response
Media response is reacting to a social media problem on public forums in the hope of turning public opinion in your favour. A media response can be on social media and/or mass media such as television, radio and print. It can be as simple as responding to a negative comment on Hellopeter.

The key is to apply enough pressure to let the other party know you are serious, but not so much that they immediately retreat to a defensive posture or double down on their attack.

Legal action
Legal action is the use of the law to achieve your objectives with a social media problem. It is rarely in the form of a full-blown trial like you see on TV. The clear majority of cases are settled long before that.

A social media problem can often be resolved with a single negotiation by your lawyer. Other times it requires the filing of legal papers, mediation, or going to court. A well-crafted legal plan should focus on ultimate objectives and anticipate actions of the other party. The law is designed to help aggrieved parties, so do not hesitate to use it to your advantage.

Always seek the advice of a qualified licensed attorney when dealing with a legal issue.

Gotta fly…


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