Managing a Cancel Culture Attack: 4 Steps
Believe it or not, cancel culture can happen to you. Fueled by the power of the internet, cancel culture is a frightening phenomenon that occurs when online mobs mobilize to attack an individual or business whose views, actions or brand does not mesh with their own.
Cancel culture is commonly associated with the rich and famous, who are often targeted by naysayers who mobilize online to “cancel” them. But celebrities and the wealthy are better positioned to weather an attack on their character, their brand or their actions. For regular citizens, the fallout can be devastating.
Cancel culture refers to the boycotting or silencing of someone whose views or beliefs you do not share. The anonymity of the internet cloaks online attackers who subsequently feel empowered to rage against targets to whom they may have no personal connection.
The goal of these vicious online attacks is designed to silence those with opposing views. But often the attackers are acting on half-truths and lies, which they share online until the falsehoods are assumed to be true. Fighting back can be tricky business when you don’t know who your attackers are, what lies they are spreading and what you can do to counteract false claims that are being viewed as truth.
Knowing when to get professional help or guidance is key to surviving a cancel culture assault.
Emerging from a cancel culture attack unscathed can hinge upon when, if and how you respond to online accusations. Firing off a knee-jerk response can sometimes cause more harm than good.
Here are 4 tips to managing a cancel culture attack:
1. Monitor social media channels:
Cancel culture is made possible by social media, which is mechanism that facilitates the lightning-fast spread of ugly rumors. Knowing what is being said about you or your brand online at all times is essential if you want to stave off a spiraling trail of lies and innuendo.
Social media monitoring software is an excellent way to keep tabs on what is being said about you or your brand online. This specialized software allows you to set up alerts with key words, so you get notices every time your name or brand is mentioned online. Monitoring what is being said about your brand online will help you gauge the seriousness of the online attack and what kind of long-term harm it might pose to you or your business.
2. Push out positive content:
One of the most effective ways to battle negative content is to edge it out with positive content. If naysayers post unfavorable content about you or your brand, fight back by posting positive content. Hype the strengths and the unique characteristics that make you or your brand valuable and create timeless content that you can reuse again and again. Flooding your social media channels with positive content will direct attention away from the bad and also push the negative content down lower in the search engines.
3. Weigh risk before responding:
If you did something wrong or said something improper, apologize and try to make it right. Ignoring a misstep never sits well. If the mistake was inadvertent, correct it, apologize and explain that the gaffe was not intentional with the understanding that cancel culture “vultures” may be unwilling to forgive or forget. Apologizing if you did nothing wrong may cause more harm than help. And sometimes an apology is not in order.
4. Press the truth:
When a crisis occurs, you can’t afford to be passive. Taking control of the narrative is being forward-thinking, assertive and strategic. It is the difference between letting the chips fall where they may and steering a story in a specific direction so you can influence its trajectory. Taking action to push out the truth is an excellent way to cut through the noise. When a cancel culture attack takes place, reputations must be defended. Doing so requires skilled crisis communications practitioners who know the value of sharing facts so the truth can surface.
Red Banyan’s cancel culture and reputation repair experts have years of experience handling cancel culture attacks and can help you take control of the narrative and steer the conversation the way you desire. Contact Red Banyan to find out the most effective ways to contain a cancel culture attack.