When it comes to rumour management, the first step is to pick up the rumours. Use Google Alerts or similar programs to collect on a daily or weekly basis, comments that are being said about you or your organisation, or product. Use Twitter search to check if you are trending - for the worse... It's no good relying on traditional paper cutting services - the Interest is a hotbed of gossip, much of which never makes it into the printed papers.
The best form of rumour management is prevention. Make sure there is lots of positive content about yo, your product or your organisation on the Web. Use facts and details to enhance your credibility. Use Twitter to post content and to link to content. Retweet content which relates positively to you.
When something crops up, contact people directly and engage them in discussion (either on or off the web). Ignore them at your peril. "Nipping in the bud" is the name of the rumour management game. Ask your advocates to speak up for you using their social media methods. Remember Twitter is one way you can provide good answers to questions and allow others to see these answers.
If it gets really big, then call in a Crisis Management expert.It's unlikely that in-house communications departments will have the experience and expertise to manage an Internet based communications mess.
Here are some case studies:
- Guardian newspaper article referring to the 2011 London Riots and how Twitter was used to knock-down rumours
- Guardian resources provide various info graphics to show how rumours spread on Twitter - fascinating