If you are being attacked on social media, however unfairly, you need to act decisively to protect your reputation

Influencers, competitive esports players, gamers, streamers and YouTubers are the new stars of social media – and they are being scrutinised like never before.

Several have recently been accused of inappropriate behaviour and, although the allegations were first published on social media channels, they were then picked up by journalists and repeated in the mainstream media.

We were asked to protect the reputation of a prolific YouTuber with around 10 million subscribers. Two of this influencer’s ex-partners had used social media to accuse him of serious sexual misconduct. They produced no evidence for their allegations, presenting them as fact, and in the courtroom of social media opinion that can be enough to destroy an individual’s reputation.

Our client vehemently refuted the allegations, but unverified claims made on Twitter had been reported without qualification by the BBC, causing untold damage to his brand. As speculation snowballed on Twitter, his followers and subscribers misinterpreted his silence as an admission of guilt.

We helped our client to regain control of the narrative by addressing the allegations directly through a heartfelt statement, published on Twitter – the same medium on which he had first been accused of misconduct. We gave him a voice, allowing him to communicate directly with his followers on his own terms.

After the statement was published, it quickly became one of his most viewed Tweets. It was picked up and shared by his followers.

We ensured that we understood the client’s brand relationships and partnerships, and the potential impact of the allegations on outstanding sponsorship contracts at stake. We were then able to advise the client on a strategy for returning to his video live streaming platform.

We recommended a soft return, beginning in Subscriber Only Mode to give him and his chat moderators the opportunity to screen his interactions and to control the conversation. We provided him with responses and polite shutdowns, minimising the danger that he might be drawn into difficult or inflammatory conversations whilst legal action remained a possibility.

Once our client had published his statement, we rigorously monitored all social media channels, using our social listening software. As soon as the statement was posted, positive sentiment increased significantly, with a notable decrease in negative sentiment. Conversation surrounding the topic plummeted.

There was no further follow-up to the BBC story; following our client’s rebuttal, the story was not picked up by other influential news platforms, or the gaming media, minimising its online footprint. There was no notable decline in our client’s follower or subscriber counts.

"I can’t thank you for enough for helping me to articulate what I wanted to say in the right way and for your invaluable strategic counsel. Your support and advice helped me to deal with the most difficult episode I have ever faced and I couldn’t have done it without you."
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