Has Your Business Been Subject to Online Attack by Trolls? (Ours has!)
We have all seen the squabbles and fights on social media between celebrities over harmful comments made. We are all aware of the trolls that take pleasure in bringing celebrities and others down, just for the sake of it. We have seen tearful reality TV stars talking about the vicious trolling attacks they have suffered on line, for no apparent reason, but what happens if it is your business that is being trolled?
Yes, it has happened to us!
Even as the second oldest detective agency in the world, we are not immune from attack. Over a part of last year, Wilsons Detectives suffered at the hands of online trolls, whose aim apparently was to destroy trust in our organisation. Fortunately our clients realised that the negative comments and other allegations, were merely an effort to damage our business. Nevertheless, for new clients, it may be more difficult for them to see past these untruths. And we are not alone, as many businesses are suffering these potentially damaging actions by third parties.
What is Online Trolling?
Trolling online is described as being the action of somebody who deliberately posts offensive, provocative or untrue negative comments about an individual or business. The result as far as businesses concerned will be damage to their reputation. Indeed online reputation recovery is one of the many services offered by Wilsons Detectives, so we know a bit about it!
Where do the Trolls strike?
Trolls will often post on forums, online sites and of course social media sites that are ranked highly by Google. The problem with this is, that when anyone searches using a company’s name will end up seeing the malicious comments left by trolls as well.
The High Court and Online Trolling.
The numbers of these kinds of cases but turning up in court are increasing. Ignyte recently wrote about a BBC report that a former Morgan Stanley banker took Google to the High Court after search results turned up several malicious posts about him. His name was Daniel Hegglin.
Mr Hegglin first realised that he was being trolled in 2011 and went on to discover over three and a half thousand websites that contained abusive and untrue information about him. He brought the situation to the attention of Google and rather than asking Google to remove the websites from search results which with the sheer number would’ve been very time-consuming and expensive, Mr Hegglin took out an injunction against Google in the High Court to force them to make sure that searches for his name did not reveal the defamatory posts. This case was eventually settled, but as is often the case the damage had already been done.
An Issue for Business Small and Large Business
The case we are just mentioned involved financial giant Morgan Stanley. What about small businesses that don’t have unlimited capital to fight their trolls? Well smaller businesses have to do what we had to do and that is become proactive.
The first aim of any business that finds itself under attack by trolls should be to address that attack fast.
A company will have the best chance of making sure that damaging content about them does not make it onto Google first page and put potential customers off, if it can build the strongest online presence possible.
These are some management techniques to apply to your online- reputation that we use to help our clients and have had to use to help ourselves too! Promote your business online and build the reputation of your business on line by:
· The Press Can Be Your Friend Newspapers carry high authority with Google so promote your business in the press and actively work with positive PR in trade publications as well as the national as well as the local press.
· Join Trade Organisations. Even although social media and other professional media-sites can be places that Trolls will operate, there are also good places for networking with organisations and people of influence in your area geographically and in terms of the work you do.
· Socialise! Another familiar buzz phrase – corporate-social-responsibility (CSR) means identifying and then being involved with projects in the community that may help you with the promotion of your company or business and also give a boost to that all important online reputation.
· Associate! Having associations with recognised professional or trade organisations can also be a big help in providing skills that you may need; anything from policy and best practice to business development. This will also help boost your online profile.
· Grit your teeth. As unpleasant as it may be to see untrue and hurtful remarks online, aimed at your business it is very important that you know exactly what is being said why and also when it is being posted. Keeping an eye on feedback and any other input to your online forums etc. will better enable you to address this kind of negative and malicious trolling, before you are faced with a crisis.
At Wilsons Detectives we know that nobody is immune from negative attention whether this originates from competitors or people who just find it amusing to be malicious or in our case wrongdoers that we have exposed, online trolling has the ability to have a devastating effect on a business no matter what size it is. At Wilsons we deal with many cases where client’s online reputation has been damaged. If you have suffered a similar trolling attack contact us for advice and help before the situation escalates.