How to Fight Back Against Internet Trolls to Repair a Damaged Reputation

Has your Reputation been “trolled” on the Internet?
In today’s world, people make up stuff to damage reputations for both individuals and companies, either because they are paid to or just because they are bad people.

APRIL 16, 2018 – COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – In today’s world, people make up stuff to damage reputations for both individuals and companies, either because they are paid to or just because they are bad people. “Sometimes it’s tied to a legitimate effort to get a problem fixed or because they had an unusually bad experience, or maybe someone is making up lies simply trying to hurt someone else. Regardless of the reason – straightforward attacks, whether they’re written, spoken, or in a video or photo – can do an amazing amount of damage in this age of social media,” says Steve Leedom of Business Checkup, a Digital Marketing & Reputation Management company based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “You could literally wake up one morning and wonder where all your customers went. So protecting your reputation should have a higher priority than it probably currently does.”

In today’s world, the highest profile example of this – and what happens on a daily basis – are the “tweets” from President Donald J Trump and the responses from respected – as well as questionable – sources. It doesn’t matter what side of the issue you might be on, what you’re seeing is how Opinions now out-weight Facts. In legal terms, “defamation” must be a false statement of FACT that in-turns must harm a person’s or company’s reputation. Opinions on the other hand, are rarely a “sueable” offense. And so, this has made the Internet a fertile ground for anyone who has a grievance to proclaim or a cross to burn on someone else’s lawn.

In today’s world, “perception” is 100% reality. It doesn’t matter if you are a good person if people believe you aren’t, and it doesn’t matter if you have a quality product if people think it is crap. Before the Internet, people’s perceptions were based on their own experiences or word-of-month (that of their friends) experiences, and for a greater part… advertising. But now, when nearly everyone has a mobile phone that holds all the answers of the Universe within it…people’s perceptions are skewed. They are manipulated by opinion guised as fact, and they are manipulated by retaliation concealed as righteousness.

So, what can you do if your reputation is under attack? Can you bring a legal suit? (That’s highly unlikely.) Can you ask the website that has posted the offending or erroneous material to take it down? (You can, but that tends to go unanswered as most sites ignore such requests.) Can you post your own rebuttal? (If you can, and you’re a business or professional, this is a must first-step. Especially with customer reviews, write back a response. Explain your side and if you can, offer something back to the negative reviewer to appease their ego. Write your response, keeping in your mind those new potential customers who might be reading your reply. You want those people to come away with a positive experience even as they were reading about another person’s negative one. Remember, it’s about “perception” and you want to come out on top.)

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Steve Leedom also offers this advice: “First, Google yourself or your company once a month. You need to stay aware of what potential customers might see. Statistically, you only need to worry about what’s on Page 1. Less than 5% of people click to see Page 2. If you do have negative items appearing, and if they are customer reviews… start a program to get your happy customers to post reviews about their experience. Most businesses never ask their customers to do this, and it can be as simple as asking them to do this for you and then handing them a small card with a review website link as a reminder. Happy customers want to help and this is perhaps the easiest and most powerful thing any business professional or company can do to help protect their reputation. Even if you have 5 blistering complaints that make you look truly awful, if you also have 100 people singing praises for you, the “perception” swings in your favor and the 5 complainers are viewed as people who can never be satisfied even if they got what they asked for.”

Leedom also offers a free download on How to Guard Your Online Reputation.

The Last Word: What’s an Internet Troll? In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, opinionated untruths online. And the more they do on one particular person or company, then it is said they are “trolling.” And now you know.


Since 2010, Business Checkup has been committed to helping local business owners reach new customers in the ever-changing marketplace by providing outsourced advertising and digital marketing, as well as brand positioning and reputation management services.  

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