The internet is kind of like a Mad Max movie. It’s a wasteland where you can do pretty much whatever you want, be whoever you want to be, and do it all anonymously with virtually no sense of responsibility, giving you almost absolute freedom. And if you know a little HTML and some good SEO, you can bend the internet to your will.
On the one hand, this is great news for corporations. If you have enough money, you can hire the right people to get your company to the top of the search results and be extremely successful. On the other hand, it’s much easier for employees with a grudge or ne’er-do-wells who have a stake in making your company fail to attack you online and ruin your reputation, hurting your business.
Mad Max of the Internet
This anonymous wasteland of the internet allows for disgruntled former (or current) employees and customers to band together and create harmful online material that may defame or blatantly spread lies about your company’s service and intentions.
For example, let’s say you have a number of independent branches around the world, or maybe you have a few thousand independent marketers working out of their own homes. If one of these employees becomes disenfranchised (through no fault of your company’s) they may decide to strike back through a series of defaming, anonymous blog posts. Although this may only be one person, when other current or former independent marketers come across the remarks, they may be encouraged to comment or create their own anonymous blog posts about your company.
In essence, the internet makes it much easier for people with a grudge, compelled by their own misplaced sense of failure, to band together and create a virtual rebellion against your company.
But just like in “The Road Warrior,” you can be like Mad Max and devise a plan to get these outlaws off your back.
Monitor and Defuse
Far too many companies these days don’t feel that it is worth their time and effort to monitor their online reputation. So what if a failed salesman wants to complain about the company on their personal blog? But these little fires can rage into infernos if not taken care of immediately and in the right way.
First of all, you need to monitor the internet for mentions of your name, brand, and company. It might even be worth it to monitor mentions of your senior executive team. Then when you see a problem arise—be it a disgruntled employee or unhappy customer—you can easily become aware of the situation, offer your assistance, and help defuse the situation as quickly as possible.
In some instances, you may not be able to defuse the situation or have offensive material removed. But this is why it is important to turn to professional online reputation experts to make sure bad information doesn’t rise to the top of a search for your company name and turn away potential customers.
A Land Without Borders
The internet is a land without borders or entry requirements, a type of digital apocalyptic wasteland, where lawless individuals can attack you and your company at will. But if you have a plan in place, and can use the expertise of reputation experts, you’ll have a much better chance of coming out unscathed.