One of the unfortunate side effects of social networking-media is
dealing with Internet hate trolls. These anonymous consumers seem to
exist just to spite you. They love stirring up trouble,
attacking your brand and lambasting your company on every forum,
blog and social network they can find. Maybe they are a former
customer with an axe to grind. Maybe they’re just looking to
pick a fight. Whatever the reason, almost every company is going
to have to handle a social media troll at some point.
Here are 5 ways to help you better manage the social networking
Social Media trolls:
1. Establish Ground Rules
You want to make sure that the troll doesn’t make your company
end up looking like the bad guy. Before trolls become an issue,
establish a set of ground rules for commenting on your social
profiles. Let you audience know what kind of behavior will and
will not be allowed. If a troll posts something offensive or
abusive on your Facebook wall and you decide to delete it, let
your network know that it’s because you won’t tolerate that
kind of belligerent attitude, not because they don’t like your
company. Just make sure you play by your own rules!
2. Don’t Try to “Disappear” Them
If someone leaves a comment on your Facebook wall that you
don’t like, you have the ability as the page owner to delete
that comment. Seems like the best way of dealing with a troll,
right? Not necessarily. Trying to just “delete” your trolls
and their comments might come across like you have something to
hide or are trying to drown our dissenting opinions. It may
cause your real social network to question your integrity. If
things get really heated, find a way to take the conversation
off of your social profile without just deleting it entirely.
3. Kill Them With Kindness
It almost never pays to get into a spitting match with a social
troll. They don’t have anything to risk by getting involved in
an online feud; you do. Your brand and online reputation are up
for grabs when you start fighting with a troll on a social
networking site. You may not like what they have to say, but
don’t get angry and use social media to vent. The person who is
handling your social media marketing cannot afford to take it
personally! The troll isn’t attacking one particular employee;
they are going after your brand. As long as you stay polite and
courteous, your company will come out on top.
4. Reach Out for Support
If you’ve taken the time to do your social media marketing
right, you’ve probably built up a strong and solid network of
brand loyalists. If one troll seems intent on picking a fight,
have your social network come to your defense. Ask your Friends,
Fans and Followers to post/Tweet/blog or share their opinions of
your company. Chances are your social network is more than
willing to police itself. Users are smart, and they can tell
when someone is trying to cause trouble for no reason. Having
that much support shows the trolls that they are facing a much
bigger fight then they thought.
5. Actually Listen
This might sound a little crazy, but you do have to pay
attention to what the trolls are saying. They might not be the
only ones who feel so negatively about your brand, even if they
are taking it to an extreme level. Let’s say you have 1,000
Facebook fans, but only 200 have commented on your Facebook
page. Those 200 comments may or may not represent majority
opinion. Sure, you have to take the comments of a social troll
with a grain of salt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn
something about your audience at large if you dig deeper.
Sometimes a troll is nothing more than a very upset customer.
You want to make sure there aren’t other customers this upset
with your brand. Once you understand the problem, you can
address and fix it.
Sooner or later, just about every company will have to deal with
a social troll. It isn’t worth the risk of damage to your brand
to get involved in a public fight with one of them. Remember to
take the high road and your online reputation won’t suffer
because of it.