They're Out There. Protect Your Business' Social Media from Trolls.
Your presence on social media is booming and you’re finally getting engagement from your audience on your posts. But with this success and positive vibes online, you’ve noticed that a few of your followers have left some less than flattering engagement on your posts. These could be customers, people who have interacted with you online, someone whom you’ve never seen before or spambots.
It’s important to separate the genuinely disgruntled and concerned customers from spam and from the trolls. Spam comments are those that come from an automated source and often don’t make sense or appear suspicious right away. They have multiple grammatical and spelling errors, come from an email or account that isn’t valid, as well as often times the comment itself is not even relevant to what you’ve posted. These types of comments can be deleted without a second thought.
Trolls on the other hand, are those social media users (real users) who get their kicks from posting and commenting negatively all the time. And, they always seem to pop up from under that bridge whenever you least expect it. If this happens, here are some helpful tips to take care of those trolls for good.
#1 - Determine if they’re actually a troll. Read the posts and comments carefully to decipher whether the person genuinely has a point to what they are angry about, which means they could be a disgruntled customer. Usually a troll will have taken the time to think of something to say that motivates your business to fix the problem or stirs up a negative reaction. Other times, they’re angry and don’t put too much thought into their posts, but they’re still genuinely upset with your business. If you find the person has gotten incredibly personal by using obscenities and vulgar language, they may be a troll. Trolls don’t believe in using proper english or grammar and find pleasure in ensuring their comments are as unreadable yet still use as much explicit profanity as possible.
#2 - Never call them out or stoop down to their level. Be sure to take a few moments, a couple deep breaths, and a break away from your computer to think about how you want to answer their comments by staying positive and aligning with your business values. You want every post on social media to represent your business, so be sure to direct that mindset to your comments and interactions as well.
#3 - Ask them to contact you privately. This tip can be caught with a little bit of controversy as many will say that commenting and asking them to speak with you privately (either through direct messaging or phone, etc.) is a method of ending a conflict with a copy and paste emotionless reply. Be sure to respond with a personalized, personable answer that lets them know that their opinion matters to you, and that you don’t want to lose track of the conversation. Point out that it’s in their best interest to switch communication mediums.
#4 - You could ignore them. This is another one of those controversial tips that may or may not work for your business. By not feeding them, you might make them search elsewhere to get their pleasure, but your loyal followers might decide to throw a few slices of bread in there to keep them happy enough to stick around. Or, it might not work at all and your silence turns into either them getting nastier in their rage or your customers could see the post and believe that what they’ve said is true. It might be best to do something rather than nothing at all.
#5 - If all else fails, block them and delete their posts, but only do this if you know for sure that they’re on there to troll and aren’t genuinely trying to get in contact with you regarding a legitimate concern they have. If the troll’s posts and comments were exceptionally nasty and have gotten very public, post an apology to your audience and then move on. Don’t dwell on the posts or let them keep you from communicating with your audience.
#6 - Don’t forget to report the user to the platform’s administrators. If there’s one great thing about Facebook, it’s their administrators are quick to act on concerns and complaints. When you’re blocking the troll, be sure to tell Facebook why and choose to report instead of let it go, this may prevent them from creating a new account with the intention of reappearing in the near future.
#7 - Don’t fight back unless you know you’re stronger. Making threats that you’ll hand over their ip address to the police if they don’t stop will probably open up your social media platform to a stream of more hate. Instead, respond back with something kind and polite while still putting them in their place. Extra points if you can say something that will literally stunt them from being able to respond or will resonate with your other followers.
In the end, just remember, where anger feeds them, laughter can kill a troll in a heartbeat.
Kimberley Falk - Multimedia Writer