Unfortunately, trolls no longer just come out at Halloween — they are a year-round annoyance. If you have a presence on social media, you will surely have had to deal with trolls at times. Although some social media platforms are improving the way they handle trolls (especially YouTube), others, like Facebook, are getting even worse.
Now, more than ever, coping with trolls is in the hands of the users themselves — particularly businesses, who need to maintain their image. It is essential to handle trolls the right way if you are going to keep your followers happy. However, as trolls attack for no reason, your strategy needs to be completely different to the one you use for unsatisfied customers and bad reviews.
1. Set Rules
Make it clear that you will not tolerate trolling by specifying clear rules for user comments and include these rules somewhere on your social media profiles. If trolling is becoming a major problem, you may even like to post the requirements as an update.
2. Ignore Them
A social media post that is receiving a lot of attention is a favorite lurking place of trolls. However, the large number of comments can help a troll response fade into the background. As trolls are only looking for attention, ignoring them is often the best way to make them go away.
If you do respond, you only increase the likelihood that others join in and create a conversation. By ignoring trolls, you set a good example that others can follow.
3. Turn the Tables
Trolls want to upset people and stir up trouble. If you feel capable, turn the tables. Your best option is humor, but you do need to be careful that followers will definitely find your response funny. Plus, the comeback must fit with your brand image.
4. Delete Their Posts
In other cases, deleting trolls’ posts is necessary. Remember, you have no obligation to keep all the comments you receive. Delete anything that is offensive. Also, delete threads if other users start engaging with the troll and things get out of hand.
You can ban trolls from leaving further comments, but you should use this tactic with caution. There is a big difference between trolling and leaving negative feedback.
5. Prove Them Wrong
If a troll is making false claims about your products or services, provide proof to show that this is untrue. Proof can take the form of facts or statistics, but even better may be the word of a satisfied customer.
6. Promote Your Business Elsewhere
It is important to use more than just social media to build your online presence. A failing point, especially of small businesses, is to think that it requires too much hard work to create and manage a website. Not only do you have much more control over content, you’ll be able to create the image you want for your company without the risk of it being distorted.
Plus, with an optimized website, you’ll improve your rankings in the search results and even improve the search results themselves. When people search for your company name, there will be a greater chance that they see content you have created than ugly comments from trolls.
To deal with trolls as early as possible, it’s a good idea to have someone monitoring your social media profiles. This is most important for small, local businesses for whom an offensive comment could have a significant impact.
Besides, it is a good idea to include an active presence on social media as part of your marketing strategy. Spending time on social media serves other purposes — from answering queries to learning about the people who make up your audience.
The frequency you’ll need to monitor accounts will depend on the extent of your online presence. Bear in mind that if you’re on Twitter, the likelihood is that you’ll need to spend the majority of your time there. Twitter receives far more trolls than anywhere else — according to The Guardian, it receives 88 percent of the total incidents of trolling.
Whatever you do, never let trolls get you down. With proper management, you can keep trolls in their place and maintain your reputation online.