Okay, first thing’s first. What is a social media troll?
I’m glad you asked. Social Media Examiner explains that “trolls are the people online who purposefully stir up trouble in social media communities.”
Where do they hang out?
On social media, usually in the comments, and sometimes in the reviews sections.
How do you differentiate a troll from an upset customer?
We wish we could say that everyone is a happy customer when they leave your business, but that’s not always the case. So what’s the main difference between trolls and unhappy customers? Usually, trolls aren’t looking for resolution. They are only looking to fight—over the internet where they have a big audience.
How do you deal with trolls?
Deep breath. Trolls are stressful, but jumping right into a response just gives them what they want. Take a minute to figure out the right response for your brand and its reputation.
At TrustWorkz, we’ve established a process for these types of scenarios. The best way to end up on top is truly to prepare for the unexpected. Take a look at our recommendations:
If you choose to engage…
- Take the conversation offline. Things can become heated very quickly. Our recommendation is to ask the commenter to private message, email, or call you so that you can discuss the situation in a more private manner. It’s important to reply using only facts, not emotion or opinion. That will only feed the trolls.
Why engaging matters
- Asking trolls to reach out privately shows other customers that you are serious when it comes to issues about your company, brand, or service. It also prevents the situation from spiraling—a surefire way to drive off potential customers.
PRO TIP: Feeling funny? You could reply with humor. Lots of big brands like Wendy’s, Moon Pie, Arby’s and Charmin are taking their stand against trolls with quick and comical responses. Keep in mind that this tactic should depend on what was initially said by the troll.
If you choose to ignore the haters…
- We don’t always recommend this route, but it’s important to recognize when engaging will create a bigger problem. Sometimes people are only interested in arguing. They’ll drag out a long debate—hiding behind their computers—instead of actually addressing the issue at hand.
PRO TIP: This could be a great time for your brand ambassadors to step in on your behalf. This should be someone who is passionate about your company or brand like one of your regulars, or even a current employee.
Why keeping quiet matters
- Does a commenter seem more interested in stirring up emotions than getting a resolution for their problem? These types of scenarios reveal true internet trolls and giving them the satisfaction of a reply will only feed the monster.
If you choose to hide it…
- Sometimes a comment is just plain bad for business. If someone makes a crude, rude, or inflammatory comment, it’s best to remove it from your timeline. These types of people are out for no good.
Why hiding comments matters
- Although we don’t want crude comments on our social media profiles, these types of comments make things a little easier. Why? Because there is no need to decide if this comment should stay visible. These types of comments stick out like a sore thumb. Don’t engage them. Rather, we recommend hiding trolling comments so that they don’t escalate from a single comment to a negative review.
PRO TIP: Keeping an eye on your social media accounts twice a day (at minimum) and sifting through your notifications will help you stay on top of any issues that may arise.
If you choose to delete…
- There are many cases where deleting the comment is the best course of action. These include but are not limited to: profanity, harassment, inappropriate photos, competitor posts, blatant spam, or selling of a product/service.
Why deleting troll content matters
- It is so important to have a clear and concise plan of action because it’s not a matter of “will it happen?” but rather “when will it happen?” If our team sees user content that checks any of the above boxes, we don’t hesitate to delete, and you shouldn’t either.
NOTE: At TrustWorkz, we call this tactic the “insta-delete”‘—because we are deleting it so fast that it’s practically instant. 😉
If you choose to block trolls…
- This is the last resort, but sometimes it comes down to blocking users from your page.
Why blocking trolls matters
- When dealing with an especially persistent, vulgar, or customer-harassing troll, you should ban them from the page for the safety of your Facebook community. You’ve worked hard to develop the right social media atmosphere where your customers can enjoy your brand. You shouldn’t be shy about preserving that.
PRO TIP: Facebook takes these types of problems seriously, and we recommend that you do the same. Not sure if Facebook has your back against a particular troll? You can check out Facebook’s Community Standards here.
Building a friendly, supportive community on social media should be a high priority for you and your team. Establishing a clear and concise process for when things go awry will be crucial in these times.
Don’t let the internet trolls get you down. You got this… Go get ’em!
*Cue Bad Boys by Inner Circle*