Have your social media posts attracted Trolls? Odds are they have at one time or another. If you’ve ever endured the insults, nastiness, or rudeness of someone who left a comment on one of your social media posts, you know what we’re talking about.
The typical Troll looks for ways to cast shade on others to make themselves feel better. They aren’t really interested in what you have to say. In fact, a lot of Trolls comment without even reading the original post. They just because they want to take a cheap shot to see if they can provoke a response.
Now consider the impact Trolls can have on your business. Whether it is derogatory comments your social post, a negative review on Yelp, or a bogus review on Amazon, Trolls can do real damage to your brand.
Here are some commonsense tips for dealing with Trolls. But first, let’s take a closer look at the typical Troll.
What is a Troll?
The traditional Troll is a creature in folklore that lives in caves or under bridges. It’s usually depicted as a grotesquely ugly humanoid with a voracious appetite for mischief. According to Wikipedia, the term originated in 1873 when it appeared in Geijer & Afzelius’ History of Swedish Literature.
More recently, the term was appropriated to describe anyone who posts rude comments anonymously in online forums, chat rooms, or social media with the intent to cause trouble.
Internet Trolls post inflammatory statements with no concern for how they affect others or the harm they can cause. A lot of Trolls are just disgruntled people, unhappy with their lives, who have no way to vent their anger about their lot in the real world.
While most Trolls are just venting their frustration, there are instances of Trolls-for-hire. The most notable are those who attempt to disrupt political discourse, but there are also some who target brands.
Fortunately, most Trolls post some insults then move on to target another victim.
But what if they don’t move on? What can be done?
First and foremost, don’t let Trolls draw you into their game. It can be difficult to resist the urge to respond to a Troll, but that’s exactly what they want. Getting under your skin is exactly what they want.
If you feel tempted to respond, ask yourself, “Is it really worth the effort to respond and risk looking like a fool in front of everyone else?” The answer is NO. Most Trolls will get bored and go away when ignored. If the Troll doesn’t stop immediately, be patient and continue to ignore them until they give up.
Ignoring a Troll doesn’t mean you have to sit back and take it. As soon as you discover a Troll’s comment, block it so it doesn’t show up for everyone else to see. Social media platforms and message boards all provide some form of blocking feature. Blocking ensures the Troll doesn’t get any long term satisfaction out of bothering you or anyone who follows your posts.
If subsequent commenters fall for the comments of the original Troll and post additional negative material, consider messaging them to request that they delete their inflammatory statements to stem the spread. They may or may not go along with your request. But getting them on record (see #4 below) can be a good way for others to see who they are and expose them as little more than thoughtless attention-seekers.
4. Report Publicly
If you encounter a Troll who won’t give up after you’ve tried the previous suggestions, it may be time to fight fire with fire. Create a Reddit or Facebook post with screen shots showing all their comments. Include a copy of the first sentence of each comment they made on your page. Post it on their respective pages and make it a point to tell them why you’re doing it.
Ultimately, if you can’t find a way to diffuse the situation without adding to the drama, it’s best to just remove the comment and get back to focusing on your customers. Remember: Never take Troll comments personally and whatever you do, don’t feed the Trolls!