How to Deal with Social Media Trolls Without Losing Your Cool
17 Feb 2014
When people engage with your brand on social media, it’s typically a good thing. Increased engagement often means people are paying attention, reading your content, or are aware of your brand. However, what happens when they engage a little too much and in a negative fashion?
They’re called social media trolls and they can be a pain to deal with. Essentially, social media trolls are people who are out to cause a little ruckus.
These audience members may have had a negative experience with your product or service or are genuinely dissatisfied with you as a brand, or they could just be looking to stir up trouble.
According to The Guardian, social media trolls are not looking for a resolution. They prefer to interact with you in a battle that no one can win.
An article by psychologists from the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and University of British Columbia explains things in more depth: “Trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting ‘hot-button issues’ to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner. If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement. This is why novice Internet users are routinely admonished, ‘Do not feed the trolls!’ “
Ultimately, the more attention trolls give your brand on social media, the harder it may be to get rid of them. While this is a problem it itself, it may also influence how others feel about you. However, taking a page out of their playbook and responding with disdain probably won’t work either. So, when you want to deal with social media trolls without losing your cool, check out these tips:
1. Respond as soon as possible
It’s important to take control of a social media troll as soon as they start interacting with you. If you don’t, you give them the ammunition and put the power in their hands.
Whether social media trolls have a genuine issue with your product or are just interacting with you maliciously, you need to be fast and you need to be smart.
Studies show that 42 percent of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
A brand that’s paving the way to faster response times is Xbox, who have actually won the Guinness World Record for most responsive brand on Twitter.
Their support account, @XboxSupport, constantly aids customers who are having issues. Xbox’s strengths lie in the fact that they not only respond quickly, but they take control of the problem while maintaining the relationship they already have with customers. You also never see them responding in a negative tone. Remember, don’t take trolls personally — and don’t turn into one yourself.
2. Make the conversation private
Another way to deal with social media trolls is to take the conversation elsewhere. That is, make it private. The longer a social media troll complains in the public eye, the more
damage you could bring to your brand. By taking the conversation to a private area, you get to interact with them one-on-one, decreasing the potential issues they could create.
Many brands respond to customer complaints by asking them to send a private message or email support. While this is only the first step to solving a social media troll’s problems, you save some face and avoid any unnecessary drama that may ensue.
3. Cut the comments (as a last resort)
While cutting your comment section is the last thing you should do, if it’s affecting your brand, you may want to put an end to it.
That’s what Popular Science magazine decided to do last September: “As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.”
While you should try the above methods first, cutting the comments section in places like your company blog or getting rid of forums should get rid of the trolls if you’ve exhausted all other options. You can also ban anonymous comments so you can link bank a comment to an actual person, rather than an unnamed participant or a spambot.
Unfortunately, dealing with social media trolls comes with the social marketing territory. However, if you take control of an issue before it becomes larger than life, you put the power back in your hands and showcase how professional you really are — even if the same is never reciprocated.
Let me know how you deal with social media trolls without losing your cool in the comments below!
Culled from AdEspresso.