internet troll

When to Engage with Social Media Trolls (and When Not To)

They’re out there and you’ve probably encountered them before—trolls. Not the cute pencil topper accessories that you had as a kid. I’m talking about social media trolls.

internet troll

A social media troll is someone who deliberately posts negative comments to provoke others. Whether factual or not, their intent is to stir up trouble in social media communities. You might call them haters. They’re the people that make you want to fire off a quick response in return because they’ve evoked negative emotions.

However, as a brand you must be careful. The way you respond to trolls can impact your reputation. Here are a few tactics to keep in mind.

Listen

Before responding, listen to what the person is saying. Is the information about your company factual? Is there something you can help this person with?

Be Tactful

Even though trolls can elicit negative emotions (that’s their goal), be tactful if you choose to respond. Keep in mind that your response is public and doesn’t go away.

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Correct Fiction with Fact

If the troll is commenting publicly about your brand with false information, address it by correcting them. (Don’t forget to keep in mind #2 while doing so.)

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Use Humor

This is a tricky one. Depending on your brand’s social voice this may or may not be an option. If it is, do not try discredit the person’s comment, but instead use humor to diffuse the situation.

It’s important to note the difference in social media trolls and upset customers. At times, it may be hard to tell the difference as a community manager . Though upset customers can be very negative at times, ultimately they just want their problem solved. If you focus on providing relevant, helpful information, it is likely those unhappy messages will stop. Trolls will keep going because they have nothing better to do.

There’s no way to completely stop social media trolls, but using these tips you can keep them under control should you find yourself going head-to-head with a troll on your brand’s page.

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