Dealing with Social Media Trolls can be a nightmare, but fear not! Social Media is such a huge part of modern day life that if you aren’t connected in some way, or don’t know anyone who is, you are in very a small minority.
The power of social media has become so vast, that it has even been discussed in parliament, following its role in both encouraging, and resisting the London riots earlier this month. The immense popularity, and huge user numbers that exist on Facebook and Twitter, also make them a fantastic place to promote your business.
Many businesses use social media of some form to promote themselves online, and whether its for regular news updates, trying to bring in new customers, or simply providing informal support to existing ones, there is no doubt that it can provide you with fantastic benefits – where else can you potentially reach out to 700 million people for free?
As with all walks of life however, there are people who seem to simply exist to make life more difficult for the rest of us, and the internet is no exception, however rather than it being the group drunken teenagers throwing beer cans on your car, or the person who gave you a less than pleasant hand sign for ‘looking at them funny’, in the online world they have to take a different approach, often referred to as ‘Trolling’.
Trolling, carried out by – shock horror – ‘Trolls’ is the case where someone seems to want to hijack your social media profiles, and inundate you with negative, often abusive comments in hope that they can, rather cruelly, drive your business away.
A majority of online businesses will tell you they have had to deal with a Troll at some point in their internet life, and whilst it might be utterly satisfying to tell them where they can shove their comments, when you’re representing your business, unfortunately, you need to show restraint, or your own actions could be even more damaging than those of the troll.
Here is a short list of measures which can be used to try to deal with such events in a calm, professional manner that will keep your business looking strong –
- Let People Know You Won’t Take Abuse – Whenever you set up anything where people can socially comment without requiring you to allow it first, you must first set out some simple ground rules to let people know what they can and cannot say. Simply worded, let people know that whilst constructive criticisms or complaints will be welcomed, any repetitive, abusive comments will be removed immediately.
- Try To Deal With Them Professionally – Assuming that the comment adheres to your previously set out rules, rather than simply deleting anyone who speaks negatively about you makes you seem as if you have something to hide, and will alienate your other customers, so, should someone angrily post publicly about you on a social media outlet, try to deal with them in a calm manner, try to talk to them, ask why they are unhappy, basically allay the fears of anyone else who may be reading the comment, and try to steer the conversation away from anything negative about you.
- Apologise, and Move On – Should the ‘calm and professional’ approach not work to deal with them, then your frustration can get high, and its rather tempting to unleash your temper on them in a foul mouthed rant, however, this would never ever end good for you and should be avoided at all costs. Should the petulant abuse continue after a while, kill them softly, simply apologise to them that they were unhappy with your service, and that you are sorry you won’t be doing business with them in the future, this should basically kill the conversation and give them little room to come back.
- Rally Your Supporters – Social search is growing hugely, and almost goes hand in hand with traditional search engines nowadays, and when choosing a company to deal with, people will more often then not look for some form of social platform where people are commenting on their service from that business, so should people be greeted by a Facebook page covered by your troll venting their anger, they are more than likely going to get as far from you as possible, and that’s not what you want. Should you ever be in this situation, ask the rest of your loyal, supportive customers to post what they think about your service, once the positive comments come rolling in the negativity will be drowned out and the trolls words will more than likely fall on deaf ears.