Top 10 Ways To Stop Trolls Damaging Your Business
Below are the 10 ways to stop trolls from damaging your business.
But first of all, have you ever seen a professional comedian shut down a heckler?
It’s a lovely sight to see.
The heckler, who has probably been drinking, has no clue what he’s up against.
This is a professional who has spent hundreds of hours on stage dealing with live, drunken audiences.
You know that heckler is going to be annihilated the moment they are dumb enough to open their mouths.
Comedian Milton Jones, who has worked as a comic for most of his life, has only been floored by a heckle on two occasions.
The first was when someone shouted, “These are just words!”
The second was more disturbing.
Halfway through his act, someone shouted, “What is this?!” In the long moment of quiet that followed, he couldn’t work out what they meant.
And the longer he left it, the more it seemed like an entirely reasonable question.
As marketers, we have one big advantage when a troll heckles us online – time.
We can take a few minutes to consider our response, and we can get it just right before we send that response out into the world for all to read.
What Is A troll?
It’s both a mythological creature of Scandinavian folklore and a person who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous or off-topic messages in an online community.
The intent of the first type of troll is to scare kids into going to bed.
The second kind of troll and the one we’re dealing with is intent on provoking readers into displaying emotional responses or manipulating others’ perceptions.
(Thanks, Wikipedia for the help on that.)
To put it simply, a troll is an online jerk who will steal your time, aggravate you, confuse your readers and generally make life miserable if you let them.
Trolls harass, hate, bully, threaten and stalk.
Seemingly normal people in the real world turn into butthats online.
But you can fight back and win, often without even firing a shot.
How To Know That You Are Dealing With A Troll?
Here’s how to know you’re dealing with a troll:
- They’re blind to evidence, ignore facts and double down on their nonsense, regardless of what you say.
- When cornered, they redirect to a new topic.
- They call names and generally they’re not too creative about it, either.
- Every other post uses “Boomer,” “Karen,” or whatever name is trending at the time.
- They redirect from the topic at hand.
- If you’re talking about how to get traffic, they’re talking about online scams or sleeping with redheads.
- If you get angry, they get dismissive like you are the one with the problem, not them.
- Their goal here is to make you even angrier with their condescending tone.
- They exaggerate.
- A lot.
- Instead of saying ‘often’, they’ll say ‘always’ and ‘never’.
What Are The Top 10 Ways To Stop Trolls From Damaging Your Business?
1: Don’t feed the trolls.
You’ve heard this bit of advice time and again because it works.
Trolls thrive on emotional responses and get bored if no one responds to them.
Pretend they do not even exist.
They’ll spend the next few hours repeatedly checking for your response in vain, and finally, they’ll heave a sigh of disappointment and move on to another target.
2: Ask for the evidence.
When a troll is making crazy, wild accusations, stay calm and ask for the facts, the sources and the evidence of their unsubstantiated claims.
Odds are they’ll disappear back into the shadows and leave you alone.
3: Be crazy kind.
Trolls are looking for a fight, so when you respond with kindness, they will likely either disappear or calm down and begin acting rationally.
You cannot fight fire with fire and you cannot calm anger with anger.
But sometimes you can kill anger with kindness.
And regardless of the troll’s response, those who are watching on social media will be impressed with you.
4: Use humor.
Because trolls are trying to evoke anger, they don’t know what to do if you use humor to diffuse the situation.
Just be careful not to appear offensive to those who are watching.
5: Implement a no-trolling policy.
If you are in charge of the platform, whether that’s a social media profile, a blog, a discussion forum and so forth, post guidelines that include a no-trolling policy.
If someone is angry that you deleted their comment, point to the policy and cite the violation as cause for removal.
6: Add moderators.
If you’re managing a small-scale blog or social media profile, then you can handle this alone.
But if you have thousands of posts coming in, you need to get help.
Create a team of moderators who can verify comments and deal with policy violations.
7: Use moderation tools.
If you can’t afford moderators, consider using a tool to help you.
- Facebook offers a comment moderation plugin
- YouTube offers comment settings for automatic moderation
- Twitter and Instagram have reporting options for policy violations
- WordPress offers comment moderation plugins.
8: Block, ban and report trolls.
If you have a troll that just won’t stop, it’s time to report them for being abusive.
Also, make sure you unfollow the person as well as report them.
9: If possible, have ‘friends only.’
This doesn’t work if you’re a business.
But if it’s a personal account and you don’t want random trolls commenting on your posts, keep your posts private.
10: Breathe first.
A troll wants you to react, so don’t.
Take a step back, breathe, go for a walk and decompress before replying.
Even if you think your immediate reply is perfect, DO NOT POST IT until you let some time pass and you’ve calmed down.
Trust me on this or you’ll inevitably end up posting something you regret.
10.5: Be professional, stay professional.
Stay calm and factual.
Determine if this is a troll or an actual customer.
Ask yourself how a professional would respond.
If it’s a customer, apologize regardless of whether or not you did something wrong, and then redirect them to a private channel for further communication.
Remember at all times that your comments are public and others are watching.
In most cases, people are far more interested in how you handle the problem than in the problem itself.
Dealing with irate customers and trolls can be an opportunity to gain or lose business, depending on how you take care of the situation.
In this article, I’ve given you the tools to deal with trolls.
I hope that these tips help curb your social media presence from being overrun by trolls who seem intent on nothing more than causing chaos for everyone else in their wake.
After all, it takes a lot of work and effort to maintain an online reputation as positive or professional; so why let someone else damage it?