- Amy Sufak
Social Media Trolls - When Not to Respond
Internet trolls. You’ve probably heard the term. What it really refers to are the people who enjoy hiding behind their digital communication devices as they work to try to tarnish a brand’s reputation through unnecessary commentary or engagement. Trolls happen to the best of us, but figuring out how to deal with them without ruining your reputation in the process can be difficult terrain to navigate. First of all, you should know that trolls are just that, trolls. Don't take anything they say or comment too personally against you or your brand.
Remember, if you are the one in control of your company’s social media channels, you can block people and hide comments through your social settings. For example, slander or hate speech are all instances that warrant a block - bye! Addressing specific issues with a company is one thing, outright attacking a company is another.
However, if the comment could warrant an outreach effort on your behalf, take steps to reconcile the relationship. Acknowledge when a customer has a specific concern that you can assist them with and encourage them to connect with you through customer service rather than on a public forum, especially if you need private information to address their concerns. If you’ve already done all you can to solve a customer’s problem and they still continue posting, stop responding. Most of the time people will get bored and they will stop the engagement on their end.
Some trolls can simply be ignored, whether they are a disgruntled past customer or someone who just wants to be rude, ignoring and disengaging from their posting can get them to stop. Of course, you want to keep your brand reputation up, so ensuring that all avenues have been taken to keep this customer satisfied should be looked into. Just know that sometimes people can't be satisfied, no matter how much effort you put forth.
In the instance that someone reduces to hate speech or slander against you or your brand/organization, report it and block them on the appropriate social accounts. At this point, there is no longer an opportunity for you to solve their problem, it’s ok to be done with it and move on. Continue providing excellent services and products to everyone you can. Maintaining your brand reputation in situations like these is more about how you handle the situation than a disgruntled customer.
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