They are the mean, annoying, scourges of the internet that are good for nothing but spreading hate.
Or are they?
Nobody enjoys being trolled; it is a thoroughly nasty experience. Unfortunately, we get so focused on fighting the hate that they neglect to see the opportunities trolls can bring to a business. It is actually possible to turn the hate into revenue.
Trolls are Engagement Goldmines
When troll comments start to pop up on your social media or website pages, it is easy to lose control of your emotions in order to defend your business. It is vitally important that you do not.
Instead, address the mess, be polite and above all witty and/or humorous in your replies. If you can exhibit decorum and professionalism in the face of the troll’s savagery, then you win and you stand to boost your engagement. People will perceive you as a higher authority and be more inspired to follow your brand.
It is all about standing up for your company without sinking to the level of the trolls themselves. You are better than that!
Thank Your Troll
It can be difficult to keep a lid on your temper during a troll attack but if you do, the snake loses all its venom. As much as it may irk you to do so, thanking the troll for their comment and addressing their ‘concerns’ conveys three things that all your audience will see:
- You are strong
- You are approachable
- You will listen to anyone
If being witty is not your strong suit or you don’t see any humorous potential in the troll comment, thanking them is a simpler alternative. Your steadfast inability to be riled will inevitably turn the trolls away.
Identify Your Troll Type
Not all trolls are alike in terms of their motivation. Knowing the differences can help you develop different strategies to combat them and minimize any damage they might cause.
These individuals spread hate for the sake of it. With a fake profile hiding their true identity, this troll will use that shield to attack with reckless abandon. It’s best not to feed this troll with the same hate so we recommend diffusing the situation with humour.
SOLUTION: The Hateful Troll is not used to being addressed, so they’ll be in for a rude shock when you acknowledge that yes, you have seen their comment and you are choosing to rise above it by finding the funny in their comment.
These trolls are all about correcting spelling and punctuation errors. So long as your content is proofread prior to posting, this group should not be a problem.
SOLUTION: Should something slip through the cracks, simply amend the copy and respond with a thank-you.
‘I’m Offended’ Trolls
These trolls love to be offended and will look for any excuse to hyperbolize on your point. You could post about loving your children and your Offended Troll will comment saying you are being incredibly insensitive to people who can’t have children.
SOLUTION: address your Offended Trolls grievance by pointing out your initial point and tell them you have recognized their feedback and will escalate their concerns where relevant.
With the increase of the ‘I’m Offended’ Troll comes the next one;
Irrelevant Trolls push their own agenda everywhere and can adapt any content to their agenda. They like to throw fire and love when spitfire comes back. What a charming, chameleon-like quality.
SOLUTION: Nothing affects Irrelevant Troll more than getting a response that doesn’t match their intensity. Ensure Irrelevant Troll is aware that you have seen their comment, find it amusing, and thank them for taking the time to write on your board. Throw water on that bad boy!
The Bye Bye Trolls
Nope, too far. WAY too far. Hate speech, threats to your brand, threats to your audience or threats made personally to you do not deserve your recognition and are a violation of all social media platform standards.
SOLUTION: Ban. Block. Report.
Of all the different troll types, however, the ones you truly must keep an eye out for are the Not-Trolls. Not everybody with something negative to say is trolling you! Non-Trolls are customers with legitimate grievances with your business and should be dealt with promptly.
Good luck and remember, Rise Above.