Are Social Media Trolls Threatening Your Online Brand Reputation?
A social media troll is someone who purposely creates conflict on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. by posting messages that are particularly controversial or inflammatory with the sole intent of provoking an emotional response from other users.
These messages are often distracting and take the focus away from the subject at hand. A troll’s goal is to send a rational discussion down a rabbit hole of obscenities and personal attacks instead of staying on topic.
Where Do Social Media Trolls Exist?
Unfortunately, internet trolls exist on all social media platforms. However, according to Business Insider, “a study of 134,000 abusive social media mentions showed that 88% of them occur on Twitter.”
How can Social Media Trolls Affect Your Brand’s Image?
- Damage Your Reputation: You can give your brand a bad name by engaging with trolls. By responding emotionally, you will make your brand look bad in front of real customers.
- Missing the Point: Social media trolls can affect your brand image on social media channels by making your real message get lost and upsetting those who are there for the intended reason.
Brand Protection Strategy: Protect Your Brand From Social Media Trolls
To protect your brand from trolls, the best thing you can do is assess the situation and figure out the best method for responding. The worst thing you can do is act irrationally and reply with an emotional response.
The troll “wins” when you get emotional because that’s what they want to happen.
Deal with social media trolls using 5 essential methods.
Distinguish Between Social Media Trolls and Dissatisfied Customers
First, you have to distinguish the difference between a dissatisfied customer and a troll.
Danny Bradbury explains in his article in The Guardian that trolls, “are not looking for a resolution and prefer to engage you in a battle that no one can win.”
Consider the following:
- Constructive Criticism Versus Criticism: Dissatisfied customers add value to your business while trolls decrease the value. A dissatisfied customer provides constructive criticism your brand can use to improve your product or service. A troll will criticize just for the sake of it.
- Specific Versus General Complaints: Dissatisfied customers will complain about your product or service while trolls will attack your entire brand.
- Focused Versus Diversions: Dissatisfied customers focus on the problem at hand whereas trolls like to make personal attacks.
This is a great example of a dissatisfied customer who is also getting emotional. However, you know they’re a dissatisfied customer because they mention a specific problem they are having with Mobile Giant. Although the customer goes on to bash the overall brand, Mobile Giant can recognize they are just getting emotional and frustrated.
Interact Intuitively With Social Media Trolls
Your intuition knows best.
Once you’ve discovered the person is a troll and not a dissatisfied customer, asses the troll situation you’re experiencing and determine the best way to respond. Sometimes it’s best to respond to a troll with humor, fact, or as we will mention below, not respond at all.
Tesco assessed their troll situation and decided the best way to respond was with humor. And there’s not much Felipe can say after Tesco’s witty response:
Know When to Ignore Social Media Trolls
Internet trolls feed on the attention. That’s why you’ll hear people say “don’t feed the trolls.” By engaging with their comments and criticisms, you are feeding their bad intentions.
Amy’s Baking Company was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares until they were kicked off for being “too difficult to work with.” That’s when internet trolls on Facebook flooded the baking company’s page with bad reviews and criticism.
Instead of ignoring the comments, Amy went nuts with her responses.
If Amy had stopped engaging with these people, she wouldn’t have experienced so much hate. Instead, she fed their fire by getting upset and responding with such emotion. By saying nothing, you diffuse the situation and discourage trolls from commenting.
Block or Ban the Social Media Troll
There are plenty of cases when trolls have taken their complaints too far. In this case, the best thing to do is block or ban them from your social media accounts.
Example: Banning or blocking a troll is a reasonable response when a troll is:
- Using threats
- Using hate-speech
- Spamming your account
- Trying to convert your followers to another brand
Familiarize yourself with each social media platform’s policy for reporting abuse and blocking followers:
Prevention Is the Best Cure For Social Media Trolls
It’s easier to prevent a fire than it is to put it out. Preventing social media trolls from messing with your brand’s image is the best method of protection.
- Consistency: Set a good example in your social media community by being consistent with your behavior and your speech. This way, no one can troll you for moving away from your core values and brand image.
- Use Influencers: Consumers seem to trust bloggers, vloggers, and social media stars more than brands. Having the right influencer by your brand’s side can increase trust among your social media following.
- Generate Emotion: According to Brand24, “most consumers wouldn’t care if 73% of brands disappeared for good.” This is why it’s so important to create real value and emotional connections with your social media followers. Developing this bond will increase their trust and loyalty if a trolling crisis is to occur.
- Monitor Your Social Media: Social media monitoring will give you more control over what people are saying about your brand. You’ll be able to find social media trolls and deal with them faster and more effectively.
Click here to see 6 ways to protect your brand on social media.
Social media trolls do exist and, unfortunately, they’re not going anywhere. The best thing we can do to protect our brand is:
- Be aware that social media trolls exist
- Do everything we can to prevent them from attacking our brand
- Understand we must deal with trolls in a calm, cool, collected manner
See how Online Moderation can help you with your social media monitoring needs and protect our brand.