Social media can be a complex dance between sounding too “corporate” and not reaching people on a human level, versus sounding too “amateurish” and seeming unprofessional. While most of the comments and overall feedback you will receive through social media will be kind – or at the very least a constructive form of criticism – you will inevitably have to deal with a form of online sadist called a “troll.” Some trolls can simply be ignored, but others will work to significantly harm your brand with lies. This is among the most difficult parts of social media management.
The old saying that it does not matter what people think of you is only true in theory. Naturally, the importance of social media to reach new and existing customers cannot be overstated, and as such, you need to protect your image on social media against it being libeled. Social media management involves selectively responding to, ignoring, removing or directly addressing what individuals choose to comment on regarding your company. At times, the comments are not friendly, and trolls are the most likely people to persistently and intentionally harm your image in front of people who may be on the fence as to whether or not to use your business to fulfill a given need.
Ignoring Most Trolls
For the most part, the best social media management strategy to follow when addressing trolls is to completely ignore what they say. Often, a troll will try to start arguments with whomever will dignify what they say with a response. While there are occasions when a troll will say something that can be blatantly and politely told off, this depends on how you want your brand to be seen. If your brand is more “chic” or “edgy,” you may be able to get away with coming off more brusque. However, if your business is one that relies on a high level of public decorum and class, ignoring the troll comments or posting nothing more engaging or committed than, “We appreciate your feedback!” is the best tack to take. Typically, trolls will grow bored when they receive no validation, and will simply drift away to disparage someone else.
Removal or Rebuttal
There will be times when a troll posts something that is offensive, vile or damaging enough that it should be responded to, but not in the traditional sense. In this instance, quietly removing the comment or review is the best option. Keep in mind that while sometimes this is not possible, sometimes a calm address of the situation can be helpful. If you ask them logical questions, such as when they employed your company and what you did for them, often they will have no response; which will show their true colors to everyone combing your reviews and comments to learn more about your company.
Trolls With a Purpose
Sometimes particularly malicious trolls with a vendetta against your business take things to the next level, and band together to attempt to sink your social media image. In these cases, turning off commenting altogether can be a proactive step. As well, if you can identify a particularly troublesome individual who is legitimately costing you goodwill and potential clients, having your attorney send a cease and desist order is not overkill. Just make sure you never bluff, as trolls are used to receiving hollow threats.
Getting Help With Social Media Management
It can be easy to take social media management personally. A great solution is to contact Simplemachine Designs, to whom you can outsource every step in the process, then focus on running your company.