Sadly the world wide web is full of darkness, with trolls the driving force behind such internet negativity. They thrive on negative attention, aiming to incite animosity, contempt and hatred with every character typed. But who are they, and what do they want? More importantly, how should we deal with them? Here, we aim to clear all of the above up, showing how best to stop the trolls before they wreak havoc on your business.
Troll noun: An ugly cave-dwelling creature (in folklore)
Troll noun: A person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post.
Can you tell the difference, because we can’t?
What are “trolls”?
Attention seeking social media users who instigate hateful, angry and goading comments and conversations.
They purposefully stir up trouble on the various social media platforms, starting arguments or upsetting people by posting provocative messages online.
Mostly, they crave as big an audience as possible and therefore utilise Facebook and Twitter – two of the most-used social media platforms.
How to deal with trolls:
There are a few ways to effectively deal with trolls without stooping to their level.
1. Use humour
A recent example of this can be seen through Ilfracombe resident Charmain Lovett who was a contender on ITV quiz show The Chase.
Charmain didn’t exactly perform well on the show, but comments posted on Twitter weren’t aimed at her lack of general knowledge – instead they were directed at her physical appearance.
For example, one man posted the below, to which Charmain – who hadn’t been tagged in the Tweet, might we add – replied…
Two Twitter users responded to Charmain’s message, including the original troll who conceded defeat.
Another man mentioned her name in a tweet, which Charmain picked up…
As you can see, her retort embarrassed the commenter, who hadn’t dreamt Charmain would reply in person,
This also shows the benefits of social listening, as, by searching for both #TheChase and her name, Charmain could spot several tweets and respond accordingly.
2. Counter fiction with fact
Listen to what the person has to say and, if a mistake has been made, correct it, let them know what you have done, and why.
If the commenter is a discontented guest then the likelihood is that they will appreciate a personal response.
If they’re a troll, then reply as though you are responding to a community as opposed to a singularity. This then shows your target audience that you are indeed listening to what people, trolls or guests, have to say, and acting appropriately.
It also shows that you are unmoved by trolls, which could make them think twice about messing with you in future.
3. Ignore them
Sometimes the best way to deal with a troll is by doing nothing.
We return to the dictionary definition of a troll, dwelling in a cave. By responding to them, you are allowing them a way out of the darkness; an opportunity to breathe.
On the flip side, by ignoring them you take away their natural surroundings and they may leave you alone.
However, some of your loyal guests may feel the need to reply. Inactivity is now no longer an option, and so this is your cue to chime in, taking on one of the other strategies we have listed here.
4. If it comes to it… block, ban or report
There are instances when trolls go over the top, and take things too far, be this hateful speech, threats or other inappropriate comments.
This may be the right time to take further action, blocking or banning the user. If things escalate further, then it’s time to submit a report to the social media platform.
What not to do:
- Don’t let them get to you
Their language may be annoying, but it’s important to maintain your image. If you let them get to you, you’re more likely to reply angrily.
- Don’t become defensive
This sees you stoop to the level of the internet troll – not something that looks good on social media. Instead, stick to your voice and respond politely and obligatory.
- Don’t delete their posts
By following the above steps, it shouldn’t come to it. However, deletion of trollish comments can lead to an escalation in their behaviour in future.
And you don’t want that.
It’s sad but true that trolls are now a part of social media, and they are something both personal and business accounts will inevitably have to deal with in some capacity.
We hope we’ve cleared up the ugly world they live in, allowing you an insight into their darkness and showing you the light in how to reply.