Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Trolling Along...

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 

If you have a strong audience for any of your social media outlets, you have probably run into the dreaded troll. Haven’t heard of a troll? Don’t worry… you will. A troll is someone who purposely posts rude and inappropriate comments to provoke and draw in either the brand or its audience into nothing more than a fight. It is what they live for. They use rude language, profanity and say things that will definitely get under your skin and make you angry. Why do these people exist? I don’t know – why do bullies exist? Call it boredom, stupidity, whatever. The fact is that they are out there.

So how do you get rid of a troll once they plague your social media site? There are a couple of schools of thought on this topic. It really depends on what course of action you feel the most comfortable taking. Weigh the options:

Ignore the troll. If the one motivating factor for a troll is to pick a fight, ignoring the troll might be the answer for him/her to go away because you aren’t taking the bait. If a troll isn’t getting what they are seeking, they will most likely move on.

The one drawback to this is that after the troll leaves, they have now left some ‘wonderful’ comments and posts that you and your audience would rather not see. Do some damage control and go through every comment and post to make sure you’ve cleaned up the mess and let your online community know what you are up to.

Delete or block the troll. I think this is by far the most popular way to go, however, before you hit the delete button, be sure you have your ducks in row. Make sure your social media policy is up to date on the kind of behavior you will or will not tolerate online and the actions you will take.

Just be mindful of deleting and blocking. While it can be the best course of action, some people may get upset about being blocked and you don’t want the troll bad mouthing your brand on other sites where you don’t have the control. One way to help with this is to post why you blocked this person to the rest of your online community. They will most likely support you in the end and will back you up because, really, who likes a troll?

A word of caution: you have to know the difference between a troll and an upset customer. If a poster has a legitimate gripe, then maybe there is something you need to do. If they are fighting for the sake of a fight, you might want to consider the options above.

Anyone out there encounter a troll? What course of action did you take? I’d love to hear it!

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