Unfortunately, the internet has more than its fair share of ‘haters’. And plenty of other people simply seem to have far too much time on their hands. This means that whatever your business, it's likely that at you will at some point receive negative comments on your social media pages; and nowadays, the way you handle so-called ‘trolls’ can have very a real impact on your company's image and online presence.
A useful recent article on Social Media Examiner shared some thoughts on how businesses should deal with this kind of behaviour. Here’s my pick of the best tips…
Use humour (carefully)
Nothing disarms a troll better than humour. Rather than ignoring a negative tweet or comment, acknowledge the criticism it contains and try to turn it into a witty and humorous response. When done tactfully, it can defuse any anger the person might have felt, and it paints your business in a great light, too.
Combat fiction with fact
Rumours spread quickly online, so it's best to put them to bed as soon as possible. For example, when the internet became obsessed with #bendgate after claims that Apple's new iPhone6 was doing a ‘Yuri Geller' in people's pockets, Apple addressed the problem head-on. Apple admitted there had been a problem, but also put things in proper perspective by pointing out that they had actually only received nine complaints about phones being bent. This fact showed that the problem was far smaller than the numerous comedy memes made out.
Don't try to fight fire with fire
In some cases, brands decide it's a good idea to get their own back by engaging a bit of 'corporate trolling' in an attempt to be down with the kids. Take Tesco Mobile, who ran their #nojoke initiative of responding to negative comments with 'hilarious' (read 'obnoxious') derogatory replies.
Whilst humour can be a good thing, trying to troll your followers is an extremely risky strategy - particularly if your business is just starting off and people aren't familiar with your values or tone of voice. Instead, play it safe and portray your company as one that's likeable and approachable. Basically, take mum’s advice: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!
What other advice do you have for dealing with social media trolls?