You’ve started to get some traction with your social media posts or your blog, and then…the trolls show up. What can you do?
The natural urge is to feel defensive. To want to fight back. But is that in your best interest? Most of the time, it’s not. Here are some steps you can take when confronted with negative information:
- Remind yourself and your team that happy customers often say nothing – you may have many “likes” or “shares”, but much of the time, of comments
- Exercise compassion – pay attention to the remarks and see if there is a grain of truth that represents an opportunity for improvement.
- Consider the source – are they a “troll for hire” or bot, simply programmed by an algorithm to respond to certain phrases or topics?
- Don’t argue – looking defensive won’t get you anywhere and will add validity to their remarks
- Apologize and explain what you’ve done – if they’ve called you out on a legitimate complaint, say you’re sorry and tell them how you’re working to solve it
- Take the conversation offline – and show that you’re offering them another way to voice their concerns
- Push them out of the way – enlist your allies (customers, clients, or stakeholders) to help you build up the positive comments
Bear in mind that often the people who are bothered the most by trolls are team members who work their hardest to be good, kind, compassionate, and helpful. They’ll want to defend themselves. The best thing you can do for them is to have a clear policy and a place where they, too, can voice their concerns. Do that, and encourage them to support your efforts to manage what is sometimes a very unruly and discomfiting beast.
I’m Megann Willson, one of the Partners here at PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to see everything they need to know to make better decisions as they find, understand, and engage their customers. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or subscribe for weekly updates using the handy button, below.