Internet Trolling

Keeping One Step Ahead of the Trolls

Internet TrollingTrolls, there are some tried and true ways of dealing with them. If you’re Gandolf, you trick them into arguing so long they turn to stone. If you’re a Billy Goat Gruff, you get your oldest brother to knock them into a river. And if you’re a Bergen, well, you just eat them.

But the options aren’t so simple if you’re a webmaster, and while dealing with an internet troll may not be as potentially dangerous as dealing with a hacker, they can still cause some serious damage to your brand if not dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Start by Arming Yourself

It’s tempting to go for a gun or sword on this step, but trust me, the retribution is much less satisfying after the manslaughter charges hit. No, you want to make sure you’re equipped for battle with a clear comment policy. I know… not as exciting, but it works.

A good policy not only lets users know what they can and can’t get away with, but should you need to ban someone or block them from commenting, you can point straight back to your rules when they cry foul. Ban people without a policy and you open yourself up to accusations of discrimination and favoritism. Let’s face it no one has time for that.

Keep Your Cool

Trolls feed on chaos. They don’t just try to mock a brand, they go a step further by trying to create arguments within your user base that can quickly explode. If the troll finds he or she isn’t being fed, they go lolloping off to another hunting ground. That said, the best possible response to a troll is to ignore it.

According to one Pew Research poll, 83% of internet users who chose to ignore online harassment felt that their decision improved their situation.  As an admin, though, you can’t always ignore them, but you don’t necessarily have to respond to them. Hide their comments on Facebook, block them from your page, just try not to engage them directly.

But I Have Such A Fantastic Comeback!

There has been the rare occasion where a brand responds back to a troll with such well-thought clapback that the entire internet stands up and cheers. The fast-food chain Wendy’s has built an entire online brand around their sarcastic responses (check out some of the highlights here). And that’s great for a brand… if you can pull it off. But the moment the conversation goes south or your responses start to get emotional, you’ve lost the gamble, and prepare to pay. Unless you’re feeling very confident in your tete a tete game, best to just let it go.

What If They Start Picking on Someone Other Than Me?

This is important. If the trolls are attacking you, and you can take it, great. But the moment they start attacking your customers, you need to jump into action. Establish a zero-tolerance policy for threats, bullying, slurs, and other harassment, and keep your comment section well moderated so that your customers feel safe.

And Never Call Out the Other Brands

Nine times out of ten, this does not go well. A good rule of thumb is just to pretend that other brands don’t exist. Don’t mention them in your comments, don’t call them out, don’t compare yourself to them. Stick to the facts about your business alone, otherwise you run the risk of just looking tacky.

Questions? Ready to Get Started?

If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.