Trolls no longer live under bridges. In fact, they are everywhere. The Internet, while bringing the wide world right to your fingertips, has also created a new breed of troll. Internet trolls are users who seem to be lurking around the corner simply waiting for you to make a faux pas and screw something up. They wait to catch you in some minor slip up and then share it with the world.
When you are promoting a cross-channel marketing campaign, you have to be careful with trolls. The slightest comment or miscommunication can quickly spiral out of control and create negative PR for you, your client or your company. Knowing how to properly deal with trolls will allow you to effectively handle your PR and avoid out-of-control situations. Here are some helpful tips for handling yourself when trolls attack.
1. Keep calm and carry on
Just like trolls waiting under the bridge, Internet pests lay in wait simply to cause trouble and get under your skin. Your immediate reaction might be to react in kind, but stooping to a similar immature level is both inappropriate and disproportionate. Trolls feed on negative energy. Therefore, it’s best to remain calm and carry on. Sometimes, the best response to a troll bent on bringing you down is silence. It may be cliché, but when you remain levelheaded and proceed with your business, you avoid a bad situation and the negative PR that can come with it.
2. Respond appropriately
Sometimes, you simply can’t remain silent. The best thing you can do in a situation that requires a response is to politely engage those trolling you and your marketing efforts. Ask questions to get to the root of the problem. If you are positive and confident in the way you respond, you may just be able to scare those trolls back under the bridge where they belong.
3. Delete. Delete. Delete.
Responding to trolls, on occasion, may mean you start deleting things. This doesn’t mean erasing content every time a troll comments, posts, updates or tweets. It simply means deleting when it is the appropriate response — such as when your campaign is being unavoidably damaged. If deleting is the right action for the situation, don’t wait for a long period of time. Decide the right course and do it as soon as possible. When you wait too long to delete comments from a troll or your original post, it simply looks like you are avoiding the problem and that can be worse than the troll itself.
4. Provide support
Engagement with naysayers has the potential to be helpful for you and your clients. Whether it helps you learn how to spot trolls or not, you may just learn something that can help you in your marketing efforts. It may just be that through compromise, you learn how to provide better support for members of your online community. Compromise doesn’t mean losing; it means satisfying two parties. If trolls are pointing out your faux pas, legitimate users may have noticed issues as well. Through support and compromise, you have the chance to prove you’re aware of site issues and that you are willing to do what is necessary to fix them.
Deciding the right course of action when dealing with trolls can be difficult; however, responding appropriately an save you a lot of heartache and pain. Just because trolls may be lurking under the bridge of social media or around the corner from your multi-channel marketing strategy does not mean you should avoid online engagement altogether. Simply proceed with caution and do what is best for you, your clients and your campaign.