The phrase “Feeding the Trolls” refers to giving attention to someone who is on a mission to wreak havoc at your expense and draw attention away from what you should be doing. In the case of businesses this means losing valuable customer relations and engagement you could be having with your real customers.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some people just want an argument. In the end it really doesn’t really matter what the root cause is, if someone has decided to target your organisation in order to start a fight you aren’t going to be able to reason with them.
Just make sure you know the difference between a Troll, and someone with a real grievance that you can help with.
How to identify a Troll, some or all may apply:
- They use inflammatory language.
- They get personal.
- They ridicule other people’s comments and responses.
- They will not accept a direct answer to their queries.
- They don't want a resolution they want a fight.
- They want as much attention as possible from you and your followers.
- They may even post links to undesirable websites
How to deal with a Troll effectively:
- Be quick, they need to be dealt with swiftly before they gain any ground.
- Be polite, never ever sink to their level no matter how tempting.
- Censure the behaviour; never the individual. Don't get personal.
- No empty threats, advise them that they will be blocked and do it.
- Report any threatening behaviour them to your social network provider.
- Advise followers of your actions so they understand your rules.
- Delete any suspicious links that they may have posted.
- Do not identify the individual, do not call them out on another post.
- Delete their comments as necessary, if possible
Take screenshots, if someone complains about being blocked you have all the evidence you need to support your actions.
On the odd occasion some individuals may announce that they know a better organisation than yours and post links to them. If that organisation is a true competitor, no matter how tempted you might be, don’t get defensive, instead congratulate them on finding a service that meets their needs. You aren’t going to get their custom any way, and if they have been acting unreasonably others will see that your organisation doesn't need to pander to people who exhibit that kind of behaviour.
Your community will thank you for being professional and sticking to your guns. Remember this is your little section of the internet and no one has the right to abuse you or others who have chosen to be there. Much the same as if someone started hollering abuse in the middle of a shop, you’d get the security guards to escort them off the premises.
Having a run-in with a Troll can be very unsettling; no one wants or deserves to be on the receiving end of a tirade of abuse, be it directed at your organisation or your followers. If you find yourself in this situation make sure that you discuss it with someone outside of the network. This is not a sign of weakness and is a tactic used by many people who work with the general public or challenging individuals to reduce the emotional impact difficult exchanges can produce.
To quote Alfred the butler in Batman "Some men just want to watch the world burn"©, thankfully the chances of you having to deal with someone like The Joker are quite slim.
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