Social media trolls, maybe you’ve come across them before. People who respond to your social media posts with hate and accusations. All these people do is use your post to spread negativity across your audiences. Sometimes about your brand but most of the time about the industry you’re in. 

Social media trolls are common among sustainable startups. This is because many people are against change and therefore will see the negative in everything. The disadvantage of social media trolls is that they do not always tell the truth or they distort the truth. This way, your business will be seen in a negative light. Something you obviously want to prevent. So how do you deal with this?

1. Don’t confuse social media trolls with angry customers

There is a difference between customers who are not satisfied, or have a complaint, and social media trolls. It is important to always reply to your customer, even if it is with a negative comment. Never start a long conversation in the comments but try to move the conversation to another medium. Try to call the customer or continue the conversation in a private message. 

2. Don’t feed the trolls

There is a fine line between defending yourself as a brand and feeding the trolls. Don’t give the trolls extra material to spread more negativity. If a reaction is based only on hate, our advice is not to respond to it. If the troll asks a question, always respond with a statement based on facts. Never reply to the troll’s reaction to your comment, leave it at the statement you have just made. Trolls are never looking for a solution or a conversation, they just want to create a commotion. 

3. Never delete the reaction of a social media troll

This is equivalent to point two. The moment you delete their comment, you give them energy. They will only use this to spread more negativity about your company. That is why you should leave the comments in place. Tip: On Facebook it is possible to hide the comment. This way the troll will still see it but new visitors to your posts will not be bothered with it. 

4. Write a social media manual 

As discussed in points one and two, it is often necessary to respond to angry customers and trolls. It is important to use the same tone of voice. How do you want your customers to see your brand and with what words and emoticons do you do this? In a social media manual, it is also useful to provide default statements about common reactions. This way you or your team don’t have to think too much about what to post under a troll’s reaction.

Don’t forget that the internet is filled with people and their (negative) opinions. Many people like to share them online. Don’t be discouraged, many sustainable startups suffer from this. Do you want to know how to sharpen your content strategy? Read 4 tips here about a successful content strategy.