Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Taking the plunge and promoting your business via social media can seem a daunting prospect.

There are so many benefits to using applications like Facebook, Twitter, What’s App and more, the obvious being that it’s free and it’s a great way of reaching an audience.

But with those benefits come the drawbacks, one of the main ones being the fear of becoming the target of internet trolls.

Most companies don’t need to worry about this; trolls are likely to pick on individuals who might be vulnerable to their hate campaigns or outlets who will give them a big platform to preach from, so small to medium-sized businesses might not be the prime target.

But despite this reassurance there may be times when all organisations using social media find themselves on the unwelcome end of a vitriolic comment or defamatory statement which, unfortunately, will be in the public eye until it is dealt with or removed.

So how to tackle the troll problem?

  • The first thing to do it not panic. It’s vital that you don’t make a rash decision which you’ll come to regret later on. If you have a social media manager it’s worth making sure they have a discussion with their bosses about how to handle tricky customers, particularly as the majority of times comments should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  • Don’t ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Tackling trolls shows you are a company in control of its online presence and confident in its approach. Just deleting negative feedback might prompt more of the same and accusations of ignorance. Failing to respond looks slipshod and careless.
  • Be human. More often than not your troll might be a disgruntled customer who decides the best course of action is to ‘name and shame’ – often without even approaching the business directly beforehand to make a complaint. If you tackle the issue head on, acknowledging their disappointment and asking them to either send a private message with a number which you can call or providing them with a number to call to resolve the complaint, you are showing good customer service while not taking responsibility in writing for any misdeed. This means the remainder of the problem can be resolved out of the public eye. If the customer leaves happy you could ask them to comment as such on the original post. The key with this approach is to use personal names and warm wording in order to make your social media avatar more human and therefore, more approachable and engaging.
  • Don’t be afraid to hit ‘block’. If you have someone who is making a real nuisance of themselves and who refuses to be placated, then ban them. It’s not worth your time or effort to reason with them, particularly as they may be enjoying the ‘sport’ of online baiting.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to set out your rules on your social media pages. If people know what the line is and they cross it, then you can always point back to your guidelines as to being the reason you blocked or banned a user. Consistency is the key.