What To Do If Your Brand Is Being Attacked By Social Media Trolls

Your brand might not have ‘feelings’, but it does have a reputation. Trolls attack the integrity of your brand, and thrive on the chaos they create.

The worst thing that could happen to a brand from trolling is to have their reputation destroyed. It takes time and money to establish a positive brand image. As little as one comment can plant the seed of doubt in the minds of customers, and followers.

How to know the difference between a dissatisfied customer and a troll

Most, if not all, dissatisfied customers will identify a problem in their comment. An online troll is someone who will publish inflammatory remarks in a public forum with the intention of provoking an argument. It’s true that dissatisfied customers/followers might also try to provoke an argument, but they just want their problem to be heard, and resolved.

What should you do if you notice that you, or a follower, is being trolled?

If a brand has a social presence, there should a person or team responsible for responding to comments whether they are positive or negative. Responding quickly shows that a brand is actively interested in listening and engaging with their audience.

Always respond to an unsatisfied customer. Sometimes trolls can strike a nerve with customers, which can make real problems bubble to the surface. Respond to their genuine concerns, and advise them of the steps that will be taken to resolve their issues. Here’s an article we wrote with tips on providing outstanding customer service on social media.

Report/Flag inappropriate comments to the social media site involved. Never engage in back and forth conversations with trolls. Social media is a public forum and anything your brand says is a reflection of the business. Heated exchanges will not resolve the problem. Maintain a respectful and professional tone, and let others know if things are getting out of hand or dangerous.

What can you do to prevent future occurrences?

If you have the resources, use a social listening tool to catch negative conversation. It’s important to have systems in place to catch negative conversation before it gets out of hand. With the advancement of social listening technology, it’s now possible for brands, and influencers, to get an alert when comments flagged as negative spike in volume.

What if another brand is trying to troll your brand? How should you respond?

Most companies set strict social media guidelines to maintain control over what their brand is saying in public. Brand-on-brand banter is a risky but calculated move that is meant to draw publicity.

Depending on what is said, it can be an acceptable method for promoting conversation about the two brands. But it’s important to remember that exposure of any kind is risky – brands should ask themselves what they hope to gain from this banter? Is it worth the risk?

The person who manages the brand’s social media accounts should meet with others to discuss a response. The responsibility should not fall upon one individual. There’s usually a couple hours between the publication of brand-on-brand responses. (That’s because they’re being very calculated!) Match the tone of the banter dished out by the brand – and don’t be compelled to take it to the next level.

Is it ever okay to “troll” your followers?

Tone is an element of conversation that we lose over social media. Emojis and gifs have helped us regain some of the emotion we project in face-to-face conversation but not 100%. Brands who banter with an audience over social media risk offending them unintentionally. It’s unadvisable to do this without practicing ideas on colleagues first.