How Small Business Owners Can Identify Social Media Trolls
A troll in the context of social media refers to a person who is out to cause problems, confuse people, and generally make lives difficult for their own amusement. Argument for the sake of arguing is a troll’s bread and butter, and the more nonsensical they can make the situation, the better. For businesses that embrace engagement on social media who may also be using it as a supplement to other customer support, dealing with an internet troll can quickly become a huge time sink, as well as create the potential for their business to lose face, which may in fact be the endgame of the person who is playing the antagonist. For this reason, it is important that small business owners understand what the idea of trolling is as well as how to identify when it is happening to them.
Differentiate between a real complaint and one that is fabricated. A real, upset customer may post their comments in a way that seems antagonistic, but this is not the same as trolling. These customers can be helped and may turn out to be good customers once more once they perceive that their complaints are being taken seriously. By contrast, someone who is simply trying to waste time might create a contrived sounding or unrealistic scenario in the hopes of getting attention, and then reject all efforts of a customer support team to work things out with them.
Have a CRM system set up to identify false complaints more quickly. Using CRM tools, customer accounts are able to be more easily accessed and pertinent information can be stored in a logical and simple way, so that once a complaint appears it can be either verified or identified as comment spam quickly, saving a large amount of trouble. You may also wish to reach out to accounts that you believe may simply be attempting to stir up trouble through direct message features of social media services, not allowing them the public venue to respond that they may be looking for.
If you are able to positively identify trolling comments, do not engage. What a business stands to gain from shutting down a troll is slim compared to the potential issues that could come from engaging with them. It’s best to either delete their comment or give a short and sweet reply encouraging them to contact a direct support line.
Photo Credit to Jan Hammershaug on Flickr