trolls. Cute (yet ugly) and ridiculous. They give life to our tales, folk songs and legends.

Social media trolls?

Not much. They ruin the environment.

All a troll wants is to inflict pain, ridicule and humiliate the targeted person..

Left alone, these little social media mismatches will damage your brand and reputation.

But… that doesn’t mean you can’t deal with them effectively.

You can do. I’ll show you how.

What are social media trolls?

They are people who deliberately provoke others on the Internet. Saying things that are provocative and offensive. They live to upset and anger people.

People love your fans and followers.

They’re running, they’re sending death threats, they’re making hate speech. Attacks the opponent’s character. And say things that appeal to people’s emotions (rather than their minds).

They are the enemy of your business, not the friend. Clearly.

Don’t confuse trolls with angry customers.

The internet is full of people expressing their opinions. Including the sad public who want to share their negatives, but sincere, beliefs.

Not so with these digital demons.

Trolls usually don’t believe a word they write. But say it anyway, just to piss off the others.

Simply put… social media trolls = online bullies.

Where can they be found?

Trolls lurk online wherever people comment, post and share with others. Love…

  • Of course social media
  • Internet chat rooms
  • Email groups
  • discussion forums
  • blogs

Internet trolls are evil. They cause sleepless nights for you as a social media marketer. Same for your customer service reps.

So it’s good to know the difference between a targeted troll and a client with a (true) rant.

Troll or sad customer?

Sometimes it’s hard to say.

Both may appear angry, perhaps even angry or enraged.

Good. Calm down. Look at the core of his words. This is what is usually told.

Listen and think about their motivations. Do they seem frustrated by making an apparently genuine claim about your business, product or service?

Are they looking for the truth?

Do they follow social media etiquette?

Or… are they angry, bubbling and trying to provoke anger at your brand or other users? So, you have yourself a live social media troll, a digital internet misfit.

For the dissatisfied customer, listen to them. They want to be heard. If you address and solve their problems, they will be satisfied and those unhappy messages will end.

But not online troll. They will not stop until they are forced out or bored.

Trolls are not looking for solutions. They want to get into a war that no one can win.

Whether it’s a troll or an unhappy customer, they have one thing in common… they both want to be accepted.

Let’s dig deeper to help you determine if you’re dealing with a troll.

5 signs you’re dealing with a troll

1. They will try to piss you off

Trolls are only there to upset people.

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Someone causing trouble on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat? By starting a discussion or posting provocative content?

They are (probably) a troll. Especially if they seem insincere in their comments, posts or statements.

2. They act right

Many trolls have an inflated sense of worth. They work as if (or as they should) the world revolves around them.

“I, I, I… great, great, great. And you others suck.” Or something like that.

If you get this feeling, you’ve probably been invaded by a hated troll.

3. They exaggerate

Too much.

They use strong words like “never” and “every”.

Where most of the others say “rarely” and “some”.

Using extremes and superlatives are ways to piss people off.

And it’s a good sign that you have a troll to deal with.

4. They personalize

Discussions, debates, debates – a safe game for healthy conversations among your online users.

Until it gets personal.

That’s what trolls do.

Rather than discussing a topic reasonably and logically, trolls attack an opponent’s character. They will call people names and say things that appeal to emotions and prejudices rather than reason.

5. They usually can’t spell

Trolls seem terrible at spelling and grammar. Them…

  • spell words wrong
  • using words wrong
  • Do not capitalize the first words of sentences
  • Avoid commas and periods
  • Mix up words that sound the same but have different meanings
  • say “I” a lot
  • Same as “!!!” marking
  • Capitalize all
  • Use made-up and nonsense words throughout a silly sentence

Cornell and Stanford researchers conducted a study on anti-social behavior online.

Trolls fail standard, readability metrics for what they write.

Including using less positive words and more profanity.

good thing this makes detecting digital SOCIOpaths [email protected]%$%# WAAAY EEZIER!!! aaaaay happy daze!

As you can see, trolls give up pretty easily.

Wonderful. Now that you’ve confidently identified one… what do you do with them?

9 tips for dealing with trolls on social media

1. Create a policy

Most social networks have community policies to ‘be respectful’.

Create one of your own as a reminder of acceptable behavior for posts, comments, and shares.

Then, if someone behaves inappropriately or despicably, direct them to your policy.

“Hey Joe, I poke you with this friendly reminder about our community policy.”

They don’t need to take it personally when it’s written, right?

Just like Photographer Brandon Stanton did on the Humans of New York project.

Brandon explained the comment moderation rules in a Facebook post. This made it easier for fans and followers to know and follow the community guidelines.

2. Ignore them

Trolls cause negative reactions in others because they want attention. Then…

Just. ignore it. To them.

Do not fuel them.

They want you to be upset. Do not give them pleasure. Deprive them of their vital strength so they dig elsewhere. This is working.


While you as the social media manager choose to ignore them, other well-meaning members may not. Now the troll is gaining traction, which it craves and nurtures.

Inactivity is no longer an option.

No problem. Try a different strategy to avoid a tragedy.

3. Respond with facts

Are your trolls spreading rumors, misinformation, inaccuracies or outright lies?

Then refute the tales told by the trolls with facts.

Apple did it.

Reply to #bendgate that started with this video. A lot of trolling has followed the new ‘twisting’ iPhone 6 rumors.

Apple took a stand. They acknowledged an issue that only affected nine customers in the first six days after it went on sale.

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Instead of denying it, they accepted and disclosed. The controversy soon subsided.

Do the same for your brand. Confess and appeal to the trolls to run off their fuel.

4. Distribute with humor

It’s easy to say. It’s harder to do.

When done well, humor can humanize your brand and diffuse a situation.

Sainsbury’s grocery got it right.

They used jujutsu in response to a disappointing chicken sandwich to go with it, not against the flow.

Sainsbury responded to a negative comment with humor

Sainsbury achieved this because they…

  • Didn’t ignore the customer
  • noticed the problem
  • apologized
  • Reflected criticism with a witty response

However, if your prank fails, this can get the troll rolling.

5. Block or ban

Most trolls are annoying most of the time. And it’s usually harmless.

However, sometimes trolls take things too far. Like escalating threats or hate speech.

When they do, you can use your social power to block or ban them. Also, check the appropriate content standards for that social network. If your trolls are violating posts, report them.

6. Fix bugs

Listen to what people are saying on your social media accounts.

If you catch an error:

  • fix this
  • Let the person know what they are doing
  • explain why

If they’re a disgruntled (and reasonable) customer, they’ll likely appreciate it. Because…

  • you listened
  • you answered
  • You made them feel heard

This is what we all want. And it can turn disappointment into loyalty.

Unless they’re trolls.

They won’t care.

But still everything is fine. Why? Because…

  • Your community will hear
  • you showed you were listening
  • You have reimplemented your standards for appropriate behavior
  • Everyone can see how unprofessional you are acting
  • Other trolls will know not to mess with you

Joyful i can’t control what was said You can control how you react to what is said. All the good stuff for your brand.

7. Don’t be trapped

Just like ignoring them, don’t feed them either.

If they’re trying to be funny, your response might be just what they want for their crux.

It’s no joke if you don’t answer.

If you answer, keep your cool. We have explained above with ways and reasons.

8. Do not delete their posts

Because this can increase their bad behavior.

These Stanford-Cornell researchers say taking extreme precautions against minor violations can increase antisocial behavior.

They also found that if two users wrote posts of similar quality and one user’s post was “unfairly” deleted, that user would be more likely to write something worse in the future.

9. Build a supportive, friendly community

Trolls are a fact of social media life.

Make them your friend.

Remember, your community is waiting to see how you deal with them.

Think carefully and thoughtfully about your response to a troll. Then publish.

Others will notice. You gave them a chance to troll for you. They will most likely step in to make trolls feel unwelcome.

As Bradbury points out in the Guardian article… Take the main road. Whether it’s a customer with a legitimate complaint or a troll with no intention of getting good results.

Being responsive and responsible will help you build a supportive community of followers. Those who will respect you and stand by your side.

This will complicate the life of the trolls. They will most likely continue to spill their digital bile elsewhere.

Want to catch these nasty trolls before they infect your target audience? Set up your Moyens I/O control panel to listen, monitor and respond to them.