Navigating the Social Media Maze: How Small Businesses can Manage Trolls and Negativity

Navigating the Social Media Maze: How Small Businesses can Manage Trolls and Negativity

If one thing is true about people, it’s that they love to talk, and talk, and talk…. So, why not use this to your advantage, and instead of them talking about boring, everyday stuff, encourage them to talk about how amazing your business is!


How do you do this? Through encouraging your Customers to promote your business through word-of-mouth recommendations, of course! You may think that this is nothing new, after all, word-of-mouth recommendations have long been a cornerstone of Small Business success. What you are not considering however, is the rise of something very important in today’s world. You may have heard of it, a little thing called the internet…


The online marketing channels of today offer Small Businesses unprecedented opportunities to amplify and facilitate word-of-mouth recommendations. As always, we are here with your weekly blog to educate you on all things digital in the world of business, so buckle up and let us take you on this incredible journey through word-of-mouth recommendations.

What is Social Media trolling?

What is Social Media trolling?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of how to deal with Social Media trolling, it’s important that we explain just what this phenomenon is. There’s no point in giving you a comprehensive guide on how to navigate trolling if at the end you still don’t know what it is. That would be a waste of everybody’s time.


Social Media trolling refers to the act of deliberately provoking or antagonising others on Social Media platforms. Trolls typically engage in disruptive behaviour with the intention of causing conflict, eliciting emotional responses, or derailing discussions. What is involved? Well, various things, so make sure to get comfortable as we go through it all.


Inflammatory Comments: Posting of inflammatory or offensive comments designed to provoke a reaction from others. These comments may be rude, disrespectful, or deliberately provocative in nature.


Personal Attacks: Attacks or harassment targeting individuals or groups based on their characteristics, opinions, or affiliations. These attacks can range from insults and name-calling to threats and intimidation.


Spreading Misinformation: The sharing of misleading information with the intention of causing confusion, sowing discord, or undermining trust in legitimate sources of information.


Disruptive Behaviour: Disrupting conversations, discussions, or Online communities by derailing topics, hijacking threads, or creating chaos with off-topic or irrelevant comments.


Attention-Seeking Behaviour: Trolls often seek attention and validation through their disruptive actions. They may derive satisfaction from inciting reactions from others, gaining notoriety, or exerting control over Online spaces.


Anonymity or Pseudonymity: Trolls may hide behind anonymity or pseudonyms to conceal their true identity and evade accountability for their actions. This anonymity can embolden trolls to engage in more aggressive or harmful behaviour without fear of consequences.


Persistent and Repetitive Behaviour: Trolling is often characterised by persistent and repetitive behaviour, with trolls targeting the same individuals, topics, or communities over time. They may continue their disruptive activities even after being warned or banned from Social Media platforms.

How to Deal with Social Media Trolling

How to Deal with Social Media Trolling

Now onto the point of this blog. From our explanation of trolling you may think that dealing with trolls is easy. We’re incredibly sorry to burst your bubble, but this is the internet, not everyone here is Glinda the Good Witch. There's  actually quite a few Wicked Witches of the West crawling around, and believe us, they’re not pleasant or easy to deal with.


Recognise the Signs of Trolling: Understanding what constitutes trolling behaviour is the first step in effectively managing it. If you didn’t read our explanation of trolling (quite rude of you) scroll up to familiarise yourself with the traits. However, while we want you to understand how to manage trolls it’s important that you are able to distinguish between constructive criticism and genuine feedback from trolling behaviour. While constructive criticism aims to provide valuable insights and contribute to meaningful discussions, trolling is motivated by a desire to disrupt, antagonise, or harm others.


Don't Feed the Trolls: Everyone loves attention (at least we do), trolls however, thrive on any attention and reactions that they can get. Due to this, engaging with trolls directly can often escalate the situation and draw more negative attention to your brand. Instead, practise restraint and avoid feeding into their behaviour. Consider implementing a policy of not engaging with trolls or responding only when absolutely necessary and in a calm, professional manner.


Set Clear Community Guidelines: As much as we all love to be rebels from time to time, rules exist for a reason. Establishing clear community guidelines for your Social Media channels can help set expectations for acceptable behaviour and discourse. Clearly outline what constitutes respectful communication and specify consequences for violating these guidelines, such as comment removal or user bans. Consistently enforce these guidelines to maintain a positive and inclusive Online community.


Monitor and Moderate Comments: As much as you probably want to be the fun aunty among your business’s Online community, sometimes you need to be the stern mum that is keeping everyone in line. By regularly monitoring comments and conversations on your Social Media channels you can identify and address any instances of trolling promptly. Utilise Social Media management tools and filters to automatically flag and remove inappropriate content. Be proactive in moderating discussions to ensure a safe and respectful environment for your audience.


Navigating Social Media trolls and negativity can be a daunting task for Small Businesses, but it's not impossible. By adopting a proactive and strategic approach to managing Online interactions, you can maintain a positive and constructive Social Media presence and scare those trolls back into the scary woods where they belong!