How to Deal with a Troller

I've been TROLLED, and if you know me, you know I'm gonna turn this into a positive. I can't help myself! Why am I sharing this experience? I have met so many amazing, talented people who would love to start a business and/or social media presence but are too afraid of that 1%. You know who I'm talking about. That 1% whose goal in life is to cut a stranger down, criticize their work and punish them for having the guts to be "out there".

Now I want you to visualize me saying this with my mama-finger pointed and eyes glaring over my glasses. "When someone tries to kick you down they have told you loud and clear that you have something they want, or are worried about you having." 

Have you ever been trolled? Please share your experience in comments below.

There are A LOT of great resources explaining how to manage a troller situation, and by no means am I an expert. I am just a stay-at-home-mom who runs a small business and private label paint brand who is passionate about sharing solutions with others. Sometimes I'm graceful when faced with conflict...and sometimes I'm not...but I can always count on my Porch Nook community to keep me honest. LOVE YOU ALL!

At the end of this article you'll find a short dialog I exchanged with a woman who felt compelled to criticize my brand publicly just because she could. Feel free to share in comments whether you felt my response was appropriate.

I did cover these points on a Facebook Live you can find on my Porch Nook YouTube channel.

Step #1 - Establish a policy

When launching a company website or social media accounts, consider publishing a policy for user comments. These policies should clearly detail what kind of comments are allowed. These are especially handy for those who are conflict adverse. Instead of having to say, "I don't like what you said", or defending yourself for deleting a comment, you can just point to the policy. "Sorry, the policy says you can't do that."...that way the policy is the bad guy. Make sense?

Here's an example of what a policy may look like. Feel free to use it...

We love comments and appreciate the time that our readers spend to share ideas and give feedback. Thank you to everyone who comments at the [YOUR WEBSITE/SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT]. However, we also want our comments to be as useful as possible to all of our readers. While we keep 99% of comments, we will remove these:
  • Harassing comments: While conversation and the sharing of different ideas is encouraged, all comments need to be respectful towards our contributors and those leaving comments. Anonymous comments: We only accept comments from people who identify themselves.
  • Promotional comments: If a comment is solely promotional in nature, we will remove it from the site.
  • We reserve the right to remove any comments from the site; please leave comments that are respectful and useful. If you have any questions on the commenting policy, please let us know.

Have you ever been trolled? Please share your experience in comments below.

Step #2 - Take a deep breath and listen

How the mind and body responds to criticism amazes me every time! The wave of emotions are strong and have the ability to take over your entire bandwidth. Surprise, anger, embarrassment...these are strong, primitive emotions. Then the fight or flight instinct kicks in, encouraging you to block, delete or respond in a rash way that could make things worse.

Approach this moment as an opportunity. It's important to listen to what's being said about your brand. There is a VERY high likelihood this is a real customer sharing their dissatisfaction. It's importance to know the difference and listen. Sometimes people just want to be heard. Hear them, try to help, and they’ll almost always thank you publicly.

How do you know if it's a troller? If the criticism you receive is not based on a direct interaction or experience they've shared with you, your brand, your work, your product…then congratulations, you have a troller!

Now...when I say, "Congratulations", I really mean it. I throw my arms in the air and whisper, “YES!” when I come across this behavior on my website or social accounts because 1) it means I’m doing something right,  2) I'm going to learn something, 3) they have empowered me to take control of the situation and 4) I now have the opportunity to leverage my business.

Step #3 - You have a troller, now what?

This is an empowering moment! I swear to you, it is. Remember my mama-finger shaking at you, "When someone tries to kick you down they have told you loud and clear that you have something they want, or are worried about you having." 

Ignore them…perhaps even block them. 

Time is money. Bandwidth is money. It’s really easy to allow someone’s bad behavior ruin your day. Did you know, according to the Pew Research Center, 60% of respondents opt to ignore online harassment? If you decide to ignore a troller in order to move on with your day, you are in great company. In regards to blocking, I believe in the social universe you have the right to cultivate a community that is healthy for you as well as your followers. Permission granted!
Trolls want attention. They want to get you angry, frustrated or uncomfortable. No matter how difficult it might be, simply ignoring a troll could your best tactic because when they don’t get a response, they’ll most likely go away.
Humanize the situation.
Of the remaining 40% who decided to take a different approach, 47% engaged with the troller online according to the Pew Research Center. If one day you decide to fall within that 47%, understand doing so will require a great deal professionalism and responsibility on your part. Here is my formula when drafting a response.
  1. Kill them with kindness and smarts.
  2. Acknowledge who they are. Taking away the power of anonymity is very powerful and will make them think twice about leaving a nasty comment in the future. DO NOT reveal sensitive information you may find online.
  3. Acknowledge their point of view and why they may have it.
  4. Thank them for sharing their opinion.
  5. Align your passion with theirs.
  6. Share a benefit about your business, community…anything that you believe makes you AWESOME.
  7. Praise what they do for a living and encourage them to keep up the great work.

As promised...

Below you will find the dialog exchanged on my Porch Nook YouTube channel. Let me know how you think I did. Did I responded using my formula? Professionalism? With responsibility? I greatly appreciate your feedback! 

  • Although this dialog exists on YouTube without the black lining, I felt it was appropriate to do so here. I mean...if one day this woman has a change of heart and decides to remove her comment, it wouldn't be right of me to expose who she is in the future via my blog. 
  • In my videos I NEVER mention other paint brand names. Her response is a reaction to my explaining what "chalky finish paint" is. You can find the video here.

How to Deal with a Troller | by Porch Nook



1 comment

  • You are the best. Love you girl.

    Diane Henson

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