Tips for Dealing with Trolls

Tips for Dealing with Trolls

trolls infographic
Infographic originally posted in MarketWatch 7/14/16. Click to enlarge.

Leslie Jones, a strong woman, young comedienne and one of the stars of the new Ghostbusters movie, has left twitter due to online sexist, and racist, harassment.  In response,  Twitter has suspended a conservative commentator’s profile permanently.  Leslie Jones got trolled in the most horrific way.  If you are interested in learning more, there are links at the end.

Trolls.   What are they?  Trolls make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.  And it can be difficult to deal with them on your business social profile.  Do not confuse a troll with someone who has a legitimate complaint.  Trolls purposely try to cause a heated discussion, often will cuss, and really want to blow up the thread of dialogue on your page.  This often stops  other customers from commenting, and hurts your ability to have feedback, and opportunities to engage your customers.

Some businesses have eliminated comments on their own websites.  However when using social media, you may not have the option to turn off comments.  In this article, I’m going to talk about some options you have to deal with trolls.  The larger your brand is the more likely you will be trolled.

Some Tips on dealing with Trolling Trolls.


Just because someone made a negative comment, doesn’t make them a troll.  They may truly be someone who has had a problem with your product or service.  Listen and respond with kindness.  Fix the problem.   The old adage is true, that if you anger a customer they will tell 3 people.  If you fix their problems and make them happy, they will tell a different tale to 10 people.  The more you respect and respond to your customers online, the stronger your fan base will become, ensuring less trolls hitting your website or social media profile.

Consider using Disqus.

Disqus is a free service to add on to your website that helps monitor comments, identify commenters and as of last month, allows you to block users.  From the Disqus press release:

“Starting today, all users of Disqus can block profiles of commenters that are distracting from their online discussion experience. Blocking someone on the Disqus network removes activity from all areas a user experiences communication. This means that if you block someone, you’ll no longer get notifications from them via email or in your Disqus Inbox, nor will you see discussions or comments by them in your Home feed or on discussion threads.”

Learn more about Disqus.

Establish a policy

This is something I recommend to all my social media clients.  Somewhere on your profile – maybe in the about section, a note, or a post pinned to the top of the page – let your commentors know what will not be tolerated.   A great phrase to use is “any language that disrupts the flow of the online conversation”, in addition to saying you won’t tolerate cuss words and harassment of your business, or your customers who are also commenting on the page.   Let people know the consequences for that as well.   First a warning, then deletion of the comment or comments, then a block.  Most social media platforms have a way for you to block someone.


On most websites and on most social media, you can moderate comments.  You can hold a comment until it’s read by you or someone you’ve hired to monitor your site, and approve the comments to be published.  This slows down the discussion, and is something that should be done in a timely manner.  I usually only recommend this for customers who have the man power to be able to approve or delete comments around the clock.

canstockphoto37482632Ignore them, do not respond.

In order to blow up your feed, a troll needs a victim and he needs that victim to play along.  If you do not engage them, he may just slink away.  I say he, because most trolls are male and under 21.

You especially do not want to engage them because you will never win the argument with a troll.  Trolls excel in arguing, it’s their whole purpose, if there is no argument, there is no troll.   Trolls are also not your friend and most likely not even someone who uses your product.  They are lonely, and bored and looking for a thrill and they go for the kill.  They want to, and will, defeat you.

Try Humor.

This is a hard one but when done correctly is genius.   Here’s an example:

trolls tweet answered

Not all brands will be able to have a sense of humor, and you might not be funny.  But by making light of a trolls post, you can certainly deflate the situation, and fast.  In the above interaction, there is no possible reply by the troll other than, “Thanks”, or a laugh.

Trust your Brand Warriors.

Build an online strong and unified community of your followers.  You’ll find that they often will attack the troll themselves and deal with him forthwith!   A troll usually wants your attention and wants to see how far they can take the issue up with you.  When your fans respond, the troll usually disappears.  On occasion, the troll will start a fight with your fans.  I still suggest you stay out of it, other than deleting any comments that go against the policy of the page.  See why that policy is so important now?

If you need help, it would be my honor to help you.  Feel free to call, text or email me.

If you have found this blog useful, please consider sharing it with your friends and associates.

For those interested in the Leslie Jones News Story:

Twitter Suspends Conservative Commentator’s account.
Just because:  Dan Akroyd fires back at Leslie Jones Twitter Haters


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