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How to Respond to Trolls on Facebook and Social Media

Published July 10, 2021

I’m an Elder Millennial, so when I grew up, trolls lived only in books and movies. Today, however, trolls are pervasive little suckers.  They don’t hide in caves or under bridges, they hide behind screens spitting their venom at any posts in their feed that awaken their lurking discontent.

If you’re a marketer or a business owner, you’ve likely come in contact with a troll.  You’re over here doing your best to come up with good content to grow your business when you get a notification that you’ve got a new comment and excitedly go to respond… only to find a steaming pile of troll crap. 

It’s so freaking annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Am I right?!

Who are these people who think they can just sh*t all over our hard work?!?!?

Okay sorry… I lost it for a second there.  But I’m sure you can relate.

Here’s the thing though… if you’re putting out content on a regular basis, you’re going to get trolls.  It’s inevitable.  Actually… it’s kind of like a badge of honor. Instead of commiserating over finding troll crap in our content… let’s congratulate each other!

“Wow… you got a troll!?  Congratulations, you must be doing something right!”

Regardless of what perspective you choose to have when finding trolls, you still must decide on how to respond.  Mostly for my own sanity, I decided to put together a guide on how to respond to trolls on Facebook and other social media platforms.  I hope it helps you… and me… and all of us who have to deal with these nuisances and their smelly, irritating discontent.

Troll Response Guide: Protocol for maintaining momentum and sanity as a social media marketer

Step 1: Relax.

Breathe.  Remember you’re not alone.  Marketers and business owners all over the world are faced with negative comments, and most of the time they come from trolls. 

Step 2: Identify them.

Click to view their profile and scroll through their content.  If you find a lot of other negative comments, they’re likely a troll.  If they don’t have a profile photo of their face, they’re likely a troll. If they follow vastly more people than they are followed by, they’re likely a troll. They might even be a BOT! If they’re a troll or a bot, you deal with them a bit differently than someone with an actual valid complaint which you would be wise to listen to.

Step 3: Get clear.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there any truth to their statement, or is it just an opinion?
  • Do they ask any questions you can answer?
  • Could you provide value to others by responding?
  • Do you need to consult with other departments? HR? Sales?
  • What are your brand values?  Does responding fit within those brand values?

Step 4: Choose a direction.

Here are some options you can choose from:

  • Respond with your brand account: Take this route if you’re not sure if they are a troll and you think value would be gained for your other followers by continuing the conversation, and your brand values support responding.  If you take this route, try to avoid defending yourself.  Instead, empathize and provide resources to help move the conversation in a more productive direction.
  • Hide their comment: Take this route if you’ve identified them as a likely troll, there are no valid questions asked in the comment, and no value can be gained for other followers by responding.
  • Delete their comment: Take this route if you’re sure they’re a troll or a bot.
  • Trust in your community: This is more of a passive response on your part. Instead of responding to the troll yourself, wait and see what happens. Do you have any dedicated followers likely to jump to your defense? If so, maybe give it a little time and see what happens. This route can be pretty entertaining, but keep in mind whether the banter is beneficial to your brand. If not, decide on a route above and take action yourself.

Step 5: Move on.

Ain’t nobody got time to dwell on a troll.  The longer you think about it, the more you smell like the crap they’re leaving all over Facebook.  Remember, they are full of discontent, and discontent won’t get you anywhere.  Take an action, then let it go.  Keep making great content and let the slimy troll roll off your back and fall into the pit it crawled out of.

If you liked this and want to continue the conversation, consider joining SprySpace – the Facebook group where digital marketers go for education, support, and virtual giggling.

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