How to Deal With Facebook Trolls

That moment when you wake up to a Facebook comment on a job post you’ve recently released for a client to find this: (sic) “BEWARE! This looks like one of thos  human traficking  ads. Don’t let your sister’s apply.”

Well geez! I posted a legitimate job posting with Facebook’s approval (meaning no misleading language, fake offers, click bait content…nothing). But this troll decided to make my life hell for a few hours.

It’s going to happen. If you manage social media (or even post to social) you’re going to get a negative comment or (gasp) a negative review eventually! So what’s a poor social media manager to do?

There are several choices you can make when/if you choose to engage with a troll or negative Neil, but here are some tactics that I’ve found work in most situations (and, sort of in the situation above, but more on that later).

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Publicly: Respond via the post (publicly) with a request to learn more. “It sounds like you have a story to tell us; can we get you to message us your phone number?” Don’t apologize, don’t engage in a discussion, don’t ask questions or try to solicit more details here.
  2. Privately: If you can, send them a private message. “Hey, I’d like to know more about the situation you described in your comment on XXX Facebook page.” Fast forward in sample exchange above and I sent a private message asking him why he felt that way about what we had posted. He immediately became apologetic, saying he has daughters, sisters, etc. and was just concerned. We parried back and forth with me breaking the SM creed and asking him to lightly edit his comment since it was a legit job post. He continued to apologize and then……(you’ll just have to wait for the ending).
  3. Ignore: You can ignore them. Sometimes others on your page will come to your defense and tell a positive story to offset the negative comment or review. You also can hide comments on a post or block the user, however, blocking is pretty definitive and may anger the poster into taking to other channels. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s your friends and family giving you positive strokes. I mean, I’m sure Facebook KNOWS you already KNOW these people, but as of now, they really don’t care.
  4. You can have those bad reviews removed……just kidding. Of course you can’t have them removed. The best way to offset a bad review is to get 15 good reviews. Think about it…when you last researched a major purchase and looked at reviews of the product, how many negative reviews did you read? Did the negative reviews strongly impact your decision to purchase? Usually, when I ask this question in training sessions, people respond that, “No, it didn’t negatively impact my purchase decision.” Or at least not enough to cause them to reject the purchase. So there’s that.
  5. Other: A combination of the above is usually called for. Back to the story: We were at the point where he was getting close to editing the post (this is all taking place on a Sunday afternoon btw) and I was trying to push him over the brink so I asked what branch of the service he was in since his profile pic showed a photo! He replied, “I’m a Marine,” so I typed Thank you for serving, and he replied, “You’re welcome. What do YOU do?” I’m responding as a company remember, but reply that I’m the SM manger for this brand.

No matter what choice you make in handling negative comments, there are pros and cons, so consider carefully. How much effect does the comment/review actually have on your brand? Do you want to get into a public discussion or prefer to keep it private (remember DON’T apologize anywhere until you know there is just cause)? Is there a valid point in reaching out to the poster/reviewer? What possible outcomes could there be (i.e. will the solution be worse than the problem)?

The rest of the story…After responding “I’m the SM manager for this brand,” he immediately typed back…”How old are you? Tell me more mon-Cheri.” 

Yep, I’ve dealt with probably 50-60 negative reviews/comments and should KNOW better, but even I got phished/trolled whatever you want to call it. So take it easy on yourself and your brand if someone comes along who doesn’t like you. Stay firm to your voice and professional in all situations both pubic and private and only as a last resort block that user from your page.

And call me if you ever want to vent – 269-341-3786. I love to talk all things marketing!