How trolls can help build your social media brand in 2020

| January 6, 2020

Trolls can be distressing and the bane of anyone attempting to grow a social media brand, but they don’t have to be.

Social media expert Carissa Hill said openly and effectively dealing with trolls was a good way to build trust and respect online.

“I’ve had my fair share of haters, when building my Facebook group to 42,000 members,” said Mrs Hill.

“The way I’ve dealt with them has helped my personal and business image by being authentic, relatable and using it as an opportunity to share my personal story,” she said.

Mrs Hill said trolls were online bullies who tried to provoke people and bring them down.

Trolling includes sarcastic comments, insults, strong opposing views and off topic statements that deliberately derail conversation threads.

“To best deal with trolls, you need to understand their motivation,” said Mrs Hill.

“I believe trolls are unfulfilled people who try to meet their needs in negative ways.”

“They seem to lack human connection so they find each other on social media and spur each other on, often working in well organised syndicates.”

“They seek variety and significance, bullying others for entertainment and a sense of importance and power.”

“What most victims don’t realise is that trolls feel satisfied when they get an emotional reaction.”

Mrs Hill said having a plan to deal with trolls was a must for anyone wanting to be successful on social media.

“My prediction is that building a social media brand will become one of the most important things anyone can do for their careers in the new decade.”

“If you want a good job you need a solid social media brand because employers will investigate you.  And if you own a business, customers want to know more about you.”

“So, it’s important to not be put off by the potential for negativity online, but instead use any criticism as an opportunity to show your values and who you really are.”

To deal with trolls, Mrs Hill recommends:

  • Ignoring it – don’t be baited. By retaliating you are feeding the troll’s need for attention. Simply delete the comment and move on.
  • Share your story – respond by being honest and real. Admitting vulnerabilities builds empathy, appreciation and rapport.
  • Diffusing with humour – responding in a funny way can be effective if you can pull it off. It will endear you to your followers.
  • Responding with kindness – kill hate with love. Trolls stirring up conflict will be confused by an unexpected nice response.
  • Block, ban or report – comments that are offensive, a personal attack and/or hateful. Do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour.

With 10 years experience building brands on social media, Mrs Hill said she has employed many tactics when dealing with trolls.

“I posted a photo of myself with short, bright pink hair and a woman said I looked like a ‘stupid Millennial with coloured hair’,” said Mrs Hill.

“I explained that I was suffering from Alopecia (my hair was falling out). I shaved my hair, dyed it pink and raised $3000 for charity in the process.

“My troll went quiet after that.”

“When someone told me to ‘slap myself in the face because I was a stupid b*@ch’ I deleted and blocked that troll. I won’t have people speaking to me like that.”

Mrs Hill said over time people would build a following of people with shared beliefs and values.

“It’s the quality, not the quantity, of followers that matters,” she said.

“When you have a community of people who like and respect you, they will deal with the trolls because negativity and hate are not welcome.”

Reach Out Australia also recommends people ignore trolls or stand up to them.

If trolling is affecting your mental health, Reach Out Australia urges people take a break from social media and seek professional help.

Trolling can become part of a serious pattern of behaviour targeting an individual. Cyber abuse can have a seriously threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating effect on a person.

For help dealing with cyber abuse, visit