Content production challenges: managing troll comments in social media

As soon as you publish your first video, the moments of joy come: the first likes, the first positive comments. However, the first negative feedback soon arrives, as there are trolls on every social platform. Let’s first take a quick look at these two extremes and the types in between.

The world of social media commentators is made up of a diverse group of people who communicate on social media platforms in different ways and for different purposes. These are the types you’ll most often encounter when you’re thinking of mailing:

  • The activist: this type is also passionate about promoting their cause online. He usually argues political, environmental or social issues and tries to convince others of his point of view. Often knowledgeable and well-informed, but sometimes over-aggressive in trying to persuade others to agree.
  • The emotional: These commentators rely mostly on their emotions and personal experience. They often write long posts about their personal experiences or emotions, and try to influence others with arguments based on emotion. They tend to write under the influence of emotion, so can sometimes make overly impulsive or controversial comments.
  • The information gatherer: these commenters usually appear on social media to gather or share information. They often search for breaking news, articles and research and share them with the community. They usually seek objective and reliable sources and try to base their opinions on the facts.
  • Dedicated followers: these commenters are enthusiastic supporters of a group, community or brand. They loyally follow and defend the organisation or idea they support, and actively participate in social media shares and debates. Often positive and enthusiastic comments
  • The troll: troll commentators usually aim to annoy or provoke others. They seek to amuse or react, and often make offensive or teasing comments. Their aim is to spark online conflict and inflame people’s tempers. They generally do not take social media discussions seriously and focus on disruption.

There are significant differences in troll activity between platforms. LinkedIn is one of the safest, where users take responsibility for their face and can lose their next job if they misbehave. Instagram and Facebook require more caution, but most trolls are attracted to TikTok, especially in the early days when the platform’s algorithm is not yet fully aware of your content. The good news is that this situation is improving over time.

So the primary question is how to deal with negative feedback. Some choose not to read the comments, others lose interest completely and never share content again. It is important to note, however, that for every negative comment, there are also many positive ones, but these are often less visible. The best way to deal with trolls is to be a bullfighter. The bullfighter is not out to kill the bull, but to entertain the audience. Your aim is to get to know you, your ideas, build trust and turn your audience into potential customers, suppliers and partners. To do this, you need to be loved and trusted.

The “battles” with trolls in the comment stream are read, and enjoyed, by all. Therefore, a well-managed troll comment can be valuable content that helps to entertain your audience, show your value proposition and promote your product or service. So there is always opportunity in a troll. Remember, in most cases it is worth responding to comments, whether negative or positive. Communication increases engagement and strengthens your relationship with your followers. You don’t need to respond to every comment, but your audience will appreciate it if they see you’re addressing their feedback. Suppose someone makes a comment such as, “You glasses-wearing bastard, what are you trying to be clever about?” In this case, remember that you are the bullfighter. Ask back nicely, like, “Hi, is everything OK? You seem angry. Is there a problem?” This is a way to elegantly handle a negative comment while entertaining your audience.

Another possible strategy, when someone criticises your content professionally, is to get involved and respond as an expert. Maybe the troll is making a real, valid point in a crude way. By showing your expertise and explaining things in a kind, patient way, you not only educate, but also entertain.

Although there are some types of social media commenters who may be worth ign oring. Commenters who intentionally make comments that offend others or incite hatred are generally not contributing to a positive and constructive social media experience. These people often make a targeted attempt to insult or humiliate others, which creates a negative atmosphere and discourages constructive comments. Spreaders of fake news and disinformation who deliberately spread false information or fake news. These commentators do not contribute to a reliable flow of information and may mislead others. It’s important to rely on reliable sources and not let fake news influence your opinion. They are endless debaters, who argue about everything, even the smallest details. Interacting with these types of people often does not result in constructive and progressive debate, but is a waste of energy and time.

In summary, when dealing with troll comments, it is important to be calm and professional. Trolling always gives you the opportunity to entertain your audience, to show your value proposition, to talk about your product or service. So, when you see a troll comment, remember that they are part of your audience, and well-managed interactions can add value to your content.

The video on which this article is based can be found in the STRT Academy Knowledge Base: 100 days startup – 100 Startups

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