In the digital marketing world, trolls can be found in search, social and online reviews. According to Pew Research, more than 72% of internet users have witnessed at least one harassing behavior online.
The trolls seem to obsess and relish over instigating, starting quarrels or upsetting people just because.
Whether you are just entering the online space or a pro, it can particularly be disturbing, especially for social advertisers running campaigns, the last thing you want is to pay for PR brain damage. Remember, take a deep breath, they are not a reflection of your work or your client. #HatersGonnaHate
Tip: Remember, take a deep breath, they are not a reflection of your work or client. #hatersgonnahate
I caught up with Cat Howell, Founder, and CEO of Eight Loop Social, a New Zealand-based Facebook Ads Agency and admin of the Facebook Ad Hacks Facebook Group for Facebook marketers and agency owners, to find out how she handles the haters of the digital marketing world, the ones who try to manipulate our psyche and ROI.
In case this sounds like you or someone you know, here is a guide to help you navigate what many never talk about – the haters on your ads!
“After six years of playing in the online marketing space, I’ve become somewhat immune to trolls – I often forget how horrible of an experience it was to deal with when I was first getting started out,” said Howell.
Here are highlights on Howell’s troll survival guide
📚Getting Started With Trolls📚
You don’t have to put in an order for them, they will come uninvited with their unsolicited attitudes and opinions.
“I have seen cancer campaigns get trolled. I’ve seen at-risk youth charities get trolled. I’ve even seen brilliant and beautiful artists get slammed by trolls,” Howell said.
Heck, if mother Theresa ran ads she would get trolled HARD.
That says something.
They. Are. Everywhere.
And if you are making any sort of impact in this world, you’re going to need to get used to trolls.
In fact, in many ways, trolls should serve as a sign that you are making waves as they have become a staple part of the line ecosystem.
So the first step is to refocus. Trolls ARE NOT a reflection of your self worth and please do not ever base any kind of decision on what a troll may have said to you other than the decision to let it be water off your back!
📚Ways to Mitigate Trolls📚
Possible reality: you can’t truly ever get rid of them.
“I’ve worked with too many brilliant businesses and soloprenuers to have seen first hand that they are like the barnacles of the internet,” Howell said.
But, there are things you can put in place to protect yourself and or reduce the amount of trolling you get:
✅Run awareness based campaigns before running your direct response
✅Hire community managers to handle your posts and feeds
✅Have fun with them.
Types of Trolls
Here is a list of the most common types of trolls you will likely encounter:
🤖The Bot Troll🤖
These are basically fake bot farms that essentially are created to leave negative feedback and comments across ads and on blog posts.
How to spot them 👉 The comments seem irrelevant to you or what you’re talking about. When you click on the profile it’s a random logo or a page with no content on their feed
How to handle them 👉 They’re not human, no need to respond. Delete and block. If the issue is persistent and growing have a look at where your traffic is coming from and review your campaign objectives or targeting.
😈 The Sexual Troll 😈
They seek validation through shock factor and sexual gratification. Some are genuinely trying to connect but their approach is less than ideal.
How to spot 👉 “The dick pic in your inbox is usually a good indication,” said Howell. Comments or messages that are generated around sex or sexual acts usually give it away too.
How to handle 👉 Delete and ban the person from your ads. If someone messaged you-you can also delete and ban although I must say my team and I have a bit of fun with these types and will respond with dick pics sent from other trolls.
🤬The Keyboard Warrior Troll 🤬
These trolls are a little bit nastier than the above and will make snarky comments, accusations or leave abuse that can sting like a bitch!
Some will take things to the next level and start seeking out all of your content to troll, leave negative reviews on your page without ever having bought or worked with you and go so far as to create negative threads about you in forums.
How to spot them 👉 Horrendous use of grammar most of the time. The profile photo is more often than not some stock image or a cat picture. When you check out their profile their feed is mostly shared links. If you check your CRM you’ll see they’ve never purchased or worked with you before.
How to handle 👉 They are rigid in their opposition to something, it stems from a deep fear of change and the uncertainty it could bring.
They must have everything on their terms and feel in control. Can you say control freak? This actually describes every single human being on this planet, however, this type of troll lacks the control in the aspects of their life that most of us as able to draw from and so find power in putting others down.
If it’s abusive or hate-based comments – delete and ban. Be done with it. If the comments are about your product and integrity then respond in a non triggered manner.
For example: “this is a scam and they’re just ripping people off”
Response: “Hey Fred sorry to hear you think this is a scam, I can see from our records that you have never purchased from us before. Can you clarify why you say this is a scam! We have worked with over xyz customers and pride ourselves on being the best in the market”
If the comment is so ludicrous you can’t even answer in a logical way a good response is “you’re right”.
There’s not much someone can argue about you after you tell them they’re right but to all others reading they will see how triggered the troll was, to begin with:
Ex: “You’re just an alien trying to scam all the money.”
“You’re full of shit.”
Response: “You’re right”
😡The Angry Customer Troll😡
How to Spot 👉 Them These are customers that either struggled to get any response from your support team or weren’t happy with their purchase.
How to handle 👉 Believe it or not but you should come to LOVE these kinds of trolls as the social proof this will build on your online assets once you respond will be pure fuel to your marketing.
Use this as a chance to look after the customer, show you care and handle the issue.
Tip – never ever handle the logistics on the thread, always take it into a DM if possible.
Ex: “I bought my product six weeks ago and still nothing, this is just a big scam!”
Response: “Hey Fred, we’re so very sorry to hear you haven’t received your product yet! We would like to sort this out for you asap! Please send us a DM with the email address you used to purchase and we will resolve this matter for you!”
An ad with this kind of commenting will propel your conversion rate as this is the kind of stuff consumers want to see, a responsive and caring company.
🔪The Psycho Troll🔪
How to Spot them 👉“I’ve only encountered two of these in my life, but boy oh boy – it makes me shudder to still think of those instances,” Howell said.
These are extremely rare but have a sharp bite when they decide to come after you. They appear to have a personal vendetta against you and will go to great lengths to get a reaction from you and attempt to destroy you.
How to handle 👉 If you have a psycho troll on your hands tread carefully. The key is not to trigger them further whilst putting an end to the madness.
First, reach out directly to them and leave a voice memo asking to clarify why the sudden attacks. If this leads nowhere involve a lawyer with a restraining order or cease and desist.
“If the troll threat is serious enough – if they threaten your life, please screenshot and do report to local police,” said Page Schneider Vandiver, Facebook ad expert, and owner of Will & Page Vandiver agency.
Trolls can wreak havoc and snowball into larger problems that could cause more of an increase in negative visibility and attention.
“It’s important to remember NEVER EVER base your success off of what a troll says – you are rocking it if you are getting trolls!”
🤑Trolls can be a sign of success? 🤑
“Coming from the music industry I always live by the mantra, ‘I need to raise my hater weight.’ They definitely can sting at times, but I always need more haters in my life. If nobody’s hating you aren’t doing anything worth caring about,” said Martin L. Smith, Founder at Overflow Marketing Solutions.
How do you handle online trolls? Remember you run your business, not the trolls. Don’t lose yourself to the culture of hate.
A version of this article originally appeared here.