Starting your own business Facebook page is probably one of the most exhilarating moments for any new business owner.
After all, you have done the hard work of developing a product or service, and now you are up to promoting it on social channels.
But wait. Hang on.
Why did that person just give me one-star rating? Why are all these people all of a sudden attacking me online? Why do they do it?
Who are these social media trolls?
Trolls are unfortunately something nearly ALL people face when running a business Facebook Page — and it can be soul destroying! The reasons they do it are varied. But usually (and unfortunately), it is somebody you might know or a fellow business person that is in competition with you.
From experience, I can say that the first two years of your Facebook Page will truly be the worst when it comes to dealing with trolls. And it is your job to weed them all out – but we’ll get to that.
Here are some dos and don’ts in dealing with trolls on your business Facebook page.
1. Don’t delete true negative reviews.
Remember this: A true negative review is NOT trolling.
If you receive a negative review on your Facebook page from a true customer and a true experience, most people want to delete it instantly. Don’t. And here’s why: Let your audience see how you handle the negativity. Contact the negative reviewer online and ask them how you can fix it (don’t ask them to remove it!), but take the time to listen to why they are upset – and fix the problem if it can be fixed.
Don’t start a huge online screaming match at each other, that is guaranteed to scare all future customers away.
But if you handle the negative criticism the right way, people can see you genuinely wish to help your customers sort out any problems they may have. And if you can’t come to a solution, explain to them (under their comment) – exactly WHY you can’t – without being mean. In fact, be as humble and respectful as you possibly can. And then leave it at that – even if they keep going.
2. Do have a policy on behaviour on your page.
In fact, feel free to copy mine and just change your details. Spell out everything that you DON’T want on your page. Encourage people to read your rules before commenting (even though they won’t). That way, if it comes to truly bad behaviour, you can cite a ‘breakage of the rules’ – and delete and ban!
3. Do identify the trolls and delete and ban.
All true trolls should be deleted and banned from your business page. No contact, no reply. That’s what they want – to engage you. Don’t give them the satisfaction. After having your business page for a year or two, you will be able to spot trolls a mile away – and will even ‘delight’ in the deleting and banning process.
If you aren’t sure they are trolling, give them one chance – and one chance only. Ask them publicly (and very nicely) to refer to your rules. A true follower will apologise and stick to the rules. However, a true troll will start again, will send you messages or stir shit on your page. So, delete and ban.
4. Don’t engage with them.
But, what happens when you receive a scathing email after deleting and banning?
If they have broken the rules and are screaming at you, do you really want them to be let back on your page to do it again? No way! Again, they are just trying to engage in a fight – and anything you say will probably be screenshot and shared with out trolls.
So don’t engage. Ignore. Put all emails of this nature into a separate folder (don’t just delete). You never know when you may need to refer to it in the future.
5. Do ‘feed them to the wolves’.
Okay, this tactic is for the larger pages that have a really passionate following. If this is you, then this can be a really great tactic to never have to worry. If a troll starts shitting on your page, leave it there – and wait.
Your following will see right through it – and will defend you to the ends of the earth – without you having to do a thing!
Of course, don’t make a habit of this, but seeing it occassionally will not only make you look good, but will empower your fans too! Keep a close eye on things though, this sort of on-page behaviour should always be moderated in case the troll starts giving your fans too much trouble. In case, delete and ban after say 30 minutes.
Then send the fans that defended you a message thanking them for doing so – or even send them a gift!
Some Fun Stories I’ve Had with Trolls Over the Years
You Club Baby Seals
About six months into the start of the Stay at Home Mum Facebook Page, the brand new website had JUST gone online. One of the very first articles on the website was how to make your own home made baby wipes. The article is still there! Anyway, a troll got onto the Facebook Page and started going MENTAL because not all of the ingredients were vegan and green. After we deleted and banned her because she continuously called us terrible names and was also calling others on the page names, we received an email.
‘If you use those ingredients to make home made baby wipes, you may as well club baby seals.’
I had the email printed out and up on the wall of my office for years because it made me chuckle.. What the?
I Hope Your Family Die in a Fire
This is probably the most terrible troll I’ve ever had. About five years ago another money saving blogger, a fellow Queensland Mum, messaged me to say we had copied their content on one of her articles. We hadn’t, but many money saving bloggers cover very similar content. I politely told her that no, I had not copied her content, and that I write all the articles myself, and I deliberately don’t go onto other similar websites in case I might accidentally use the same wording….
She didn’t take my word for it. After finally banning her as it escalated rather quickly, she started calling the office and leaving messages on the answering machine around the clock. We got her number blocked. Then the bombardment of emails started. When she emailed that she hoped that me, and my family all die in a fire, we referred the matter to the Police.
When I went and looked at the content in question, it was identical to MINE and my article was written three years earlier than hers had been. Grrrrrrrrrr.
So, how do you deal with trolls on your Facebook page?