A Guest Post By @c_pappas:
I participated in the weekly #SM121 chat (add +1 for every week so next week its #SM122) this week hosted by Peg Fitzpatrick http://www.twitter.com/PegFitzpatrick. The topic? Trolls and the art of dealing with negativity in social media. http://hashtagsocialmedia.com/blog/trolls-or-contrarians-the-food-chain-of-social-media/ Trolls? Contrarians? Huh? Who are these people and why are they associated with negativity? My mind automatically raced to social network bots but that wasn’t exactly what the chat was about.
The Difference between Good Negative and Bad Negative
A troll intends to do harm to your brand by posting negative comments about your brand, your products and you while a contrarian is most likely to post something negative but in a more thought-provoking manner. Both scream negative energy through and through but one is pure spam and the other is just an honest opinion.
So what do you do when a troll or a contrarian lands on your blog, posts something on your wall or tweets something about you to your followers? My advice? Proceed with caution.
Simple way to weed out a troll is to respond back and challenge their claim. If they are in fact a troll, their brainpower ammo will not sustain the conversation and they will revert back to their original blasphemy. While I would never tell anyone to just delete negative comments for fear someone may see them *gasp*, you should absolutely respond and remove this person’s ability to post in the future once you have stamped them with the troll label.
Now a contrarian on the other hand, I think, is pretty cool. This is a person who has an opinion and is not afraid to use it. Something you or your brand said or did ignited something in them that caused them to respond. Now I don’t know about you, but I write content with the intent to get a reaction and if I get the attention of a contrarian, then I know I said something right (or wrong most likely according to them). And I want them to come to my site because I know a juicy debate will follow.
Social media has opened new doors for all of us. We can communicate freely whether in a positive or negative manner and be noticed by tens of thousands of people in seconds and the same goes for your brand. Handling negativity is no easy feat. You need to know when to edit your audience and when to let them speak their mind and fuel your conversation. It’s a fine line.
How do you handle negativity in social media? Do you treat trolls and contrarians differently?
About @c_pappas :
Christina Pappas is a Inbound Marketing Professional with a passion for content marketing, lead generation and social media. She is an avid blogger at The Content Cocktail which focuses on how to leverage a vendor agnostic approach to lead generation in order to increase conversions and bottom-line revenue. Christina is a marketing communications and lead generation professional who has spent most of her career at B2B technology companies and in the hospitality industry. Her Blog can be found at: http://thecontentcocktail.com