Why businesses need to take Internet trolling seriously
by Sarbajit Das
Many businesses and startups have established themselves online to generate revenues solely from the Internet. But these businesses often face shortcomings in the form of ubiquitous trolls or misleading reviews, so dealing with them strategically is key to protecting the reputation of the brand.
Trolling is the epitome of negativity and falsehood on the digital platform. It is aimed at harming the sentiments or image of brands and individuals online. Sometimes it results in much worse consequences.
Let's talk business
Businesses have to understand that despite the heavy traffic, every individual digital footprint matters-this means that visitors on the website, participants on online forums or those leaving comments on social media pages are all potential customers. So, negative comments or trolls can put them off.
Trolls try to disrupt that and even derail it with malicious digital exercises. Cases of digital defamation, false accusations, and threats of varying degrees to extort money from businesses are widespread these days. In most cases there are unhappy customers involved who have been spurned rightfully for their illogical demands, or there could also be trolls that have been paid to execute by competing businesses who wish to demean a brand.
Furthermore, it doesn't take much time for a person who is well-versed with technology to become a vicious hacker and disturb your website by hacking or distorting information, especially if your website does not have the right security & coding architecture. Therefore, one should always be prepared by having a firm grip over quality assurance, and an adept public relations team to assist in such crucial situations. So partnering with third party discussion forums to eradicate trolling directed at the brand is actually an integral step for your business.
Coming back to your individual brand
Not just brands, but also high-profile individuals get trolled now and then on various issues. It is simply difficult for the audience to understand the real motive behind this publicity stunt which result in spreading rumours, thereby hampering the reputation of the individual. At times, these stunts have been deemed to have a far greater ROI than many would care to believe.
So, one should pro-actively build a robust and flexible plan that can successfully mitigate the trolling issues. Here are some:
- Never forward a video, comment, or message attacking someone else. Don't be tempted, no matter how 'funny' or 'interesting' one thinks it might be for people.
- If you are being trolled, block the user. This should always be the primary step.
- Take screenshots and maintain a folder to record inappropriate or hurtful messages. Keep details of the sender if possible.
How is everybody else curbing trolls?
Companies and individuals are already doing a lot these days to curb troll traffic on their website forums, by creating customized software that tackles them. Those who fail to deploy such software have simply employed individuals to manually read through the comments and thwart any trolling directed at their brand. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are organizations whose basic business revolves around people's comments have themselves taken cognizance of the deep-rooted problem of online trolling in this day and age. Some have even developed troll tracking and abolition tools to make social media a safer, troll-free place.
Is your business ready to tackle online trolls yet?
Sarbajit Das is the founder and CEO of Sun Dew Solutions, an award-winning techno-digital services company.