When you mail out information, you have full control over what your clients see, but when you’re working through social media, anyone can add to the conversation. This can be good, engaging customers and finding out better ways you can serve them, but it can also turn sour if trolls invade your online space. Knowing how to manage trolls can keep your online reputation intact.
What is a Troll?
A troll is someone who deliberately provokes others online using offensive or provocative comments, usually with the aim of angering readers or site owners.
You may get a comment from an angry customer now and then, but they may be seeking a solution to a problem they had with your services. A troll is only interested in creating problems. Trolls can be former customers, employees or just random people on the internet who’ve decided they have a grudge against your business.
Monitoring Your Social Media Presence
No matter how many sites your clinic handles, you need to keep track of your online reputation. Most platforms give you the option of being notified when your account is mentioned which can help you keep track of trends, good or bad, related to your business. Even if you’re not connected to review platforms, it helps to keep tabs on review sites like Yelp. Potential clients may turn away if they see negative reviews, even if the posters have never contacted your business.
Don’t Feed the Trolls
Trolls thrive on attention, so in most cases, it’s best to ignore their posts. If you need to engage with a troll, do so in a professional manner and don’t get stuck in a loop replying to their messages. While you may spend a few minutes answering their concerns, they’ll spend hours trying to pull apart your arguments. No matter what happens, don’t take it personally. The troll can use this to make you look foolish.
Use Site Policies to Defend Against Trolls
Sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have trolling and anti-abuse policies that can be used to handle trolls. Instead of interacting directly with them, you can report their actions and have the people running the site deal with the problem.
Be sure that you’re reporting problems the right way. For example, Instagram has a form to fill out if you or your business is being personally bullied or harassed, while general violations against their community guidelines are handled separately. On the other hand, Disqus, commonly used for website comment sections, handles everything using one form. Report the user if their account seems to only exist to troll, and report the content if this seems to be an isolated incident.
Remember: It’s Your Platform
We get involved in social media both to promote our businesses and to build a positive space for our clients. If you point a client toward your social media, make sure they’ll see something they’ll enjoy or find useful like pet care information, event announcements or clinic news.
Go ahead and delete offensive and abusive comments, but don’t be afraid to leave negative comments up if you’ve taken the time to answer the user’s grievances. If you show that you can handle problems positively, it makes you look better to the online community as a whole.
Anonymity is a troll’s friend. You’re less likely to have problems with sites where users must identify themselves. Take this into consideration when choosing how you’ll engage in social media: Twitter is notorious for trolls because everyone is effectively anonymous. If you have the option, disable anonymous comments.
Get Friendly Clients Onboard
Promoting your social media accounts to your clients can bring them into the fold, creating useful discussion and drowning out trolls. Most people won’t be looking for your online presence if they’re already clients, so try promoting your social media accounts using mail. Pairing mailers and social media together is also an effective marketing strategy: you can get their attention with a little information in a card which can be expanded online.
This communication can work both ways: questions clients ask online can clue you into changes that you need to make to the information you provide both online and on paper.
Positive Impressions Can Help You Build Positive Relations with Your Clients
No advertising strategy is complete without physical media. Positive Impressions LLC has helped veterinary offices and hospitals connect with their clients for over a decade by offering customizable veterinary cards for every occasion from birthdays to appointment reminders. Need prescription labels, memorial products, bags or sanitizers? We have all that and more. If you’re looking for new ways to keep in touch with your clients and their pets, stop by our website to see the latest specials and our most popular products.