When to ignore, block or report trolls (and other bad characters)

Trolls can be hilarious, trolls can be mean, and sometimes trolls can be dangerous.

Most social media managers have their own systems for dealing with trolls, but it doesn’t hurt to have a policy in place for the team who handles social for your brand.

Here’s an outline we came up with. Got questions or something we missed? Tell us about it on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

When to ignore

Ignore more harmless behavior that will distract you and/or waste your time. Some people simply like to spend their time harassing brands for whatever reason. Once they’ve made it clear they don’t have an actual customer issue- or maybe aren’t even a customer at all- you can feel free to ignore them.

Just because other brands are “sassy” on social media doesn’t mean that it is worth your time to write up snappy comebacks—  or that that approach even works for your brand in the first place.

If it does work for your brand and with your brand voice, a little humor can often defuse an awkward or tense situation on social media. Sometimes simply responding with a GIF can lighten the mood or convince a troll to go spend their time trolling elsewhere.

When to report

Any harassment, spam or other harmful account actions should be reported.

You can also report accounts that are harassing or conducting harmful behavior toward your fans, followers, customers, employees or anyone at all.

When to Block

If the fit into the former category, they’re probably worth blocking too. If you get a harmless but consistent enough troll that they begin to eat up more of your time than you want to spend dealing with them, consider muting (if available) or blocking them.

And to those managing social accounts: Remember that just because you’re representing a brand doesn’t mean you have to take abuse on behalf of it. Block anyone making inappropriate comments, especially if they start to get personal.


Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash