Digital marketing can be a tough environment, even for those of us who have been cracking away at the keyboard since Berners-Lee put 3 W’s together for the first time. So what can you do when your best laid campaigns and marketing strategies ensare an internet troll or other adversary? While the knee-jerk response might be to just feel your feelings and let it all out, we have a sleeker approach and a few fun twists on the old expletive-laden standards to keep the sweat off your brow and bridges unburned in the toughest of situations.
First and foremost, Don’t Feed the trolls
If you have a negative comment or content about something you are pitching, sometimes the best response is no response. In the industry, we say “Don’t feed the Trolls,” and it means don’t engage with content that puts you in a bad light because it can actually call more attention to the negative content and, in some cases, bring more attention to the negative content than the original content or subject you are working with. This may seem entirely counter-intuitive but when you understand how media algorithms work you quickly realize that every comment, every response, and every piece of dialog you create with a negative interaction actually adds fuel to the fire when it comes to social media platforms and search platforms that are designed to serve up the hottest content. A post with more comments will get served higher than one without responses. A negative review with a nasty response is more damning that an unresolved one (although a polite but short response can be a net positive if you know how to handle the situation with tact). Responses to negative Tweets are far more likely to be seen by your followers than ones you ignore, and posts with incendiary comments get shared more than posts with polite ones. It feels terrible sometimes to let a negative and sometimes entirely false comment or piece of content go without being battled down, or at least corrected, but in the court of public opinion, any mud-slinging, even when it is just, is still mud-slinging, and the spectacle in and of itself can bring a crowd to something you don’t want made public. For context, Google the Streisand effect, where fighting to take something down can actually cause more attention to the thing in question.
What is a Troll, and why are they so much trouble?
Ok, so we know not to feed the trolls now, but what is a troll, and what kind of damage can they do? Internet trolls can cause a variety of problems for digital marketing efforts, affecting both the brand image and the effectiveness of online campaigns. Some of the disruptive behaviors and consequences include:
- Spreading Misinformation: Trolls may deliberately spread false information about a product, service, or the company itself, which can mislead potential customers and damage the brand’s reputation.
- Hijacking Conversations: They often infiltrate comment sections or social media discussions related to the brand and derail the conversation with irrelevant or provocative comments, distracting from the original message or content.
- Engaging in Negative Commentary: Trolls might post negative or inflammatory remarks on various platforms, aiming to provoke a reaction from other users or the brand, which can escalate into public relations issues.
- Impersonating Brands or Individuals: Some trolls go to the extent of creating fake accounts impersonating the brand or its representatives, which can lead to confusion and mistrust among the audience.
- Attacking Other Users: Trolling can create a hostile environment by attacking other users who engage with the brand’s content, potentially discouraging constructive interaction and community building.
- Overwhelming Platforms with Spam: Automated or manual spamming of a brand’s digital channels can drown out legitimate content and marketing messages, making it difficult for the brand to communicate effectively.
- Initiating Hashtag Hijacking: Trolls may misuse a brand’s campaign hashtags to spread unrelated or harmful content, undermining the campaign’s objectives and possibly associating the brand with negative content.
- Damaging Customer Relationships: The abrasive interactions that trolls incite can negatively impact the customer experience, sometimes leading to loss of trust and customer churn.
- Exploiting Sensitive Topics: Trolls often exploit sensitive topics to create controversy and division, which can reflect poorly on a brand if it inadvertently becomes associated with such discussions.
- Disrupting Analytics and Feedback: Trolling behavior can skew analytics (like engagement rates, sentiment analysis) and feedback mechanisms, making it challenging for marketers to obtain accurate data on campaign performance and audience preferences.
In the digital marketing space, dealing with trolls requires a strategic approach that often includes active moderation, clear community guidelines, and sometimes the use of automated tools to detect and manage inappropriate content. Brands must be vigilant and responsive to minimize the impact trolls can have on their digital marketing efforts.
How do you handle negative press or a troll situation?
Dealing with negative press or an internet troll is a delicate situation that requires a measured and strategic approach. Remember, even the worst “troll” may have a valid reason for being upset, so stay calm and think first before you react. If you handle the situation with grace it can actually a net win not only for you but for everyone watching the way you handle a tough situation. Here’s how a digital marketing team should respond:
- Assess the Situation:
- Determine if the negative press or trolling is a one-time comment or part of a larger trend.
- Evaluate the potential impact on the brand’s reputation.
- Evaluate the validity of the negative claims being made.
- Monitor Closely:
- Keep an eye on all mentions and the spread of the negative content.
- Use social listening tools to track the sentiment and volume of the conversation.
- Do Not Engage Hastily:
- Avoid knee-jerk reactions that can escalate the situation.
- Take the time to formulate a considered response, or if a response is necessary at all. In may cases, no response is the best course of action, depending on if the claim is valid or just misdirected foment.
- Prepare a Response Plan:
- Develop a response that is aligned with the brand’s voice and values.
- If dealing with a troll, determine if a public response is warranted or if it’s better to ignore, block, or report the user.
- Communicate Internally:
- Ensure that all relevant team members are informed about the situation and the agreed-upon response strategy.
- Respond Appropriately:
- If the negative press has legitimacy, acknowledge the issue, apologize if necessary, and outline steps to address it.
- For trolls, if engagement is necessary, keep the response professional and avoid emotional language. Exercise extreme caution in this area because even the most professional response can come off as tone-deaf or out of touch if it is not carefully planned.
- Say less. Either in public or private keep your communications short and concise and in a format that can weather the storm of public opinion.
- Provide Excellent Customer Service:
- Address any legitimate customer complaints promptly and publicly, showing commitment to customer satisfaction.
- Leverage Supportive Community Members:
- Encourage brand advocates to share positive experiences; their authentic voices can be persuasive in shifting the narrative.
- Be careful to engage in and encourage authentic communications only. Trying to drown out negativity with content that feels disingenuous is worse than having a few negative interactions.
- Update and Inform:
- Keep the audience updated on any steps the company is taking to resolve legitimate issues.
- Share positive news and developments to counteract the negative press.
- Learn and Adapt:
- Analyze the incident to improve strategies for risk prevention and crisis management.
- Update policies and training as necessary to better prepare for future incidents.
- Legal Action as a Last Resort:
- If the trolling or negative press involves defamation, slander, or libel, consider consulting with legal counsel to explore options.
The key is to stay calm, be thoughtful, and not to let trolls or negative press derail the marketing strategy. It’s also important to understand when engagement is beneficial versus when it could potentially harm the brand’s image even more.
Talking to a troll with a bit of humor and professional jargon to keep it PG
I’ve encountered a troll, and a response is warranted. I intend to maintain professionalism yet infuse a bit of humor into my reply. Is it possible to incorporate playful slang or idioms like “f*ck around and find out” or “your an idiot, gtfo” without compromising my professional demeanor?
That is a tough one, but if you feel confident that responding is essential, then here are a few fun, tongue-in-cheek ways to say what you need to say without losing your composure. Keep in mind, you really need to understand the assignment on something like this, or you run the risk of coming off cringe.
Professional way to warn someone they are going too far
The phrase “f*ck around and find out” conveys a warning that irresponsible or reckless behavior will lead to negative consequences. To convey this sentiment professionally, you can focus on the potential consequences of actions without using vulgar language. Here are a few professional alternatives:
- Highlighting Consequences of Actions:
- “I would advise caution as actions have corresponding consequences that may not be immediately apparent.”
- Encouraging Prudent Decision-Making:
- “It’s important to consider the potential outcomes of this course of action carefully.”
- Warning Against Reckless Behavior:
- “I encourage you to weigh the risks before proceeding, as the results may be significant and unwelcome.”
- Stressing the Importance of Diligence:
- “Diligence in this matter is crucial to avoid any unintended negative outcomes.”
- Asserting Seriousness:
- “Please be aware that the choices we make in this scenario carry substantial ramifications.”
These alternatives keep the communication professional and focused on the importance of responsible behavior and awareness of consequences without using language that could be considered unprofessional or offensive.
How to end interaction on a sour note with tact
In professional communication, it’s essential to maintain a tone of respect, even when declining an offer, ending negotiations, or expressing the decision not to engage in a business relationship. There is no direct professional equivalent to the phrase or “go f*ck yourself,” as such a sentiment would likely breach professional conduct and could have legal implications. Instead, one might opt for firm but polite language to set boundaries or end a conversation.
Here are a few ways to convey a strong negative response professionally:
- Declining a Request:
- “Thank you for the offer, but after careful consideration, I’ve decided not to proceed. I wish you the best in finding a suitable candidate for your needs.”
- Ending a Business Relationship:
- “We’ve evaluated the direction of our partnership and believe it’s in our best interest to part ways at this stage. We appreciate the opportunities we’ve had to work together.”
- Disagreeing with a Proposal:
- “I have reviewed your proposal, and I must firmly decline. I believe our goals and methods are not compatible, and I do not foresee a productive partnership.”
- Responding to Unprofessional Behavior:
- “I believe this conversation is no longer productive. It’s best that we discontinue our discussion and move forward separately.”
- Setting Boundaries:
- “I must insist that we adhere to professional standards in our interactions. If we cannot do so, I will have to cease communication on this matter.”
Remember that maintaining professionalism helps protect your reputation and any legal business interests. If you find yourself in a situation that is escalating or becoming hostile, it is often wise to step back, refrain from engaging in a negative manner, and seek advice on the best course of action, which may involve legal counsel or human resources professionals.
Going from Grumble to Grateful
So, how do you stand your ground, make your point heard, and still keep it professional? Better yet, how do you skip the fight and get zen in the workplace? Admittedly some professional settings are a veritable jungle where the wild things biting at your heals may include things like … deadlines, meetings that could’ve been emails, and the occasional need to channel your inner warrior without actually going full ‘Hulk smash’ on your desktop. If you’re feeling like a cat being forced into a bath, and you need to make your point without making HR or your legal team sweat, buckle up, because we’re diving into the art of firm-yet-fancy footwork in professional tête-à-têtes.
Channel Your Inner Eagle, Not Your Inner Angry Pigeon
You know what they say, “soar like an eagle, don’t squawk like a pigeon.” That means rising above the situation with a keen eye on the outcome. You want to be the person who brings solutions, not just noise. Next time you’re on the verge of letting loose a flock of feral word-pigeons, take a breath and remember: eagles don’t lose sleep over the opinions of pigeons.
Ditch the Pirate Language
Sure, “Arr, matey! Prepare to walk the plank!” has its charm, but let’s leave the salty seafarer lingo where it belongs – at the costume party. If you’re feeling the urge to let slip some colorful metaphors, take a mental step back. Translate that inner pirate into something more “I went to charm school.” Instead of “You’re walking a thin plank!”, try “I believe this approach might be leading us into choppy waters.”
Become a Compliment Sandwich Chef
Nobody likes to dine on a plate of criticism, no matter how justified. Serve up a compliment sandwich instead. Start with something positive (the fluffy bread), layer on your feedback (the hearty filling), and then top it off with another slice of feel-good (the artisanal bun). “Love your enthusiasm, Bob, but if we don’t follow protocol, we’re gonna get grilled. Let’s steer this ship back to calm waters, shall we? You’re great at navigating tough situations!”
Deploy the Diplomat, Not the Doomsday Device
Diplomacy isn’t just for folks at the UN; it’s for you, the office peacemaker. When you’ve got the red mist descending, remember that a few well-chosen words can diffuse a situation better than any metaphorical big red button. Think, “Perhaps we could look at this from a different angle?” rather than “My way or the highway, buddy!”
Use Your Indoor Voice… Even Outdoors
Yelling is so last season – and let’s be honest, it’s never really been in vogue. An indoor voice conveys calm control, and people will lean in to listen. Yell, and they’ll just lean out – possibly to the nearest exit. Keep it down a notch, and you’ll be heard loud and clear.
Master the Art of the Graceful Exit
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things heat up. If you’re two seconds away from a “serenity now!” moment, it’s time to make like a tree and leave. A simple “Let’s revisit this after a short break,” can save you from a not-so-short list of regrets.
So there you have it, folks. Staying professional when you’re peeved is an art form, but with a little practice, you can become the Picasso of keeping your cool. Remember, it’s not about bottling up that righteous anger; it’s about letting it out in little, socially acceptable puffs – like a tea kettle of civility. Keep it classy, keep it clever, and keep the pirate in the party and out of the boardroom.
What is digital marketing and digital media so stressful for some people?
Digital marketing and digital media can indeed be high-pressure fields, and there are several reasons why professionals in these areas might feel the heat:
- 24/7 Cycle: Digital media never sleeps. Social feeds, websites, and online campaigns run round-the-clock. For those managing these platforms, this can mean constant vigilance and the need to be always on, ready to respond to any situation at any time.
- High Expectations: With the wealth of data at their fingertips, digital marketers are often expected to deliver measurable and rapid results. This can create a relentless pursuit of optimization and performance, which can be quite stressful.
- Rapid Pace of Change: The digital landscape is ever-changing with new platforms, algorithms, and technologies emerging constantly. Keeping up requires continuous learning and adaptability, which can be exhilarating for some and overwhelming for others.
- Visibility and Accountability: In digital marketing, everything is trackable. While this means the ability to prove ROI, it also means there’s nowhere to hide. Every click, like, and conversion (or lack thereof) is recorded, and marketers are accountable for these metrics.
- Competition: The online space is incredibly competitive. Standing out in a crowded digital world is challenging and requires constant innovation and strategic thinking.
- Information Overload: Marketers and digital media professionals are often inundated with data. Analyzing and making sense of this information to make strategic decisions can be taxing.
- Creativity Under Pressure: There’s a demand for continuous creativity in content creation, but being creative on a schedule and under pressure can lead to burnout.
- Crisis Management: A single misstep on social media can lead to a PR crisis. The responsibility to manage and mitigate such crises promptly can be a significant source of stress.
- Technical Challenges: Whether it’s a website that goes down or an ad platform that malfunctions, technical issues can disrupt campaigns and require immediate attention to avoid loss of revenue or reach.
- Personal Investment: Many in the field are passionate about their work and may take performance metrics personally, which can lead to stress when things don’t go as planned.
To manage stress in digital marketing and digital media roles, professionals often need to develop robust stress management strategies, set boundaries to maintain work-life balance, and continuously evolve their skills to stay confident and capable in their roles.
How we Stay Cool Under Digital Pressure: The Art of Being an Unflappable Marketing Team for our clients
In the high-stakes arena of digital marketing, where competition is relentless and the landscape is perpetually shifting, our team stands as a beacon of calm and clarity. We take pride in our ability to demystify the complexities of the digital world, making it accessible and comprehensible for our clients. Our approach is not just about keeping pace with the trends; it’s about instilling confidence and empowering our clients with knowledge and tools to craft strategies they can stand behind with conviction. With our guidance, the path to digital dominance becomes less daunting and more achievable, turning perceived obstacles into stepping stones toward success.
Digital marketing teams are often expected to be unflappable due to the dynamic and sometimes unpredictable nature of the digital landscape. Here are a few ways we master maintaining composure so crucial in this field:
- Crisis Management: When a public relations crisis hits, it often plays out in real-time on digital platforms. A calm and measured response is essential to navigate these crises effectively and to prevent further escalation.
- Real-Time Responsiveness: Digital marketing often requires immediate responses to consumer feedback, social media comments, or online reviews. A level-headed approach is necessary to manage these interactions professionally.
- Data-Driven Decisions: The vast amounts of data available can be overwhelming. Unflappable teams can analyze this data objectively and make rational decisions without succumbing to stress-induced reactions.
- Rapid Pace of Change: With constant updates to algorithms, platforms, and best practices, digital marketers must adapt quickly. Staying composed helps them to pivot strategies without panic.
- Performance Pressure: The direct attribution of ROI to digital marketing efforts means there’s significant pressure to perform. A cool head helps teams focus on optimization and performance without being paralyzed by pressure.
- Innovative Solutions: Creativity and innovation are at the heart of digital marketing. A calm environment fosters clear thinking, which is necessary for brainstorming and implementing new ideas.
- Leadership and Confidence: Unflappable teams inspire confidence in their abilities from leadership and clients. They signal control and competence, which are reassuring in high-stakes environments.
- Team Morale: A calm team can better handle stress, which is beneficial for the morale and overall mental health of its members. A positive work environment can lead to better performance and employee retention.
- Technical Troubleshooting: When technology fails, a clear mind is needed to troubleshoot. Panicking can exacerbate issues, while a calm approach leads to quicker resolutions.
- Long-Term Strategic Thinking: It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day fluctuations of digital campaigns. An unflappable team remains focused on long-term goals and strategies.
To sum up, being unflappable allows digital marketing teams to handle the complexities and pressures of the industry with grace, maintain strategic direction, foster a healthy work environment, and ultimately deliver stronger results.