As more and more businesses head online (and let’s face it, they’re pretty much nearly all businesses nowadays) people are put in front of negative influences like trolls more and more. People, and by people I mean you as a business owner, have to now put yourself out there as an individual.
You have to be known, you have to build a personal brand, people have to know your face. At least, that’s what the world is telling you. And I do actually agree with that, a personal brand is a powerful thing.
Trolls love to hate a personal brand
When building your personal brand, and I know this from my own experience, when building a personal brand, you need to be resilient. You need to be tough. You need to be tough enough to be able to take random shitty comments from people that actually would never, under any circumstances, be your customers, but they’re in front of you.
They’re on your stuff, they’re on your Facebook posts, your Twitter feed, your Instagram, the comments of your podcast, your YouTube, your Vero, your whatever else is out there. There are so many different social channels, there are so many different marketing channels for you to use, and that’s what they are for you as a business, they’re marketing channels. There are so many for you to use the potential for hate or perceived hate grows tenfold.
You, as a business owner, have to be tough enough to take that and smart enough to realise that it means nothing.
The vast majority of those shitty comments that you see and may even be on the receiving end of on social media, come from people that are bored.
Boredom creates trolls
Now, people might tell you that they’ve got shit going on in their own lives and yes, that’s probably correct but, for the most part, those people are just bored. They’re looking to wind you up, they’re looking to cause a bit of division. They are looking to get a few laughs, a few likes, a few laugh reacts or whatever. Crying face, laughing emojis and all that sort of nonsense.
They have no actual interest in you, your business, the service you offer, or the product you offer. They also have no interest in any of those things, they also couldn’t care less about the audience that you’ve created either. All they care about is getting a dopamine hit from saying something obnoxious, then people laughing at it.
With that being said, it can still be a kick in the soft and squishy bits. When you get that notification to say so and so was commented on your post, and you go and look to find out what question has been asked, or what thoughtful comment has been left, or how many fire emojis or whatever other ridiculous emojis people have left, and you get there and someone’s just spewed some absolutely vile shit on your post.
Trolls can be dealt with but you need to be resilient
It’s really disheartening. It makes you want to retreat back from that online world, it makes you want to stop engaging with people. But how you react to it determines the perceptions of everybody that sees that comment. And there’s a few ways you could do that, there’s a few ways that you could react to it.
You could react emotionally and make an absolute pratt out of yourself. Don’t do that.
You could try and justify whatever it is you’ve said in your post but that person doesn’t actually care. They’re not interested in your explanations, they’re not even interested in your post. So there’s very little point in trying to justify anything to them.
So what are you left with?
You shouldn’t tell them to fuck off because he makes you look irrational and petty.
You cannot justify your position because they don’t actually give a shit, you can’t explain yourself because, going back to my previous point, they don’t actually give a shit. So what can you do? How do you react?
How to deal with the rolls
Well, outside of that you’re left with a couple of things. You can ignore it, which is for most people, the thing to do. Just ignore it like it didn’t happen. Don’t delete it, leave it there because it exposes that person to the idiot that they are. Just ignore it.
For most people, that’s exactly the thing to do.
For some of us who are a little bit more resilient, and a little more thick skinned, we can engage that person in banter and deflect the attention away from their venom and turn it all into a bit of a joke.
Now that is something that, if you’re the sort of person that takes things personally and gets upset by those comments, that’s not something you should do, you should revert back to my previous suggestion of ignoring them.
But if you’re thick skinned, and you like to have a laugh, then engage that person with banter. I’m not talking about being a knob like they’re being. I mean just be a little bit silly. Maybe ask a silly question, or point out something silly that they’ve said. But keep it within the realms of banter. Away from any emotion. You’re not in there to express how irritated you are by that absolute shit of a human being.
Banter can be your armour
You are there to invalidate what they’ve said by showing the world, and that person, but mostly other people, that it bounces off you. Like bullets off of Superman’s chest.
I’m British. You don’t know who you are because you’re reading this so you could be anyone from anywhere in the world, but in Britain banter is important, and it is commonplace, it is something that we nearly all engage in, in some way shape or form.
Other parts of the world are a little bit more sensitive, and that’s totally fine. And some parts of the world are, (and I’m generalising here, so I apologise) a little more serious and therefore, it wouldn’t quite sound right if you turn it into a joke.
So, it is a culturally specific thing. But, for those of you in Great Britain, or that are from Great Britain, or are serving the people of Great Britain, or at least are capable of, and willing to understand banter and its place in the wild, then absolutely do engage in that banter.
Banter as a deflection tool should be brief
However, keep the engagement brief. This person has left a hate filled comment on your feed. They do not deserve your time and energy. There’s no way you can convince them to buy from you. They are just a bit of a troll, or a lot of a troll, and as a result they do not deserve your time and energy. So keep your interaction with them, if you are going down the banter route, as brief as you possibly can. Otherwise, you lose an entire day. And that person in their attempt to distract you with their hate filled comment has achieved exactly what they set out to achieve. They have distracted you by taking your attention away from things that actually matter, so that you can engage some idiot online all day long.
That is not what you want to do. Keep it brief, A singular comment. If you have built a bit of an audience, then other people will join in and the ball gets rolling, and that person that left that initial hate filled comment gets made to look a fool, not just by you, but by people that support you. So you jump in with a comment that clearly shows that it does not affect you and that you can laugh it off, then you bow out. You don’t say anything, just step out. You get on with your shit, you get on with life, you get on with running your business, you get on with the important things, and let the internet do its thing.
The internet has its own culture, use it to your advantage
The internet by its very nature, and the people on it, will deal with that person appropriately. There is nothing more that you need to do.
So if you are experiencing trolls on your feed, then either ignore them or engage them in a tiny little bit of banter. Nothing more, Nothing less. Any other reaction to it, aggressive, angry, upset, explanatory, or justification is a waste of time, a waste of energy and makes you look not to fool.
So either ignore them, which 90% of the world should be doing. Or, if you’re part of that 10%, then by all means, engage them with a bit of banter and have a bit of a laugh, but only briefly.
I speak on trolls because i have more than my fair share of experience
And that right there is my advice on dealing with trolls. I’ve dealt with a few in my time. And I, once upon a time, used to get quite upset by their comments and now, I do not.
If I can’t be bothered, I just ignore them. But, if I’m feeling energetic plus I’ve got a couple of seconds spare then I will leave banter type comments. And then I will step out of that conversation, completely, and the internet does the rest.
There is no need for further intervention from me at that point. Trolls are now commonplace, and they’re not going away anytime soon. It is, in my opinion, partly down to human nature. It’s human nature to troll. When you are bored you seek entertainment.
Don’t be their entertainment
That’s what trolls do, they’re bored and looking for entertainment. Don’t allow yourself to be their entertainment. Turn the tables on them and make them yours. Or just ignore them. And that’s it.
Trolls are something that you’ve just got to accept as part of life now, now that you’re putting yourself out into the world. There’s very little you can do about their existence.
But you can’t deflect the hate filled comments, and so on, with a little bit of banter, or complete ignorance.
And that’s it, it is not difficult. It does not require a PhD in astrophysics, it is the simplest thing in the world. So don’t over complicate it by overthinking it. Either ignore, or fireback, have a little bit of banter and then step out and proceed to ignore. Either is fine. That is all you need to do.
There’s a resilience aspect to dealing with trolls
I recently wrote a post on resilience and I shared with you how to be more resilient. It is well worth you taking a few minutes of your time to give it a read, so check it out here https://mybizacademy.co.uk/resilience-for-entrepreneurs
If you are experiencing trolls in your life and are struggling then send me a message through my company website and we can have a chat, sometimes it helps to have someone that’ll listen. https://mikethebizguy.co.uk/Contact