The bright side of trolling

Ahhhh the internet troll, a social media managers greatest enemy. Characterized as a person who starts arguments, upsets people, and posts inflammatory messages in an online community. There really is not much to love about these people, but what if I told you there is value in the act of trolling that is almost always overlooked. This weeks post will discuss the benefits of allowing trolls to remain.

There are two types of trolls you will encounter: born trolls and situational trolls.

Born trolls consider trolling brands to be one of their favorite pastimes. Your brand or its values are immaterial to a born troll. Trolling anyone and everyone is what they love to do. These trolls need to burned with fire!!!… well not with fire, but it is best not to engage with these types of people as they will soon become bored if not entertained.

Situational trolls are more broader, diverse group and these people may be bothersome where they might complain about how slow their internet is to the provider on social media, however they can escalate further, for example with Coles majoram trolling incident. Situational trolls do require a response. Consider these two troll scenarios and how to turn them in valuable experiences.


Someone who complains is not always a troll, so it is essential that each case is judged individually. There are always consumers dissatisfied with customer service. The band Woodlock complained to Virgin Airlines when their musical property was damaged, which involved creating a Facebook status that gained a lot of attention, with demanding a response from Virgin Australia. They responded quickly and Woodlock shared an article the next day on their social media platfroms praising Virgin Australia for their fast response. This is act turned an unintended troll into an act that benefited the Virgin band, I mean brand (troll intended).


A troll is also not classified as some who disagrees with you. It can be incredibly irritating for a company to deal with disagreements online, especially when there reputation is on the line every time they do or do not reply. But this is simply social media interaction. As much as I feel sorry for the Optus social media manager, they have a job to fulfill. The example to the left demonstrates that through Optus responding to the customers initial disagreement, talking through the problem can resolve it and build up the companies reputation. However, in some circumstances posts should not be responded to if they involve hate, aggression, threats or anything that breaches a companies terms and conditions.

Trolls are not always as negative for a brand as one may think it is. It can enhance the image of the brand and be used an opportunity to create great customer service that improves a brands online social media strategy. It is important to know when to reply and when to block. If a company is dealing with a troll that is acting in a threatening way, authorities should be contacted and the customer should be blocked. In the same way, companies have to follow social media codes on conduct that include being professional, transparent, respectful and smart when responding to customers comments. 

Not all trolls are terrible and some might even be concerned customers, companies should attempt to adopt an individual approach when dealing with ‘troll-like’ posts and decide whether a response is beneficial or not.


2 thoughts on “The bright side of trolling

  1. I think it is very important to remember that there is not one set definition of a troll – although I do like the definition you provided. Some trolls are bullies, and some trolls are simply doing it for a laugh (not in the same way that a bully bullies someone for fun). For example, the trolls who send fake news stories to Australian news channels and then follow it up with Simpsons pictures, are not being bullies. They are simply having a laugh, and it is important for a company to not get offended or agitated (even though I imagine it would be annoying)! Social media managers have to have a sense of humour too, so they might as well laugh at some harmless messages. People seem to love these types of trolls – it’s innocent, it’s entertaining. I do agree that nobody likes the other type of troll – the bully.

    You mentioned ‘born trolls,’ and how they are only doing trolling for the attention. It’s important to remember that even if the brand or company does not interact with their comments, some other customers or fans may comment and provide this attention to the trolls. Maybe companies or brands need to educate their customers and followers on how to handle trolls, so that all messages are consistent.


  2. Do you think its worth a company blocking trolls completely? By closing their walls to comments that can generate lots of PR issues and only having the ability to privately message a company on social media?

    For example, if you look at Woolworths who are forced to deal with hundreds of messages a day that are clearly out just to seek for attention. If these messages were only able to be sent directly to the company it could save a lot of time for the company.


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