Turn Hashtag Trolls Into Your Best Buddies

August 20, 2013
Not all hashtag campaigns turn out to become huge successes. There are times when companies invest a lot and expect stronger relationships from a hashtag only to attract more trolls than loyal customers. There are, however, a number of approaches that can help turn things around and make trolling work toward your favor. Trolls can actually be great assets if you know how to use them according to your advantage. Here are some tips to stay ahead and make lemonade out of lemons.

About Hashtag Trolling

Hashtag trolling is described as an online attack on blogs, conversations or posts by social media users, whether they be private users, companies or advertisers. The initial expectation of individuals upon posting pictures, statements or hashtags triggers an opposite response from others online, thereby putting the person or brand?s reputation at risk. For example, McDonald?s came up with the hashtag #McDStories to hopefully invite fans and loyal clients to share their fun and happy experiences in the fast food chain. It turns out that the conversation immediately became a venue for opportunistic individuals who shared their horrific tales about the food and staff of the popular restaurant. troll1 President Obama experienced the same ordeal when the hashtag #ObamaCareInThreeWords was created. The hashtag intended for Americans to share their appreciation for the democrat?s plan on health care. However, people immediately started sharing how useless and expensive the approach was for the majority. troll2 Many businesses would either ignore the responses or remove the hashtag quickly before further damage is caused.

How to Drive Traffic to Yourself

1. Show appreciation for consumers

Potential trolls can be converted into your best friends online as long as you show them some respect and appreciation. Ask them about upcoming products, promos and other offers then allow them to share their own opinions and insights on these. Provide a more personal approach wherein you can establish yourself as a friend and expert to potential clients at the same time. People will be more welcoming when you create hashtags in the future because they know that their ideas were incorporated into the approach.


2. Think of the proper hashtag

Some hashtags became the subject of trolling simply because the company did not spend enough time thinking about the right words to use or the proper arrangement. Some of the words when put together without spaces can lead to odd results such as Susan Boyle?s new album that released the hashtag #SusanAnalbumParty. The terms should be free from being prone to ridicule or controversy. Keep it personal and select the right words, using proper capitalization and spacing as needed to keep it readable and catchy.

3. Let social media users participate

Provide guidelines on how people should respond to the hashtag. You can try hosting contests online and providing prizes and rewards to the most interesting posts, comments or tweets. You can ask people to use the hashtag to automatically be included in the raffle. There are competitions asking people to share pictures of themselves or sharing their personal experience for a chance to get bonuses and freebies. Take time to thank and show possible trolls your appreciation. Many of these users are actually avid social media enthusiasts who can help expand your network and spread your brand to the right customers. Go out of your way to discuss matters and provide solutions to their questions and concerns. They will most likely respond in a positive manner if you give them credit. Use the different social media tools to stay connected like direct messages, tagging and sharing information. Create a unique personality that shows how much you intend to help.

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