Troll Spray

Troll SprayYou’ve heard of trolls, right?

A quick definition: “Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down”, says marketing guru Seth Godin.

The more you play in the social media sandbox, the more you attract the trolls. We’re not talking about those who disagree with you and engage in some lively, civil discussion. We’re talking mean-spirited, arrogant souls who really need to crawl back under their rock.

Nothing like a little troll spray to keep ‘em away.

Troll spray #1: Ignore. Depriving them of oxygen is often the best antidote. Keep your cool and let their comments slide off your back. If you don’t engage, trolls lose energy and go pick on someone else. Best used when the person or venue is of little consequence to your brand.

Troll spray #2: Reframe. You can often re-position the issue (consultants and attorneys are great at this) without directly taking them on. Reframing shows that you can look at a single issue from a myriad of vantage points while remaining true to your brand. Best used when your troll is highly visible or influential to your key target audience.

Troll spray #3: Confront. Challenging a troll is not to be undertaken lightly: reserve confrontation for those who have crossed the line to bullying. Standing up for your beliefs (while demonstrating respect and civility) is a powerful act. Don’t be surprised if you permanently draw the spectators into your orbit. Best used when bullying tactics threaten to alienate those whose opinions you most want to hear.

Keep your troll spray handy.


  • Great blog Shoe Maven,
    Send a can to me in South Florida. I have recently come across a few trolls. They sit on the sideline waiting for responses to discussions. Then try to lash out when there is no reason. It is close to bullying in one way; and in another, it seems they want to show how smart they think they are. One group leader in Linkedin has been good at putting them in their place or inviting them to leave.

  • I can think of occasions when I’ve used all three of these responses. Sadly my #3 response was more gut reaction than well-thought-out strategy, but great reminder that when done correctly all three can be good strategies!

  • dogear6

    I linked your post to another blog that I follow who is having a fairly large issue with this. She’s a published author and woman of accomplishments; I think the problem is that she is honest. Her followers love that (and love that in you too), but for some people, I think it’s hard to accept.

    Thanks for calling this one out into the cold, harsh light of reality.

    – Nancy

  • I love that link Nancy! Lots of good, relevant comments there about trolls and their effect. One does have to expect some slings and arrows when we publish–unfortunately, it seems to go with the territory….

  • Great blog…now, how do we attract wonderful faeries who will sing our praises.

    I have been having my own issues with trolls and I thought of a quote just today: If you don’t stand for anything, you stand for nothing. By putting ourselves out there we stand for something-and I think that is what really gets ’em mad.

    Personally, I am thinking that maybe that little fact might just make it that much more fun for me!

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