Digital & Social Media

Trolling for Truth

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What happened:

When someone thinks of an internet troll, they typically view that person as a bully, ignoramus or something else with a fully negative connotation. In the past six months, however, the internet troll has taken on a different role. Instead of finding internet users to tease, these trolls are trolling brands for a specific purpose or to fight for an admiral cause. They do this in a variety of ways, but three tactics have risen to the top as those for brands to be aware of.

What this means for brands:

The first tactic to be mindful of is bot baiting – finding and interacting with an automated Twitter account (usually one meant for customer service). This is a prime piece of evidence to use humans for community management. A second tactic is hashtag hijacking or co-opting a hashtag and working to get it trending with messages that work against its original purpose. The third tactic involves impersonating a brand, and this can look like a few different things. It can look like a user impersonating a customer service handle and providing false responses or it could look like someone creating an entire fake brand in order to appeal to a specific ideology or niche.

In any of these cases, being hands on with your social customers is a key deterrent. Monitoring your brand is becoming more and more pertinent in a social environment thick with passionate users with advanced capabilities.