Monday, May 26, 2014

Be the troll that social media deserves, but not the one it needs. AWESOME!

internationally recognized troll face


Alright, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way up front. 

There is no sure-fire way to build content that will “go viral” (I hate the term so much it is going to be in quotes henceforth on this blog.) However there are “best practices” (ugh) that definitely helps our content get more attention.

What’s one of the best ways to get attention for social posts?

Everyone say it with me now … TRY BEING A TROLL!

Not so fast, you might say. How is being a troll going to help anything? 

Trolls are jerks, they make fun of people, they play off of stereotypes, they’re mean, they have bad breath. Trolls do not belong on our pages. So how can we be trolls?

Simple. The basic meaning of being a troll is not necessarily to be mean to others online. It actually refers to a person who creates opposition between different groups.

We WANT people to be passionate on our social pages. We WANT them to talk and get into issues. And We often WANT them to think about things in way that will translate into action offline. But it either happens under your control or under someone else’s.

Instead of an outsider controlling the action, you be the one who leads the discussion.

In fact, if you’re not willing to at least somehow tacitly address the differences in the community that you are dealing with, you are probably going to see different players step in and try to own the space.  There are no vacuums in social media, only people constantly stepping in to steer the discussion.

Here’s a quick exercise. On your social media pages do you see any natural groups? Which ones are friends? How about enemies? Is there any way to lead them into a discussion? Don’t be scared to troll them!

Before you can begin skillfully trolling your communities into a frothy mess, ask yourself some questions:

     1.      Why are these users following your social presence?

     2.      What kind of content do they want?

     3.      Are there any natural groups that form from this group?

Take the discussion to products and you can do face-offs that people are also passionate about, such as tea vs coffee, foreign cars vs domestic cars, supremacy of competing sports teams, and so on. Ask pointed questions that leave the door open for disagreement. For example, for a car company you might say, “Some people in our community say the Ford Fusion looks best in black. What do you think?”

Basically, always look for ways to push your fans into competition mode. Do NOT shy away from controversy or friction within reasonable limits.


You are far more likely to get your pages to be respected if you facilitate open discussion between groups then if you leave discussions closed. 

Certainly on a corporate page you have to be careful not to bring up issues that can lead into legal situations that you have no way of addressing, but the principle of being a troll can still apply. Legal teams and corporate clients should be trying to understand how social media is different from TV and radio, and how differences needed to be exposed and embraced, not hidden away.

So get out there and rouse your rabble. Being a troll might be the best thing you can do for your social media community. Just make sure to keep an eye on interactions to ensure that they stay civil and in line with your social media goals.

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