3 ways your company can deal with internet trolls in 2017 and beyond
Earlier this month, fast-food chain Wendy’s earned numerous headlines because its social media team challenged a heckler on the Twitter playground. Upworthy writer Parker Molloy captured the entire exchange before Wendy’s deleted its comments and the critic, @NHRide (aka Thuggy-D), deleted his Twitter account. It went like this:
In the world of public relations, customers are always right. That is, until they are wrong. Companies striving to stay on message and on brand are occasionally challenged, and in Wendy’s case, this was one of those times. Wendy’s built its brand on its key ingredient of “100 percent fresh, never frozen beef.” That main point of competitive differentiation is non-negotiable as the Twitter exchange proved.
However, communications professionals are actively taking contrasting points of view regarding the handling of negative comments. Some believe companies should take social media exchanges with unhappy or unsatisfied customers offline and out of the public realm and deal with them individually and with civility. Others now question whether internet trolls and denizens are achieving an advantage by publicly attacking via social media because they know most businesses won’t fire back. In Wendy’s case, they turned the tables and the troll was immediately shut down. This begs the question then, which is the correct strategy?
Jason Mudd is CEO of Axia Public Relations, a national PR firm. He is an Emmy Award-winning, accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more.