Shel Holtz is a communication strategist focusing primarily on internal and external communication activities at the corporate level. He is especially well-tuned to the needs of organizations in relation to employee advocacy on social media. Shel recently joined AMP UP Your Social Media’s host Glenn Gaudet to discuss how companies can prepare their employees for the possibility of being trolled while participating in social media advocacy on behalf of the company. This begins with having in place a social media policy that clearly includes how to deal with trolls.
Let employees safely share with enthusiasm. Don’t let employers and employees get blindsided by trolls. Prepare for the possibility.
Shel discusses trolls and their impact on employee advocacy practices:
Make sure employees know they make the decisions about their own participation
A key empowerment tool of employee advocacy programs ensures that employees have the final say in sharing (or not sharing posts), especially those about their company’s stand on controversial issues such as the presidential elections, transgender bathrooms, same sex marriage, and religion freedom. There needs to be no repercussions if an employee doesn’t want to share. Their own safety should be their priority over sharing the company’s opinion.
Clearly define trolling
Employees should know exactly what a troll is and be prepared to respond to them should a troll make an attack. A troll is “somebody who is using social media, whether it’s comments on a blog, tweets, or Facebook posts, or what have you, to attack you based on something that you have said.” Trolls can say some pretty vial things and make threats of physical violence, including sexual assault. Trolls breed fear and even drive victims of trolling into hiding.
Train your employees on how to deal with trolls.
- First and foremost – ignore trolls. Don’t respond. Treat them as if not there. They will usually just go away since their goal is to create problems.
- Know when trolls cross the line is key so that the behavior can be reported. One key way to know is the use of doxing – sharing personal information (address, phone number) along with threats. Report them to police and/or company security.
- Choose the best channel for your message. Twitter is public while other platforms are more private. Provide training on how to use the different platforms and how to block on Facebook, twitter, etc. This includes managing privacy settings.
- Make sure your employees are communicating with people that they know and trust. Posting within friend circles are great for protecting employees from trolls. It is especially good to share with people who have common ground with even if they hold different opinions.
- Be prepared to change email addresses and temporarily (or permanently) close accounts to let things die down, depending on severity.
“Training for trolls, you have to do it.”
Shel would love to hear from you! Google him and visit his company’s website for more ways to connect.
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About Shel Holtz
Shel Holtz is a principal of his own consulting practice. He works most often with corporations to communicate better both internally and externally. Shel is the go-to guy for company communication problems. He also maintains the FIR podcast network. Shel was also one of our speakers at AMPlify 2016.