This is part 9 of an 11 part series.

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. BUT DO FEED THE BEAST.

When a crisis hits the internet, you can bet that trolls are standing by to gobble up your content and preparing to make hundreds of awfully mean memes. The fact is, you will never make trolls happy no matter how many questions you answer. And the internet will always demand more content. Fast content. Real content. Just lots and lots of content. Here’s how you can control the trolls during a crisis.

1. Humor The Trolls
Using comedic relief to respond to comments during a crisis is an absolutely brilliant tactic. However, you have to be careful because humor is not a universal language. One person’s sense of humor can be the complete opposite from another’s. Then you have the fact that they’re reading your comment from behind a screen. It’s a crap shoot. But if done correctly, using humor to engage with the public can create a more real and genuine interaction, rather than a stuffy canned response that was approved by your legal team. Just think about it—in less than 140 characters, you can defuse a troll’s negative comment and create a positive engagement by simply being lighthearted and real.

2. Counter-Fact
Trolls have one job and that is to dig up dirt, stir up trouble and spread rumors. And during a crisis, your team’s job is to nip it in the bud. So far we’ve learned one way to combat the rumors: WITH FACTS. When you’re on trial, how do you prove innocence? With evidence. So, when you’re dealing with fictional stories that are swirling around the internet, it’s no different. Engage the trolls with the cold, hard facts and address the crisis head-on. You’ll stop the trolls and their slanderous tales right in their tracks.

3. Don’t Join Them
Recently, we’ve been noticing a lot of corporations attempting to troll their customers. Cough… Wendy’s. And we love it. But we’re also slightly terrified of it. Corporate trolling is tricky, and as much as you want to serve the sass right back, we have to recommend that you refrain. Don’t stoop to their level. Very rarely does corporate trolling pan out as originally intended. Just as there is a fine line between teasing and bullying your kid brother, the same goes here. When in doubt, just kill ‘em with kindness; because the second you’re seen as bitter or weak, the trolls will just keep throwing you under the bus. And that hurts.

4. Feed The Beast
During a crisis, content is key. While you’re doing a stellar job of being honest and transparent, start creating content that will keep the public informed about your efforts to fix the mistake. When you’ve positively pivoted away from the situation, share an infographic with all of the positive statistics about your company. Or push out a sizzle reel showcasing some of your best work. Don’t forget your employees! Post pictures of your all-stars and put faces to YOUR name. Real people working for a real company. Like we’ve said before, you never know when you’re going to get punched in the face with a crisis, but the punch is inevitable. So be ready!