Takeaway: This flowchart by the United States Air Force serves as a good baseline for social media interaction and for dealing with pesky and potentially harmful Internet trolls.
There are plenty of blogs out there that can and will explain why social media is no longer optional for your business. The genie is out of the bottle, so you may as well put him to work. The problem with embracing social media in the enterprise is summed up in one word: trolls.
For those unfamiliar with the netiquette, Wikipedia defines an Internet troll as follows:
A troll (pron.: /ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may also refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted.”
To “feed the trolls” is to stoop to their level, engaging in their inflammatory arguments and thereby encouraging further trolling of your social media channels. The day you loosen the reins on your employees and allow them to use social media on behalf of your business, you invite the attention of trolls. If you don’t train your staff on how to deal with online provocateurs, you risk turning your company social media accounts into a wasteland of less-than-useless conversational noise that distracts from your business and harms your brand.