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Flamers and Trolls

You want your engagement with your followers to be sizzling hot and to buzz with excitement.

So what’s the deal with flaming? Doesn’t that heat things up, get the conversation moving?

It might do. But unless you’re a brand that’s all about controversy, then flaming’s probably not for you.

What is Flaming?

Flaming, according to Wikipedia is:

The act of posting deliberately hostile messages on the Internet.

Or:

A hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users

Wikipedia adds that flaming is “used mainly by trolls.”

We’ve all seen debates get heated on the internet. They rarely turn out well.

What should you do if your brand is flamed, or a flame war breaks out on your Facebook page?

Step 1: Remember, Prevention is Better than Firefighting

Sometimes people are perverse, and you’ll get flamed out of the blue for no reason. If this has happened to you, you can move on to the next step.

Most of the time, however, flaming happens for a reason. People will flame your brand because they’re frustrated with you. Something’s gone wrong, and it hasn’t been resolved. Just look at what happened to Amy’s Baking Company.

So, put out the fire before it happens. Make sure your social listening is up to speed and that you’re catching all brand mentions. When people raise problems about your brand on social media, jump in and solve it as quickly as you can.

Note: When people criticize your brand, it’s best to assume they’ve got good intentions. Treat their complaint at face value, rather than assuming they’re trying to flame you.

Step 2: Always Act Calm

Flaming burns. It’s painful. Flamers flame because they want to hurt you and provoke a reaction.

Whatever you do, don’t display your anger. Remain as calm as you can.

Remember this maxim: lose your temper, and you’ve lost the argument.

Step 3: Don’t Feed the Trolls

It’s not always easy to tell if someone’s got a legitimate complaint, or if they’re just trying to flame you.

Obviously, if someone is clearly trolling, you’re best to ignore it and delete it.

But what if things aren’t clear? We recommend responding to a potential flame once. Stay calm and professional in your response. This should cool things down, at least for legitimate and reasonable complainants. Flamers will continue to heat things up. If this happens, then it’s okay to disengage.

Step 4: Know that You’re In Charge

Social media is for the most part a public space. But you do have control over various aspects of it. You can decide whether to delete a flamer’s post on your Facebook page. You can decide to block an internet bully.

If you do this, you haven’t lost the argument. You’ve made a healthy choice for you and your business.

Engaging with trolls can cost a lot emotionally, so it’s best to leave them well alone. Then you’ll have more energy and buzz to focus on what matters.

Over to You

What are your top tips on dealing with flamers and trolls?

topsy search

For your online marketing to perform at its best, there’s a ton of stuff you need to do. Track your social metrics, connect with influencers and curate awesome content to name just three.

Fortunately, this needn’t be as much of a headache as it sounds. Especially when you’ve got Topsy to hand.

Topsy is the Swiss Army Knife of Twitter. You can use it to check your social stats, hook up with influencers, find some of the best content online, and much more.

Here are 4 ways you can use Topsy like a pro.

1. Check Your Blog’s Performance

Want to see how your content is performing on Twitter? Twitter’s own tools only allow you to do this in a limited way. That’s because when you run a Twitter search for your website, it only shows the latest tweets linking to your site. And you have to run a separate search for each page you want to check the performance of.

With Topsy, you can check the Twitter performance of your whole site with a single search.

You do this using the search term site:yoursite.com. For example, we’d search for site:lorirtaylor.com.

When you do, you’ll see a result like this:

TOPSY IMAGE 1

It includes:

  • The total number of tweets for a specified time period (1 hour, 1 day, 7 days, 30 days, or a custom range)
  • A list of your top trending tweets
  • A chart showing your Twitter performance

What’s the best way to use this information?

First, you can track your performance over time. Check your stats each week, and note them down. That way, you’ll see whether your Twitter shares are going up or sliding down.

Second, you can compare how you’re doing with other sites in your niche. Just search for one of your competitors to see how many social shares they’re getting.

Talking of beating your competitors, you can also…

2. Get Ideas for Top Performing Content

Topsy shows you which of your blog posts are the top performing on social media. When you see which of your content performs the best, you can create more content like that.

Now for a sneaky tip. If you’re stuck for ideas of what to write about, you can also run a Topsy search for your competitors’ blogs. Then you’ll see which of their content is top performing. Of course you should never copy, but you can use this as inspiration for your own blog.

Getting ideas for content isn’t the only way you can use Topsy to keep your social schedule full. You can also use it to…

3. Curate Top Notch Content in Your Niche

Need help filling up your Twitter feed? Then run Topsy searches for relevant terms in your niche.

For example, we might run a Topsy search for “social media marketing”, like this:

Topsy Image 2

You’ll see the most popular articles on social media marketing over the past 8 hours. Again, you can choose a period of time for your search to cover (1 day, 7 days, 30 days or a custom range).

How does this help?

  • You can add the content you discover to your Twitter feed – and other social media feeds.

You can also use it to come up with your own content ideas (as in point 2, above):

  • You can riff off the articles you discover when you’re coming up with new ideas, because you know the topics of the articles are popular.
  • You can check out the articles and write a response. By joining a popular conversation, you’re putting yourself in the firing line for traffic.
  • You can quickly find the most popular new stories in your niche. Then you can provide your own angle on each story on your blog.

Finally, you can use Topsy’s analytics tool to compare the relative popularity of different areas in your niche.

For example, we ran a search for “social media marketing”, “content marketing” and “blogging” and found that they all have a similar level of popularity on social media:

Topsy Image 3

4. Discover Your Influential Fans

Getting in touch with the right influencers can have a huge impact on your business.

That’s because influencers have a big following and people listen to what they say.

You’re probably aware of some of the influencers in your niche. But the fact that you’re aware of them could mean they’re not the best influencers to know? Why? Because the more widely known they are, the less likely they are to have time to help you.

Instead, the best influencers to know are those who are already on your side. How do you discover these?

Run a search for a recent article you’ve published to your blog. Use the URL link to the article, rather than the article title. It’s best to choose an article that you know had a lot of social shares.

For example, we ran a search to our article 25 Social Media Tips from the World’s 5 Biggest Power Users (What Do They Know that You Don’t?).

Once you’ve run the search, you’ll see the option to select “All Tweets” or “Influential Only”. Yup, we’re interested in the influential tweets. So go ahead and click “Influential Only”.

You’ll end up with something like this:

Topsy Image 4

These are influencers who have already shared your content. So if you’re looking for people to connect with and ask for help from, you can’t go far wrong starting with these.

Over to You

Have you ever used Topsy to run a pro search? What did you discover? Let us know your Topsy tips and hacks in the comments section, below.

More RetweetsYou want to engage as many people as possible on Twitter.

The more people who see your Tweets, the quick you’ll grow your base of followers.

How can you get your Tweets out there? By having them retweeted.

It’s up to your followers to decide whether or not they’ll retweet you. But that doesn’t mean getting retweeted is out of your hands.

There are simple strategies you can follow to better your chances of being retweeted.

Ready to get stuck in? Then here goes.

1. Keep Your Tweets Short (70-110 characters)

A full tweet is 140 characters, but you shouldn’t use up all this space. The ideal length for tweets is between 70 and 110 characters. Why’s that? Because shorter tweets give space for others to retweet you, and add their own comments to your tweet.

2. Remember Your PVQs

Get the acronym “PVQ” stuck in your head, and you’ll get more engagement. What’s PVQ? Photos, Videos and Quotes.

Twitter researched its own users and looked at the types of tweets that got the most retweets.

Photos got 35% more retweets than average.

Videos had a 28% boost compared to the average.

And quotes were 19% more likely to retweeted compared to the average.

So…. PVQs. Got it?

3. Add a Hashtag

Hashtags aren’t quite as powerful as photos, videos and quotes, but they do give your tweets a better chance of being shared.

The same research by Twitter found that hashtags are 16% more likely to be shared.

4. Find the Best Time of Day to Tweet

Time of Day to TweetThe optimal time for tweeting depends on when your audience is online (there’s even something to be said for tweeting during quiet times, so you stand out more).

Think about your target audience when deciding what time to tweet. Then test, test, test to see the times of day when you get the most engagement.

Also check out our infographic of the best and worst times to post on social media.

5. Ask for Retweets

When Dan Zarella included the phrase “Please ReTweet” in his tweets, he found that 51% of tweets were retweeted.

Without this phrase, just 12% of tweets were retweeted.

Want people to share your tweets? Then ask them to do it. They’ll happily oblige.

Over to You

What strategies do you use to get more retweets on Twitter? Share your tips in the comments section, below.