You have been sharing your blog content on social media. Everyone loves it and you get positive feedback. It is a lot of fun!
Until one day it happens. Someone leaves a negative message on a thread, in an email or on your wall. What do you do?
Has this happened to you? You take hours typing the perfect post on your site. You feel it has fantastic content and you hope it will help someone who reads it.
The post goes live on your site, and you are beaming with pride. You feel you’ve done it this time. You’ve created the perfect article that drives home the message you are trying to share.
Now that it is on your site, you take the time to share it on all of your social media channels. It is now on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (and even maybe more than that).
You sit back, and you wait for the comments to roll in and then, it happens. The trolls come out to play. They are mean and crude and just flat out horrible.
At this moment, you feel instantly deflated. You might review your post to see what you said that was so wrong? What could be so awful with what you said that people would feel the need to respond?
The truth is this: Nothing you said was wrong.
So why then, are people being so mean to you? Honestly, I don’t know. Many people feel that it is OK to be rude, just because they are behind a computer.
There is a sense of entitlement and a need not to feel offended. If someone says one thing that differs from what they believe, then the other person is wrong, stupid and idiotic (look at any thread about this year’s presidential election if you aren’t sure what I am referring to).
I will admit that when I get some of these comments, it breaks my heart. People forget that there is a real live person, who has feelings, on the other side of that post. They don’t care.
HOW TO HANDLE NEGATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS
Dealing with negative comments is something that every blogger will have to deal with at one point or another. The more substantial your social media presence, the more frequent this becomes.
How do you handle this when you want to cry, scream and yell? There are a few things you should always do:
1. Walk away
As soon as you see the comment, your instinct is going to be to defend yourself. That is human nature. That is not a good idea on social media. You are likely to say something you will regret and may alienate not only that reader further, but also lose others in the process.
Instead, take 10 minutes – or longer – and get away from it. Allow yourself time to cool off and get over that punch in the gut you are feeling. Never, ever respond to anyone the moment you read a comment. You’ll end up regretting what you’ve said later on.
2. Listen and respond
If you wish to respond, make sure you do so without emotion. Don’t get defensive. Instead, you can say something like: “I love a good debate! Thanks for sharing your side of this issue.” You can even say something like “Oh no! I think you misread what I said. I was referring to _______.”
Remember that people often say these things because they are upset. They sometimes feel that people do not listen to them. Try to be a friend and respond in that way and you might not only help diffuse the situation but create a long term relationship.
Whatever your comment, make sure that you stick to the point and you do not act defensive and of course, never be rude to anyone. You are a business owner, and you need to maintain your professionalism at all times.
3. Do nothing
This is probably the best thing to do. I find that if people are attacking me personally, others will often come to my defense and put that person in his or her place. People do not like to see others get hurt and if they love you and your site, they will defend you.
4. Hide it
This is one feature I LOVE about Facebook!! If someone leaves an offensive comment on your post, and you do not want others to see it (because it is that awful), you can HIDE it! Just click on the “X” that comes up by their comment and then hit HIDE. Now, they will see the comment on your post, but no one else will.
I do not often hide comments, but there are times when I just need to. The comment has been so rude and offensive, that no one should see it. Rather than delete it, I just hide it.
5. Delete if it violates your terms and conditions
I recommend every page and group owner on Facebook have a terms and conditions post. This advises those on your page what is allowed and what is not. It may include things such as no self-promotion, no foul language, not being abusive, etc.
If someone has violated the terms, you can delete their comment due to failure to comply. Then, if they complain to you personally, share the terms with them to let them know that it violated your standards for the page. Ask them to please keep that in mind as they make other comments.
6. Give them the non-apology apology
This is important if someone is very upset with what you’ve said. You can say, “I am so sorry that this post hurt you. That was not the intent at all.” This is acknowledging that they were upset, but you are not apologizing for what you’ve said.
7. Remove people
Sadly, if someone continues to post negative or abusive comments, you may just need to ban them entirely from your page. This is absolutely a last alternative. Try the above ideas. If this person does nothing but yell or be rude to everything you say, it may be time just no longer to allow it to continue. You run a business, but you do not deserve disrespect.
8. If you are wrong, apologize
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. If you were wrong, fess up and own it. Apologize to the person and move on. Just because you were wrong does not mean you aren’t a good person or know your topic. You made a mistake. Big deal.
9. Put yourself in their shoes
Sometimes, we forget how statements are read. After all, there is no facial expression or voice conjecture in written text. Putting yourself into the shoes of the person reading may make you better understand how they too read it. And, you may need to apologize or better clarify your statement.
Listen, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. However, at no time to you need to take verbal abuse. Decide when to confront the troll and when you need to walk away and do nothing.
Social media is part of life these days. You have to find a way to deal with both the good and the bad.