We know, we know. . .online haters and cyber bullies stink. But the reality is that they do exist and can become extremely troublesome, not to mention damaging, to your business and your online reputation.
Many businesses, business owners, bloggers, etc. have encountered this somewhere along the line in the form of negative posts, comments, tweets, reviews, etc. If you haven’t, you’re one of the lucky ones. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared for it. Because, as I stated above, the reality is that these people exist – online haters. And they tend to share their observations, experiences and opinions across online channels with an increased amount of force and vengeance.
There is something about human nature that makes it incredibly difficult for mankind to remain positive, yet extremely easy to become negative. Innovative thinkers, unique individuals and those experiencing success have long been on the receiving end of negativity from others.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” ~ Albert Einstein
It’s simply a fact of life. Now for the big question. . .how can you effectively deal with online haters when they appear?
- Confront them?
- Attempt to appease them?
- Engage them in battle?
- Report them?
- Block them?
- Reason with them?
- Censor them?
- Negotiate with them?
- Simply ignore them?
- Or go through a series of the above before ultimately determining what to do?
The Young Entrepreneur Council addressed this very issue in a piece on Business on Main titled, “9 Ways to Approach Anonymous Haters Online” and those they polled weighed in:
“I usually ignore them, or people who are a part of my community of success are happy to stand up for me. My posting strategy is to ignore them completely. The higher you climb the flagpole, the more your butt is going to hang out. So enjoy the climb.” ~ Nick Nanton, A.K.A. “The Celebrity Lawyer
“People love to hate on other people who make uncommon decisions. It comes with the territory that if you’re going to choose to do something with your life that is risky and amazing that some people are going to try to demotivate you. The best way to approach these types of criticisms is to accept it with a positive attitude or avoid responding altogether.” ~ Ryan Paugh, Chief of Staff, The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
We’re interested in what YOU, our community, has to say about the matter and we’d like to gather your tips and advice. If you’ve ever experienced this, share with us how you handled it and what the outcome was – what worked for you? And if you haven’t, tell us, what would you do?
Provide a short tip to other small business owners for how to successfully deal with:
- negative comments on article posts
- negative tweets and/or Facebook comments
- negative posts written about you and/or your business
- negative complaints filed
- negative reviews
How to enter: It’s easy! Simply leave your tip (and your Twitter username) in the comments below by the end of day on May 3, 2012 and our team of moderators will pick the one that resonates best.
The Prize: The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Amazon!
And be sure to check out the 9 ways to approach haters online that the Young Entrepreneur Council discusses.
The owner of this site has an advertising relationship with Business on Main.
17 thoughts on “Tips For Dealing With Online Haters #Contest”
First, point out any spelling or grammatical errors in their negative articles or posts. Stress the fact that they spent a lot of time and effort trying to criticize someone but only made themselves look stupid in the process. Say something like “Hey, my niece called. She called you a copycat for acting like you share her 2nd grade education level.”
Next, completely dismantle any legitimate criticisms that the hater brought up. “Yeah, my website might look like it was built in 1997, but last year it paid for my Porsche, my kids’ private school education and a 3 week vacation to Europe, so it must be doing SOMETHING right.” Then, mention something about the hater still living in his mom’s basement.
Finally, make up a rumor about the hater and spread it amongst your online circle. Make it really vicious so it spreads and people start asking them about it. Make it vicious, but make it believable. Maybe something about getting a DUI while driving some kids for a field trip. That one will work.
Ok, so those are the fantasy responses. Any real business owner would be a fool to stoop to that level just because someone had some negative things to say about their business. In this hyper-connected world, a business owner MUST show restraint and dignity. If someone complains about your service publicly, respond publicly with an apology and an offer to fix the situation. If a hater posts a negative review of your restaurant, take some time to deduce if it’s a legitimate complaint or not. Whether it is or it isn’t, invite the customer back at a time when you will be there publicly. Attend to their needs and make sure everything goes smoothly. There is no better endorsement than someone who posted about a bad experience, received a response from the business owner who fixed the problem, then goes BACK online and boasts about your stellar customer service.
Haters gonna hate. I wouldn’t advise ignoring the negativity, but don’t let it get to you either. Every complaint is an opportunity to show how amazing you and your company are. Embrace it!
When it comes to social media it’s important to have a plan in place to deal with negative responses. It’s a two-way conversation, completely transparent and publicly shared. You can’t convince yourself that only sunny comments get tweeted or added to a post all the time. This is the real world and real people have a spectrum of opinions.
The most important thing you can do is deal with them as they happen, and refer to your plan. This is particularly important if you work for a large/multinational corporation, as your comments affect the brand image and other members of staff.
As each commenter could be a brand ambassador, client, customer, partner or influencer
Consider the repercussions.
Read through the comment and break down the response.
Try to stay as unemotional as possible and think as they would. It’s understandable if they have had a bad experience. Perhaps you posted an update, tweet or blog that was thoughtless, offensive in some way or incorrect.
Understand where the response came from and why.
Show your line manager and discuss the best way to tackle it.
Respond promptly, be honest, apologise if it warrants it and provide an action or next step IE ‘I will look into this further and contact you in 24 hours’ , ‘I have checked the terms and you are indeed correct. Can I call you now to discuss?’
Never be afraid to move discussions offline, BUT do respond at the scene so that they and others can see that you have or are taking action.
Never leave a negative comment unanswered.
Never apologise if they are wrong. Be tactful and honest.
Personal attacks are for children, and you are not. So don’t attack back. Don’t call on your friends to, BUT do ask them to offer support if needed.
No’one can argue with logic – use it, defuse, settle, move on.
Don’t hold onto your emotion. It will ruin you. Scream if you have to to dispel it, rank to a friend, then move on.
Looking through the internet I noticed that the best way is to ignore such people. Other people often do not even pay attention to these negative comments. But if we begin to defend themselves against these negative comments then only encourage the other side to attack. Best to focus on building our values instead of wasting time fighting.
As poster Brad E. already pointed out, do not do anything in first paragraphs of his posts or you WILL look like a complete toolset. Unfortunately, many people relate to their business or service they provide on a deeply emotional level and actually do stupid mistakes like that.
Do not consider bad response as hate-mail.
If it’s stupid or irrational critique, either ignore it or politely point out its’ irrationality.
If, however, they raise valid points, and you can reasonably expect that your community/prospective customers might “click” with those points confront those issues (politely) and either remedy or dismiss them with arguments.
If it’s FUD, i.e. untrue statements or bent truth made to look like competitive service/product is better even if it honestly isn’t, calmly and politely point out untrue bits and emphasize on your advantages.
Try to respond only to most damaging posts or you’ll be wasting a lot of your energy on this which is counterproductive. Analyze competitor advantages pointed out, tho. You actually might be getting some free unsolicited advice, some might be beneficial to your business. Use judgement on this.
If the contribution is pure sniping and I feel is illogical, then I may respond with logic – but, I prefer to ignore, carry on as usual and allow the poster enough rope to hang themselves. I prefer not to censor as I prefer to allow the idiocy to speak for itself!
One easy tip is time. A negative review or comment will instinctively activate defensiveness and resentment in a person. It’s only natural. The company owner or content creator has sunk a lot of time and energy into their product, and having it attacked is difficult not to take personally.
A key to utilizing good tact and sound logic is giving time for the more intense feelings of bitterness to die down. Your brain will lash out with a myriad of aggressiveness counter-arguments before it settles into calmer states of logical discourse.
Give it time. Perhaps a few hours. Perhaps the next day. Then address the issue with your best foot forward.
Address these haters head-on! But you must do it in a positive manner not using the same techniques that haters do. Avoiding addressing this type of thing could hurt your reputation more than help it. And if your fans are loyal enough they could chime right in and show their support of you!
I can only dream of building a tribe of digital haters! Being a somewhat silly old foreign ‘Git’ in the land of my forefathers, I spend most of my senior years observing those that walk among us on this wonderful island they call the United Kingdom.
Of course, until now, I have often wondered which side of the fence I sat on?
There is a fine line between those that whinge (which I have been told that the British have turned into an art form) and those that offer constructive criticism.
Then another learned person once advised me that the creator have given me one mouth but TWO ears and that I may just learn more from listening? He also had the audacity to tell me that no one knew I was stupid until I opened my mouth!
Firstly try not to get angry and swear at the poster! You have to fight any emotional response you may be feeling. Stay calm and digest the comments. If they have any basis of truth about them, its important to acknowledge that.
Holding your hands up to something minor and then dismissing a more substantial (untrue) accusation will show people that you are honest and can take on board feedback both negative and positive.
For any blatant untruths and lies, ask the accuser to qualify them or remove them or you will be taking legal action for deformation of character, loss of future earnings etc. If the comments are left on without a response, everyone should see that the claims have no foundation as they have not been qualified further.
In my view you have two choices. Either play with them or ignore them.
Simply reply below any comment or post with an objective set of the facts, and let the readers decide. Anything else and you may only make matters worse, people make mistakes or have bad days, your readers/clients will understand.
By the way, my twitter username is @luftigwarren. I forgot to include that in my initial post. My blog address is http://www.luftigwarren.com/blog.