Putting yourself out there online can be a scary thing. Creating a website, writing a blog and being active on social media opens you and your business up to the world, some may even say it makes you vulnerable. Unfortunately, in the day and age of everyone sharing their lives (both personal and professional) on the Internet you will sometimes get negative comments online.
Please don’t take it personally
If you receive negative comments on social media or your blog posts it’s important to remember that it’s not about you. If there’s one time in your life when you need to tell yourself that it’s not personal, it’s just business now is the time. When people don’t have to face you in person they gain an enormous sense of courage and sometimes say things on the Internet that they would never say in person. You truly need to take all negative comments online with a grain of salt.
With all that being said (well said, some might say) you can’t ignore the fact that those comments are there…online…for the whole world to see. I don’t know a single blogger or online entrepreneur who hasn’t been on the tail end of someone’s rant, but you know what? We all deal with it, possibly learn from it and move on.
How you choose to respond to negative comments online depends on a variety of factors such as:
- what type of post the comment refers to
- if the negative comment is from a credible source
- does the comment have validity
If you post a picture of the new art hanging in your reception area and someone leaves a negative comment you probably shouldn’t take it too seriously. The comment is about the art, it’s not about you or your business.
Before you decide how to respond to negative comments online always have a look at the profile of the person who left the comment. If they don’t have a real name, a profile picture or a long history on the social media network then don’t worry about the comment. These people are what the industry refers to as internet trolls and they don’t matter. Actually they’re not worth your time.
You can’t stop the trolls
Trolls are the little ogres who live under bridges in the far corners of the online space and they don’t matter, they’re otherwise known as internet trolls and you shouldn’t pay too much attention to them. Trolls spend all day surfing the internet, looking for places to leave negative comments and trying to start an unintelligent and unnecessary discussion on blogs as well as social media networks. Don’t take the bait.
Just remember that comments can always be deleted, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone. Readers could have seen them before they were deleted and therefore it’s very important to decide how you want to respond to negative comments online before actually posting a response.
Here are three ways how to respond to negative comments online:
- You can ignore them – may fuel the fire
- You can delete them
- Or you can respond
How you choose to respond depends on your feelings, your business and of course your mood at that particular moment. Instinct may be to lash out, but ask yourself if that’s really what’s best for your business. The answer is probably no.
If you choose to respond there are three ways to do so:
- You can shut down the conversation and leave no room for a follow up response
- You can prompt them to take further action and become a customer – this is my favourite
- You can be a little bit snarky and put them in their place – this is not recommended, but it’s probably the last time they’ll troll your blog or social media channels
Here’s an example:
If you post a picture of a painting that you created and someone leaves a negative comment they are in fact attacking your skills, which isn’t cool. If you’re an artist and that’s how you make a living you may be extremely offended, however before you respond always keep in mind that you’re representing your business. Entrepreneur.com says to always keep a cool head when responding to comments on social media and your blog.
If you want to shut it down:
“Thanks for your comment, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
If you want to prompt further action:
“Thank you for your comment, it’s unfortunate you don’t like this painting but I understand because everyone has different tastes when it comes to creativity. Please have a look at my portfolio, maybe there is another piece that’s more to your liking.”
If you want to put them in their place:
“I’m so sorry you don’t like this painting, not everyone can appreciate good art. I am working on new pieces so please do come back in the upcoming weeks.”
You can’t let negative comments affect you personally, slow down your online activity or stop you from sharing on a daily basis. Always remember that being online is essential for your business and unfortunately we have to take the good with the bad.