Negative comments happen on social media. It truly makes having the power to share our business or our thoughts online so easily a blessing and a curse.
Let me walk you through a situation that might feel familiar to you.
You take hours thinking up the perfect social media post, blog post, or new article for your website. You pour your heart into it and feel like it could really help someone. So, you post it and share it to your social media pages. Then, suddenly you are met with a rude or insensitive comment and you instantly feel defeated. Has this happened to you?
At this point, you probably review your post to see what you said that was so wrong. What could be so bad that this person feels the need to respond this way?
You want the truth? Nothing you said was wrong. Now you're probably thinking, "Then why would this person feel the need to be so mean?" Honestly, I'm not sure. I think sometimes people feel a sense of entitlement when they sit behind a computer screen. I'll be the first person to admit that when I get a comment like this, it breaks my heart. I completely understand where you are coming from! But, as much as you might be tempted to delete the comment entirely or fire back at them, let me ask you to please consider doing one of the following things first.
*This is where I insert my little disclaimer... I want to add that if multiple people are commenting and seem to be misunderstanding what you said, you may want to consider rewording your post a little so your thoughts come across clearly and concisely."
1. Take a breath. As soon as you read the comment, your gut instinct might be to fire back and defend yourself. Instead, take a few minutes or a little longer to cool down and gather your thoughts. You want to maintain your professionalism and be sure you do not say something you might regret.
2. Acknowledge and respond. If you are going to respond, make sure to do so without emotion so you are not defensive. This person probably said what they said because they were upset by what they thought you meant. Try to respond in a way that will diffuse the situation. I might recommend saying something like, "Oh no! I think you may have misread or misunderstood what I said! What I was trying to say..."
No matter what you respond, make sure you are to the point and not acting defensive or rude. After all, you are a business owner and need to maintain your professionalism at all times.
3. You could do nothing. This may be the best course of action if someone is attacking you personally. If this happens, often others will come to your defense to defend you.
4. Hide it. Facebook allows you to hide a comment. If someone says something so awful you do not want others to see it, you can use this feature. Simply click the "X" that comes up when hovering your cursor to the right hand side of their comment and click "Hide." This will still allow the person who commented on your post to see it but no one else will.
I do not recommend hiding comments often, but there are times when this is the best course of action.
5. Delete it. I would say this goes right along with hiding a post. This isn't something you will do often, but if someone is saying something extremely rude, offensive, or containing profanities, this is something you can do.
6. The non-apology apology. If someone is upset with what you said, it is important to acknowledge that you understand they are upset. But, it's also important to stick to your guns. You wrote what you wrote because that is what you think and believe and I trust you wrote it while being educated about the topic and without intent to hurt anyone. If this is the case, you may want to say something like, "I am so sorry that this post hurt you. That was not my intent at all."
7. Remove or block this person. I hope you never experience this, but it is an option. If someone continues to post negative, abusive, or rude comments, you may need to remove them from your page entirely. Please use this as a last alternative and only if the above suggestions have not worked. Remember, you are a business owner trying your best and you do not deserve to be disrespected.
It is my hope that your negative social media encounters are minimal but it is important that you have these tools in your back pocket in case you need them.
What have you found works best for you when it comes to negative social media comments?