Social media marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools. Businesses use it to improve sales, customer relations, and branding without spending a lot of money.
Unfortunately, it is not an easy tool to use. If mismanaged, social media marketing can backfire and result in huge damage to your company. Because the tool directly connects the company to the clients, anyone can leave negative comments and false accusations against your business.
The people who leave ridiculous feedback on social media platforms are known as haters or trolls. These users seem to get satisfaction in saying the nastiest things to a person or an organization.
If you disregard them they can eventually tarnish your online reputation. So how to deal with these trolls? Here are some steps to follow:
Monitor Your Social Media Activities
Be an active social media manager. Check every comment, mention and retweet to monitor what people think of your business. There are free social media managers that can assist you to check on your different accounts in Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and more.
Understand Why Haters Exist
According to Marcus Sheridan a well-known inbound marketer,
There are two types of people: those with an abundance mentality and those with a scarcity mentality.
Haters belong to the latter and envies everyone whom they think are more successful than they are. Unfortunately, Sheridan said that social media can make anyone become a hater. To avoid becoming one, you should focus on the positive not negative things.
Haters should not be confused with positive criticisms. People enjoy giving unsolicited opinions and it is right you listen to them. Their feedback improves your business and relationship with followers.
Check whether a feedback falls on the haters comment or critical comment before taking a step.
Prepare A Proper Response
Businesses should reply to comments regularly to engage followers, but this can go wrong if your social media manager is careless. Jim Joseph of Cohn & Wolfe reminds businesses to reply as a “brand.” This means you need consistent voice that tells what you are as an organization. Remember, your pages carry your business names so anything you post is taken as official.
To avoid issues, you have to have a template response to usual comments. Some of them are questions about your service, details about your company, ways to contact you and complaints about your product or service. A template response builds consistent branding on your social media accounts. It also avoids attack from haters.
Take Negative Comments To Email
Don’t go public when replying to complaints and criticisms. Send a template feedback asking the client to contact you via email or phone. This keeps the situation in control while making it convenient to assist your clients.
Stay Optimistic – Or Stay Silent
Reply to attacks with utmost respect and optimism. Positivity, after all, is a proven way to build a network. A study by a team from Georgia Tech found that negative words are less likely to increase followers. So you should stay optimistic even when replying to your haters.
C.J. Hutto, a member of the research team warned,
It’s like your mother told you: If you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything.
Likewise, Guy Kawasaki the former chief evangelist at Apple said,
There is no upside to posting harsh or negative comments.
He advises companies to reply positively to bad comments, once or twice, but never trice. A prolonged argument with a hater is unproductive and damaging to your reputation.
Don’t Feed The Trolls
Remember, trolls find entertainment from people who fights back. So if you ignore them, they will soon stop bashing you and the issue will die down.
Don’t worry about the harsh words they leave in the comment box because consumers are wise enough to dispute anything they read online.
Block Or Report Trolls If You Need To
A proactive way to deal with trolls is to block or report them. Take control of your platforms and remove people who do not abide by your rules. To help you decide when to block people, create a policy that guides your followers. Take a look at Coca-Cola’s house rules page to get an idea.
Focus On Your Business Not On Your Haters
Colin Powell said that “trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” It is unproductive if you think about the negative things people say against your business. Actually, it is better you get disapproval because it means you are doing a great work. As Tim Ferriss author of The Four Hour Work Week said, the more important you are, the more negativity you’ll face.
Exact revenge to your haters by working better. No matter how much you avoid bad online reputation, if the haters are so focused on targeting your company, you can’t avoid them. Just channel the good from the bad situation and thrive to perform well.
“Haters gonna hate,” they say, so just let them be.
What is more important is you keep the integrity of your business and help clients get the best of what you offer.
[Image: Cave Troll from The Lord Of The Rings-The Fellowship of the Ring by Peter Jackson, 2001]