As a Marketing Manager, you give your best every day to let your business grow, offer content with added value, and be positive overall. Unfortunately, not all people on Social Media manage it that way, so there are always negative comments, criticism, and sometimes real hatred and shitstorm. How do you Manage correctly in these cases?
Do not worry! Here you can get to know how to classify comments on the Internet correctly and, if necessary, answer them because criticism and constructive feedback are not bad at all—requirements for other strategies for trolls and haters at the same time. We’ll give you tips on how to proceed. Then we will check into more detail on rating portals, which are very important for companies but can also be very complicated. You will also gain insights into current media law and the opinion of PR experts. The above one will prepare you to deal constructively with negativity on the Internet in the future.
First things first: classify and manage to answer social media comments correctly.
If you see a negative comment on your blog or social media, your heart will undoubtedly slip first. It is entirely normal. Before you fear, anyhow, you should teach yourself to manage social media shits. It is essential to classify the comment correctly. Some contributions are critical, but at the same time, also constructive or at least enjoyable.
Entirely negative or hateful comments quickly trigger a shit storm on social media, i.e., many words. This is a severe issue. As a victim, you should focus on protecting yourself because a shitstorm is similar to psychological trauma and can even end post-traumatic stress disorders.
This means that you should seek help first. Let your team, but also your group of friends or family, support you. It often helps to distance yourself from social media to manage for at least a few days and let the shit storm pass by.
It is also vital that you don’t answer in the heat of emotions, even with isolated comments. And it is always best to take a deep breath and gain space and time before you react. In social media management, you also always have the option of not responding or deleting the comment.
Overview: Bad blows- Manage Social Media
Here is an overview of the basic strategy for negative comments :
- Classify comment: Is it a constructive, purely negative, or even hateful comment?
- Gaining distance: Take the time to work with your team to consider the best reaction to the comment.
- Formulate a reaction: How to manage the social media comments over here? You can reply to the comment, delete it, or ignore it. If you choose to answer, the time lag is ideal.
But what do you do if it is a real shit storm? To do this, we will first explain to you how to typically organize haters. Then you will receive tips on how to proceed correctly with spiteful comments on the Internet.
How are the haters organized?
Shitstorms often affect politicians, companies with strong political opinions, and companies involved in a contentious issue. There is usually a surprising amount of organization behind the shitstorm. These can be bored people who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. But “information warriors,” who often have a right-wing extremist political background, are also among the haters.
Covert campaigns can destroy or at least cause significant damage to companies or political organizations. That is precisely the goal. Many haters organize themselves in secret groups on social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp, or Telegram. They will outnumber your company. Even if you delete all the comments, the haters are just faster. They keep an eye on everything via push messages, keep it up to date and share it.
Some trolls make fun of annoying companies and people. It is similar to bullying from school and work and can also have drastic consequences. Trolls are often less organized and more solitary but still very annoying.
How to manage spiteful comments on social media
You should build a so-called “Shitstorm resilience.” Even if you’ve never dealt with nasty comments, this is a valuable exercise. It would be best not to lose your fear of social media because this is one of the most important sources of your customers’ wishes. Instead, you can visit your network community to exchange ideas and show your appreciation to prevent shitstorms from the start.
Also, learn from other companies who are skilled with trolls and haters. For example, the news site welt.de, which deals with conspiracy theorists and know-it-alls, is very good at it. Welt’s social media editors always react to hateful comments humorous, cheeky, and intelligent way. There is now a dedicated fan page on Facebook.
But sometimes, all preparation doesn’t help, and you wake up one morning to hateful comments on your lovingly maintained social media profile or your blog. Then the following tips will help you do the right thing:
Hateful comments usually only become dangerous for your company if you make the wrong decisions. Happening more often than expected, as many people react with fear, reluctance, or ignorance when faced with entirely unexpected negative emotions—results in a crisis that you want to avoid.
It is therefore essential to take a deep breath first and not to be agitated. Analyze the comments and determine whether it is a shit storm or just individual haters. Necessary: Avoid hasty actionism. That doesn’t mean that you have to sit out the crisis passively, but careful action is the order of the day.
Don’t feed the troll.
Even if trolls are often out and about as loners, their anger and the time they invest can trigger a shit storm. The rule here is that you shouldn’t get involved in the debate. Avoid the escalation by stopping feeding the trolls and haters. Instead, try to take the wind out of their sails.
Manage the social media crisis
Preparation comes into play again: To cope with a crisis like a shitstorm quickly and efficiently, a company needs clearly defined shitstorm managers and a crisis plan.
Those in charge can then disagree and argue where this appears sensible and reasonable. It is essential to communicate on an equal footing, which can do with a wink.
You can either reply cleverly or delete individual negative comments. If it is trolling or spam and deletion, you also can block the person concerned and report them to the network operator. It will protect other companies from getting into a similar situation with this person.
Document and secure evidence
Do you have the feeling that the shitstorm and the hateful comments are a personal campaign against you as a person? Many social media are in the legal grey area here, but you should still consider taking legal action against the operator or the corresponding trolls.
To do this, you must document the hate speech in detail, for example, by taking screenshots and saving them. In this way, you secure evidence that will be helpful in any criminal proceedings. Remember to double and triple secure your evidence. Applies above all to unfounded insults and intentionally damaging claims.
If the shit storm gets out of hand, you, of course, also have the opportunity to get support. There is, among other things, the digital campaign “YouGeHa,” which fights explicitly against intolerance on the Internet. The Council of Europe has initiated the no-hate speech movement, providing you with essential resources.
In addition, there are separate groups for each social network that campaigns against haters and for a better culture of discussion. On Facebook, for example, this is the “IchBinHier” group. The “initiative for moral courage online” can also help. On YouTube, there is the “not-irrelevant” initiative against hate speech.
See the shitstorm as an opportunity.
As tricky as the shit storm is, it offers many opportunities. Because, among other things, you get a lot more attention here than through traditional marketing. Many potential customers will look closely at how you manage the crisis and how you communicate.
If you manage to resolve the shitstorm skillfully, respond cleverly, and openly communicate any problems that may arise, you are back in control. Your customers know that the shitstorm probably didn’t appear without reason. Therefore, it is up to you to communicate publicly about your company’s changes in the future. At the same time, you can also mention that a shit storm is not an appropriate reaction to what is happening. Stay transparent and credible, and your customers will stay loyal to you.
How to manage the hatred of review portals on Social Media
Review portals are even more sensitive than social media because bad feedback directly impacts your company. Surveys show that negative reviews degrade the average rating and ranking and have a long-term impact on the company. They reflect terrible thoughts in a loss of sales in the short, medium, and long term.
Experts advise responding directly to criticism with a counter- comment. Most of the time, you can’t get the lousy rating to be deleted or changed. But at least you can explain to future customers that this is not the standard they can expect from your company.
Recommended to follow the following procedure for malicious or harmful comments on rating portals:
- Prepare yourself in good time by appointing those responsible in the company who will watch and manage the portals.
- Respond quickly to criticism. It does not mean the exact moment but recommends a reaction on the same day again.
- Take any review seriously and treat it with respect. In obviously fake reviews, you can get support from the portal to enforce a deletion.
- Don’t provoke yourself. Only deal with factual and never emotional allegations. Make sure only to communicate facts.
- Communicate at eye level and offer an explanation or a solution to the problem.
- Apologize sincerely. Most customers are already satisfied with this. In addition, you can offer a discount or a new product as a replacement.
- Find direct contact—particular recommendations for complicated topics that you would like to clarify in detail. Nevertheless, a publicly visible comment from you should also appear, for example, with an offer to contact you.
- Thanks for your positive comments and feedback. It is essential to maintain the review page just as thoroughly as your social media because here, too, customers can see the values that set your company apart.
- Offer attractive added value. Perhaps it is a problem for which there is already a documentary or an expert voice? You can link to it in your answer and thus reinforce your feedback through an external agent.
- Make the necessary changes. Negative comments offer an opportunity for improvement. You can communicate these changes publicly in a supplement to the rating.
- Follow the development of ratings and comments. Stay active on the platform and answer new comments or ratings.
Also, could you pay attention to which portal it is? Nowadays, Google+, Yelp, Trustpilot, and Facebook are particularly important for businesses. Smaller review portals play a lesser role. Banking on the kind of company you have, you should consider how your target audience is looking for you and which reviews are relevant.
Tip: Networks and portals such as XING or LinkedIn are also relevant for online reputation. Therefore, maintain various outlets by asking satisfied customers for positive reviews. This way, you can better cushion isolated bad reviews.
Remember what is important to you as a customer: You want to be taken seriously by companies. You want to be able to trust them and know that they stand by their values. It is what you should show when interacting on social media and review portals, including in response to comments of all kinds.
That’s what the law of social media manage says.
The base for Media law is freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of broadcasting and the press, freedom of art, and telecommunications secrecy. There are also other laws, of which the Network Enforcement Act from October 2017 is particularly relevant.
The law intends to improve law enforcement in social networks and, in particular, to combat hate crime, false criminal news, and other criminal content on social media more effectively. It means that you have the law on your side in the following cases:
- Public incitement to crime
- Depiction of violence
So if there are malicious comments against you or your company that contain such content, you can request their deletion from the relevant social network. It also includes further steps such as the banishment of the trolls and haters and criminal consequences. The providers of social networks have a statutory reporting obligation so that legal developments are easier to achieve.
In addition, international organizations such as UNESCO provide essential advice on dealing ethically with the media. It includes education and awareness-raising about social media, conscious and respectful reporting, the regulation of social media, support for victims of hate speech, and the consequences of so-called hate crimes.
That is what PR experts advise.
Public relations experts can help you deal correctly with negativity and hatred on the Internet. They look after companies and can also refer you to specialist lawyers. It makes it easier to protect your data and to operate what is known as reputation management.
In principle, experts also offer these tips for dealing with criticism from the Internet:
- Use criticism as a drive, and don’t let it put you off.
- Take criticism as a compliment because there is often the envy of your success behind it.
- Improve your online visibility by reacting intelligently or by joking about it. You can find more tips for trolling back here.
- Stick to your corporate values, for example, by always remaining friendly and empathetic.
- The comments that you might even be grateful for seeing if there is an important message.
- Use the comments as an opportunity to question yourself and your company critically. At the same time, keep in mind that the absence of criticism often means that you are not brave or controversial enough.
- Learn from the experience and make changes to the company where necessary.
Conclusion: the shit storm as an opportunity
As shockingly negative and hateful comments and shitstorms are for many entrepreneurs, they also offer an important opportunity. You can learn a lot from your company, avoid future mistakes. Thanks to skillful online marketing, demonstrate to your target group how to deal with the dark side of social media.
We recommend that you create a skillful and eloquent communication strategy on the Internet today, including those responsible for shitstorms. Keep an eye on positive and negative online reviews, think about how you can manage to respond to social media comments in a funny and with added value, and in the worst case, seek legal support.
Social media management takes experience. But as long as you are responsible for possible mistakes. And live your company values. You are on the right track. Also, always pay attention to your mental health and the well-being of your team. In this way, you will counter hate speech on the Internet confidently and manage your social media.
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