How To Use Haters To Build Your Brand


Let’s be real.

As great as the Internet is for business, it also has a dark side.

I’m talking about the whiners, trolls and assorted haters who use social media to mock and belittle you and your brand.

If you run an even remotely successful business, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Right?

And if you don’t, I bet you’re probably going to know soon enough.

It’s an old adage that you can’t please everyone all the time. But, when it comes to business, that’s not even the half of it.

More often than not, haters take great relish in making themselves heard loud and clear, even for petty or imagined slights. And thanks to social media, they can say it to your face whilst hiding behind the relative safety and anonymity of their laptop screen.

Well, if you have a hater problem on your social media page, I say it’s time to diversify and make your first foray into the lemonade business. In fact, with the proper attitude, haters can actually be a boon for your brand.

Let’s have a look at how to deal with them.

Do Not Delete Negative Comments

If you’ve ever received negative or hateful comments on your social media page, your first instinct was probably to delete them. It’s only natural to want to do this, especially if they’re particularly hateful or unfair.

This is wrong, for a number of reasons.

First of all, deleting negative comments comes off as babyish. It gives the impression you’re thin-skinned and unable to deal with criticism. To put it an other way, it’s the online equivalent of chucking a customer out of your shop just because they said something you don’t like; and it makes you look like the one who’s in the wrong.

Not good, right?

You should own and address all negative comments, no matter how rude or aggressive they are. This will show people you care about your customers’ experience.

Of course, this is not to say there aren’t circumstances which may warrant deletion. Personal attacks on other members of your community, racist and other offensive comments should be dealt with accordingly.

But even then, you should at least acknowledge the negative light they have thrown on your brand.

Try To Win Them Over

They say it takes 12 happy customers to make up for one bad experience.

At the same time, customers who complain are almost twice as likely to recommend you if their problem is resolved.

You do the math.

Genuinely trying to address complaints and arrive at a solution is worth the effort, so try and be flexible and understanding.

Besides, don’t forget you’re in a public forum. If you’re really going out of your way to help out, other customers will take notice.

By the same token, they’ll also realise when someone is being unreasonable or downright disrespectful, and it will soon backfire.

Put Some Personality In There

Ok, so it’s time for full disclosure.

I’ve been known to get all riled up and complainy, especially with my mobile phone provider. I guess it’s my Mediterranean temperament at work, ha!

And, you know what? Nothing ticks me off and sets me on edge more than that stuff customer representatives are made to repeat by rote.

“Oh, I’m reeeaaaaalllllyyyyy sorry about that, sir!”

No, you’re bloody not! You’re just saying that because your supervisor made you.

Please, please, please, do yourself and your customers a favour and stop dealing with complaints off a script. Not only does it sound robotic and insincere, it makes people feel like they’re being belittled, which pisses them off even more.

You can still be polite and helpful, but it doesn’t mean you cannot – and shouldn’t – put some personality in there. If you ask me, there’s nothing more disarming than someone who treats you like an actual person, instead of just another problem to solve.

You Can’t Please Them All

Yep, this again.

And you know what?

It’s ok.

At the end of the day, not everyone is worth it.

If a customer keeps being impossible, even though you’ve bent over backwards to accommodate them, just accept it and move on. You can rest assured that your other customers – at least those worth keeping – have taken notice and truly appreciate the effort you’ve made.

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