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How to deal with trolls and unjustified negative comments

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We’ve received a lot of questions about how to deal with negative comments and trolls. Some of them are:

“I’ve noticed we are getting a fair few negative comments on this ad – any tips on what to do with those?”

 

“How do I deal with negative comments?”

 

“How do I deal with trolls?”

Firstly, what is a troll?

Troll (noun): (in folklore) an ugly creature depicted as either a giant or a dwarf.

Social media troll (noun): They’re people who deliberately provoke others online. By saying inflammatory and offensive things. They live to make people upset and angry. Also an ugly creature.

I like to think of social media trolls as ugly little folklore creatures because it dehumanises them and that takes away any power they may hold over you.

Negative comments are simply the price of admission to selling online

When you start an online store you are stepping into the arena. When you step into that arena there are going to be ups and downs, you will have good days and bad days, things on your website will break and, yep, trolls will throw negative comments at you.

President Theodore Roosevelt so eloquently said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – President Theodore Roosevelt

Ah, gets me every time! If you skimmed over that quote, go back and read it properly.

One of my favourite authors, Brene Brown wrote an entire book called “Daring Greatly” and one of her famous quotes is this:

“If you are not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback” – Brene Brown

 

Trolls are not in the arena with you. They hide under the bleachers and throw negative comments out. I believe they do this because deep-down they know what they are doing is ugly and gross and they would never say such things to your face.

Again, trolls are not in the arena with you.

The other important thing to really get is this. Trolls throw negative comments at you because, by definition, they’re people who deliberately provoke others online by saying inflammatory and offensive things. They live to make people upset and angry.

It’s just what they do. It’s how you choose to deal with them that matters.

Don’t fuel the fire

Trolls love it when you engage. It’s fuel to their fire. The only way to kill the fire is by starving it of oxygen.

We’ve all been sucked into engaging with trolls, haven’t we?

I remember a lady once went nutso on a post I shared about The Good Bag Project. She said how I was exploiting the makers and how the bags were most likely just mass-produced and screen printed anyway. I was hurt, upset and went into defence mode. I did reply and told her that I had met the women and guarantee they are hand-painted and that the proceeds do go to women in a remote village in Sri Lanka. She then went on a rant about how, if they were hand-painted, they wouldn’t all be perfect and wouldn’t look exactly like the mockup on the website. She even added that I should be supporting Australian farmers instead of women in poverty in Sri Lanka. There is literally no winning with trolls. They are irrational and remember, they live to make people angry and upset.

Eventually, I just blocked her.

A client once typed out a big response starting with “We wouldn’t normally reply to trolls like you…” Needless to say, this didn’t end well.

Any kind of response like this is a big no-no. It may seem like you’re getting one up by replying and defending yourself in a clever way, but really it’s just fuelling the fire and giving them what they want.

By all means, type out a reply in the notes section of your phone to get it off your chest, have a rant to a trusted friend, energetically send them love and light, but whatever you do, do not engage with the troll.

Another amazing tip I got from Brene Brown was her “don’t text, talk or type” strategy when she feels triggered. Super relevant to trolly-trolls.

Flip it into a positive

Easier said than done, right?

I get it. I soooo get it.

We got the below comments on one of our ads for our Free Facebook Ads Masterclass:

Ouch. When I saw it, I was triggered. I went into defence mode. I was like “How do you know, Carla!? You haven’t seen our masterclass. All the people who have watched it, love it!” But… instead of replying, I implement the don’t talk, text or type rule and I took a deep breath. 

I then realised how useful this comment was. 

Not only was it useful for us and our marketing (more on that in a sec) I was also able to use it as a teaching moment in our group: 

 

 

As I said in the group, I realised I can use the negative comment as an objection to overcome. I’m now going to write an ad that says “have you taken courses in the past that promise (Insert Carla’s rant)? Ours delivers (insert our value proposition)”.

This is the GOLD. Carla – and likely others – have experienced a negative experience with other fb ad courses (because let’s face it, not all courses are created equal) and she’s given us first-hand feedback as to what she doesn’t like.

The best feedback sometimes comes from people who DON’T buy from you.

THANK YOU CARLA!

I get it, it’s really hard to not worry about what others say about you and your products behind the safety of their keyboards. 
But my first response was less zen and more F-U CARLA!

Remember, it’s not about you

What someone says reveals more about them and their past experiences, than it does about you.

So try not to worry about it.

Be prepared for people to say literally anything And I mean anything!

As soon as you are selling something, people can forget you’re human. They can say the meanest things.

If someone trolls you, remember, it’s just them trying to compensate for some part of their life they aren’t happy with.

It’s not about growing a thick skin, it’s about understanding that whatever people project onto you is just their own stuff. Not yours.

The best thing to do is block and delete

If you don’t delete and block, others who usually wouldn’t engage in this rubbish, are sucked in and add their 2 cents worth. Plus trolls are not your ideal customer, so their opinion does not matter.

So, just block and delete.

Then, move on with your day.

2 Comments

  1. Libby Thomson

    Thank you so much for this advice. This is indeed gold. I will be turning all the ludicrous ignorant low life comments I receive into my objections to be addressed and blocking and deleting, without the stress from this day forward.

    Reply
  2. Bron

    Excellent advice, thank you so much. I especially like the idea that ‘trolls are not your ideal customer, so their opinion does not matter’!

    Reply

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We love helping purpose driven women sell more on their online store