Social media can be scary in the best of times, especially when you are:
- Trying to figure out what to say.
- Not really confident you know how to say it.
- Putting you and your business “out there” online for the world to see.
Not to mention social media can be doubly scary when you are worried about the occasional “social media dream squasher” aka the Negative Nancy’s that surf the internet waves looking for their next big “reason to rant”.
Fears like this can cause even the most confident Social Media Maven to freeze up and shrink a little, and boy do I understand!
But I don’t want you to fall victim to their power. As a social media expert and one who has seen and dealt with countless “crazy” posts online I want to give you some tips and techniques to keep you confidently in the online networking mix, focusing on finding your next client or customer without worry.
6 Easy Techniques to Successfully Deal with Toxic People Online
First: Set boundaries and limits.
When a toxic person shows up commenting on your blog post, in a thread on your Facebook business page, or anywhere else on social media limit yourself to one response at most. Don’t engage in a long back and forth debate about values, what your perspective is and why, as this will just waste your time and energy. Those who post toxic rants are not to be reasoned with and you should not even try.
Second: Take appropriate action.
I love Periscopes ability to instantly “block” a troll who pops into your ‘scope with off-color comments. On Facebook as owner of your page and profile you have every ability to delete, block and report a post, and the same is true for every social media platform out there. If it is somewhere online where such action cannot be taken, such as in a LinkedIn Group post, there is usually a moderator you can advise of the situation. Then leave it up to them to decide what to do. Just by taking action you will feel more “in control”, less stressed about the situation, and more able to concentrate on the priority at hand – keeping your loyal customers happy and engaged online.
Third: Trust in the power of social groups.
In my experience, most toxic posters get shut down by other followers. Most people don’t want to see these kinds of negative posts in their online business either. The more people that get involved the more positive posts will drown out the negative ones. Often the toxic poster gets driven away by the sheer crushing power of others posting, defending a toxic free internet on your behalf.
Fourth: Tell a friend.
No, not a friend who will take up arms in your defence and rant post right back, but tell a friend in real life. Go to coffee and chat about how this problematic poster made you feel and just get it all out. Then you can ‘cheers’ to the fact that you are having a lovely day drinking coffee and chatting with a friend and be grateful this toxic poster brought you back to recognizing what is truly important in life.
Fifth: Let go of control.
In the end we can’t control anything that is outside of our own body and mind. Know that you will stay positive and happy in the face of a person who’s actions might steal this from you. Know that your next big client is just around the corner ready to post a comment on how much they LOVED your free opt-in and can’t wait to read more of your stuff. And know that stressing over what we can’t control is much worse (usually) than the imagined problem if it ever really comes to pass in real life.
Sixth: Practice compassion.
This one is a biggie because it can be very difficult to do. Practicing compassion means being compassionate to yourself as well as to the person doing the online ranting.
Being kind in this way includes:
- Not negatively judging what you posted, nor your reaction to the toxic comments.
- Not negatively judging your toxic commenter.
- Having a belief in the fact that this person’s negativity derives from a mindset that deserves empathy, and then giving them some.
One of the best steps to practice that I have ever heard is to, “try creating a feeling of love towards yourself. Wish yourself happiness, and an end to your suffering. Wish yourself a life of joy and peacefulness. This won’t magically cure the pain, but it’s a good place to start.” As Leo Babauta so eloquently states in the blog Zen Habits
Finally, to read about a few more ways to handle toxic people online and off, check out Dr. Travis Bradberry’s very well written article here.
Still need to vent? Need some ideas or support to just “stay out of it” online? Join my LinkedIn group! There you will find business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as myself, in your exact situation ready to support you and lend an “ear”. Come visit us today!