We’ve all seen the rude, crude, and downright nasty comments online that result in double takes and dropped jaws.
There’s no doubt that the Internet provides a great outlet for conversation and self-expression. However, as with anything, there’s a flipside. The perceived anonymity and invincibility that the Internet provides can give people false courage and a sense of entitlement to post whatever they think or feel, no matter how insensitive.
Dealing with negative comments and feedback can require a delicate balance. You need to address the post in a professional, courteous manner, without providing an opportunity to spark a heated Internet debate. You want to shut down the negativity, while remaining cool, calm, and collected.
At times, that can be a fine line to walk. Here are a few pointers on how to effectively handle those Internet haters.
Decide if a response is appropriate
When you receive a rude or negative comment online, you first need to decide if it requires a response at all.
If a comment is completely irrational without any legitimate facts or grounds for negativity, responding could just add fuel to the fire and open the door for a continued unproductive discussion.
Take a good look at the thoughts the commenter is presenting, and make a decision about whether or not it warrants your thoughtful and courteous reply. Comments that are completely unreasonable or malicious are often just better off being ignored or deleted.
Respond in a timely manner
If you do decide that a negative comment deserves your reply, responding promptly is important.
Submitting a timely response sends the message that you’re organized and on top of all aspects of your nonprofit. It also conveys to other viewers that you’re receptive to all supporter concerns, questions, and feedback and are willing to acknowledge them with an efficient and considerate response.
Turn a negative into a positive
Let’s face it. Being on the receiving end of negative comments is never fun. While it can be a blow to your ego to get unfavorable feedback, especially in a public setting, it’s important to look at your response as an opportunity to send a positive message about your brand and campaign.
Responding to comments, especially the negative ones, is a great way to show integrity and demonstrate to your supporters that you’re engaged with them. Organizations that make a habit of sweeping their dirty laundry under the rug can start to seem detached and untrustworthy.
So, even if it’s difficult, addressing your naysayers can work to your benefit.
Make it short
Ensuring that your response is thoughtful and thorough is important. However, you don’t want your retorts to negative comments to be incredibly detailed and lengthy. A long response may encourage the poster to engage in a continued dialogue with you, which could in turn lead to more negative comments.
Instead, consider sending a brief, courteous reply that acknowledges receipt of the feedback, but doesn’t leave room for a heated response. Typically, a more general statement such as “Thank you so much for your feedback. We’ll check into this and make sure it’s included in our future discussions about this campaign” will suffice.
Keep your cool
Maintaining a level head and a calm demeanor is absolutely necessary when responding to unfavorable feedback online.
Keep in mind that everybody will be able to read your reply, and not just the negative poster. You don’t want to appear hot headed and high tempered, as this could negatively impact your entire crowdfunding campaign. So, make sure all of your comments are always professional and respectful.
If a comment really manages to get under your skin, don’t be afraid to let your reply sit for some time so that you can come back to it with a clearer mindset.
Don’t take it personally
People are probably always going to say mean things online, so there’s no point in taking negative comments to heart.
It’s easy for people to get a false sense of bravery hiding behind their computer screens, which can lead them to say some pretty cruel and irrational things online. Many people who post negative comments are simply seeking attention and a reaction, so don’t take it too personally.
Dealing with negative comments online can be a challenge. Keep these tips in mind to craft responses that are professional, courteous, and encourage positive conversations about your crowdfunding campaign.
Photograph by Kev-Shine.