Lessons From the Tank
by Joe Altieri
February 13th, 2023

Sticks and Stones

“I hope you get nothing but $#!%@ unskilled workers who quit after two weeks.”
— Amber B.

Wow, Amber B. didn’t hold back, did she? And she’s not alone.

“These people are idiots … Maybe they would be more popular if they would take their head out of their butts.” —Brad F.

“Shark Tank ain’t gonna save you Altieri. I bet Lori is regretting you.” —Rob L.

“You ain’t selling nothing. Shoot the company behind the barn.” —Upsi

The larger your company gets, the more the haters come out of the woodwork to troll your social media and give you a piece of their minds. Knowing anything at all about your business or product doesn’t necessarily factor into the picture for many of them. As sales, exposure and notoriety trend upward, so will the list of hateful, mean or simply ridiculous comments. That has certainly been the experience with my company, but instead of dreading it, we’re here for it!

Having a social presence isn’t optional anymore, so everyone will deal with this issue on some level. I thought sharing some of the tips we’ve found useful—and even beneficial—when handling the hacks might be helpful.

First things first: Your social media shouldn’t be an afterthought. Devote energy and resources into making it great. Designate at least one person who posts daily, then monitors and responds on all your channels. Depending on the size of your company, you may need an entire team dedicated to this. Start here.

Next, decide on your company’s “voice” and clearly communicate that to everyone who represents you online. Here’s ours: “Our social media presence is ‘edgy professional,’ and our writing style is casual and relatable. We strive to connect with our audience by being only and authentically us.” We will put our toe directly on the line but never over it. Our posts and responses may contain off-beat humor or light sarcasm but will never be vulgar or mean-spirited. Most of all, they will never be “canned” or predictable.

Once you have the players in place and know your voice, have fun with it! You can turn those negative comments to your advantage and earn a lot of credibility in the process. Here’s how:

Respond

Don’t leave mean comments unattended. Deal with them one of two ways: If the post is vulgar, delete or hide it, but don’t engage; if it’s just mean, ridiculous or ill-informed, respond. But how you respond is critical. The first rule is never to get defensive. For example, following is an actual thread from one of our TikToks.

Adam C: This is stupid.

Us: Gas prices are stupid.

Adam C: What??

Us: Just matching your energy, bro!

That was the last we heard from Adam, but a lot of people liked, laughed at and commented on our response. Which brings us to the next point.

Respect

In the above example, we won people over with relevant humor. (Everyone hates high gas prices.) In the process, we didn’t tear Adam down. Fighting fire with fire only works on real fires. In any other circumstance, you will probably get burned. On top of that, you’ll look weak. Have humble confidence and come at every response with that posture. That means genuinely evaluating the hateful comments before reacting. Maybe there’s a nugget of truth hidden in all that vitriol. If there is, it’s to your advantage to take it to heart and respond accordingly. Accepting responsibility and apologizing is a business superpower that breeds credibility and respect. Lastly …

Relax

Be un-offendable. As hard as it may be to see someone malign your hard-earned success, don’t take it personally. Use the hate to your advantage by continually rising above it. Find ways to have fun with it!

Sticks and stones can break your bones, sure. We’re all familiar with that saying. But sticks and stones can also be used to build a throne. Enjoy the view from up there!

To see one of the fun ways we’ve dealt with haters CLICK HERE.

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2 comments
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  1. Joe – nice article and I love the ‘meet things head on’ attitude – the internet allows folks to hide behind the curtain a bit as they make comments – tackling things head on and with humor when you can works! Keep selling!

    Ty

  2. Great article Joe. You are 100% on point.

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