Haters: How to Deal With Haters and Trolls of Your Business


Have you ever been publicly criticized or mocked for something that you did?

Are you wondering how you can deal with this type of negativity when it happens on social media?

To learn about haters and how to deal with them, I interview Marcus Sheridan for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview Marcus Sheridan, who blogs at The Sales Lion, is host of The Mad Marketing Podcast and is a partner at River Pools & Spas. Marcus is a consultant and keynote speaker. In fact, he was the closing keynote at Social Media Marketing World and he simply killed it!

Marcus shares the various types of critics you might attract and how you can deal with them.

You’ll discover the differences among haters, trolls and critics and what to do when you are under attack.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Haters in Business

Haters are the type of people who seem to get great joy out of saying nasty things about you or your company online. If you haven’t dealt with haters yet, the chance of dealing with one in the future is pretty good.

I’m going to share a story with you that happened recently to us, and my hope is that it will prepare you for these types of people. If you let them have their way, then they succeed and you fail. This will impede your progress.

The story is about an entertainment piece that was made for Social Media Marketing World 2014. Phil Mershon, who is my event director, created an original jingle called “Let’s Get Social,” which was sung by Mary McCoy from Continuum Marketing Services.

The song was performed just before Jay Baer took the stage with a panel, which included Ted Rubin, Nichole Kelly and Jeffrey Rohrs. The panel discussion was entitled “Have We Lost The Social in Social Media?”

This particular piece of entertainment was designed to be funny, and was to set the stage for the panel discussion. Even though it was corny, attendees got into it. Although on the video, you can’t grasp the audience’s reaction.

The video was originally released on the event page for Social Media Examiner, on my personal Facebook profile and on Social Media Examiner’s Facebook page. It was never intended to be released to the public.

The day after it was uploaded, it started to go crazy viral. The first day alone it received 75,000 views on YouTube. The number of negative and nasty comments on YouTube was unbelievable.

Phil and I had a discussion as to whether to close off the comments, but I didn’t feel that was appropriate. You’ll hear the reasons why I kept the comments open, and what I hoped would happen.

An article was then published by Gawker called The Devil Is Real, and He Made a Song About Social Media Marketing. Gawker is a gossip blog that has a section called Valley Wag, which covers the social space.

gawker the devil is real

Gawker was one of the first blogs to write about the video.

This very negative post spurred a lot of the video’s views and negative comments on YouTube. Following this blog post, Mashable, Huffington Post, Slate and CNET also covered the story.

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Mashable’s article headline.

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The Huffington Post’s article.

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Slate’s article.

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CNET’s article.

By the Friday of that week, VH1 created this 90-second comedy piece of the video:

To date, our video has been viewed nearly 500,000 times, with just over a 1,000 comments. At one point it ranked #15 worldwide. Someone has even made an acoustic version of it, which is quite good.

lets get social youtube numbers

The number of views and comments on this video has been crazy.

Now the plus side of it all is that Social Media Marketing World was referenced or linked back to within all of these blog posts. So although the overwhelming response was mockery, there was an upside to it.

You’ll hear about the types of comments that were made on YouTube, and why some of the biggest haters were on this platform.

As you can see, we had a crisis on our hands. Although my company, Social Media Examiner, wasn’t dragged into it, my Social Media Marketing World brand was.

Why haters exist and the things that motivate them

Marcus says that there are two types of people: those with an abundance mentality and those with a scarcity mentality.

People with an abundance mentality think there is enough to go around for everyone. Unfortunately they’re in the minority.

Those who have a scarcity mentality feel like there’s a certain amount of success to go around and someone else is achieving it. They start to look in the mirror, which frustrates them, and they also look at the person, and wonder why that person has achieved success. They believe they deserve it more than that person. They have a negative space.


Some people have a scarcity mentality. Image source: iStockphoto

Marcus thinks that because of the technology we are surrounded by today, it’s easy to feel like people are more successful than you.

I believe that we can all be haters and we don’t even realize we’re doing it. When it comes to the Internet, we have to be aware that it has a permanent memory.

You only have to look at the positive and negative tribes on each different platform. Depending on how you comment on these platforms, it compounds who you are. For example, if you write something negative on Facebook, all of your negative friends will think it’s great, whereas you’ll notice that your positive friends will ignore it.

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Each different platform has positive and negative tribes. Image source: iStockphoto

Perception is reality for some people. Unfortunately we live in a train-wreck society. People are much quicker to point the finger, and it’s become a real problem.

You’ll hear why it’s important to steward your own tribes appropriately.

Listen to the show to find out why Marcus believes that there are not enough leaders in today’s society, and the advantages of becoming a leader in your industry.

The difference between people who are critical and haters

To Marcus, the lowest segment of the negative tribe is trolls, who are the type of people who live in the comment section on YouTube. They will troll anybody. It’s the purpose of their life.

The haters actually know something about your industry, but often come from the scarcity mentality.

Finally, you have those people who give legitimate, constructive feedback. Marcus explains why he loves this type of person. Unfortunately, you don’t see many of them online.

Listen to the show to hear why I was cool with the 90-second VH1 video.

How Marcus deals with the haters

Marcus explains that one of his first dealings with haters was when his River Pools & Spas business took off, and some of the manufacturers in the industry weren’t happy with what he was doing. At first he found it really hard to deal with all of the attacks.

Once you take a leadership position in your industry, you have to decide if you’re going to focus on the those who love what you do or the haters.

The same thing happened again with Marcus when his speaking career started to take off. He admits that he has a unique speaking style, which is not for everybody.

You’ll hear how he deals with the haters when he is on stage.

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Marcus has a certain way that he deals with haters before he even goes on stage.

When I was preparing for this interview, someone posted on my Facebook wall this quote by Mahatma Gandhi: ”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” 

You’ll hear about some feedback I received last year from one person in relation to my opening keynote at Social Media Marketing World, and how that one negative comment made me doubt my willingness to do it again at this year’s event.

opening keynote smmw 14

Luckily I knew it was the right thing to do the opening keynote at Social Media Marketing World again this year.

Marcus explains why when you go ahead with something anyway, it’s the great divide.

Listen to the show to find out why you can become the voice of your industry if you risk being attacked.

How to deal with the haters

In the video below you’ll see Derek Halpern from Social Triggers talk about how to deal with difficult people, bullies and haters.

Marcus says he appreciates Derek’s passion, and the way he talks about how you should celebrate the haters.

It took Marcus and Derek a while to get to a point where they could celebrate the haters. They both made the same decision to focus on what’s important to their business.

You’ll find out why it’s better to be polarizing than to be lukewarm.

Some people find it very hard to deal with haters because they take it as a personal attack. However, the longer you are in business, the thicker your skin becomes and you can deal with it a lot easier.

As a business owner or a brand, your quest should be to find people who are a good fit and a bad fit. As soon as you can clearly distinguish between them, it’s one of the greatest days for your business.

Listen to the show to discover why so many brands focus on the negatives too much.

When haters use their platform to attack you

When all of these articles and negative comments were written about our video, I made the decision to immobilize my entire team. I feel that if you try to respond to these comments, it just adds fuel to the fire, which allows the haters to take it even further and use it against you.

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One of the many negative comments on YouTube.

Marcus agrees that you can’t invest your energy in negative things. You never come away feeling like you’ve won.

The best course of action to take in this situation is to do nothing. It really does work. A week after the release of the video, things started to quiet down.

Listen to the show to find out what happens when people discover that someone is a negative person online.

How to deal with people who leave negative comments on social platforms

One of Marcus’ important guidelines is that if someone breaks a rule on one of your platforms, nuke them. Marcus gets them out of there immediately. Derek Halpern does the same thing.

When it’s a social platform where they don’t have to follow the rules, you need to ask yourself if there is any validity in the comment this person made. You sometimes need to look at it analytically, without the emotion, which is the hardest part.

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A negative comment found on Facebook.

Marcus believes there is always an opportunity to learn. You can’t make everybody happy.

Listen to the show to hear how you can wish someone well and let them go their merry way.

Convert a hater into a fan

I believe that it comes down to the type of person you’re dealing with. You can easily see from someone’s Facebook feed or Twitter profile if he or she is a negative person.

However, if someone has a blog and doesn’t always take a negative stance on things, occasionally I’ve engaged with the person and expressed appreciation for his or her thoughts.

You’ll hear what other things I’ve done to help turn people into my biggest fans.

Marcus explains how he recently received an email from someone who had discovered an article on The Sales Lion called Infusionsoft vs. HubSpot: Which Is the Best Marketing Automation Software?

infusionsoft vs hubspot

The Sales Lion blog post that attracted a negative response from a reader.

The guy wrote to Marcus to point out that he should at least date the blog post because it’s about software. He wanted to know when it was published, so he could decide if it was a good or a bad article.

You’ll find out what Marcus’ initial reaction was to this email, how he responded and the reply he received back.

Most of the time, you’ll not see the true person or true customer unless it’s a one-on-one communication. This is why a lot of brands immediately try to bring online conversations offline, because they can make more progress without the world watching.

You’ll discover why it’s important to work within your values, ethics and community guidelines.

marcus sheridan podcast

Check out the full podcast episode with Marcus Sheridan.

Listen to the show to hear a challenge that Marcus wants you to embrace.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:

What do you think? What are your thoughts on dealing with haters and trolls in your business? Please leave your comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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