How to Deal with Haters and Bad Reviews on Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube

In Social Media Marketing

Today we're going to be talking about something very important: what to do if you've got a lot of haters and trolls on the internet?
Ben Lee Rootstrap,
CRO & Co-Founder

If you've got a big poem in social media like me, you are going to have different cycles where you're constantly exposed to different types of hate on the internet. It could be something as simple as a viral post, could be something maybe a little bit more controversial. The point is there will be times where people are angry on the internet, and they're trying to attack you, and nobody has to deal with these issues and how to maintain your mental health and some tactics about how to respond to them is something very very important for anyone to try to build a personal brand, as well as companies who need to deal with bad reviews, whether it's on Yelp or Google, and how to deal with angry customers, because we are living in very tense times.

A lot of people are on edge, and the only place where they have to go is the internet, so they're going to dump all their shit out onto the internet onto you, onto your brand.

There's a lot of positive things about the internet: the internet has changed my life for the better, but what if you are the subject of an attack and you've got trolls, or haters in hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of cohorts? This can be very detrimental to your mental health.

We're going to be talking about today is how to deal with trolls and haters on the internet, and some judo that you can learn how to attack them.

The first time that I received a lot of hate on the internet (there's been too many times!) I personally was the subject of an attack or a lot of hate on the Internet, I have written a post on LinkedIn that exposed a vulnerable side to me and one that talked about how I worked a lot and sacrificed a lot of going out and partying and things with girls, because work was always very important to me. It went crazy viral: it had six million views on LinkedIn, it went viral on Twitter and I was getting attacked left and right.

Ironically enough, I was actually getting a lot of dates from this message as well, but we're not talking about that today. The attacks, and the hate, and the messages, and the trolls was absolutely crazy!

There are a couple ways you can deal with this.

Become a stoic on the internet

Number one is you've got to learn how to become a stoic on the internet if you are willing to put yourself out there and you want to get used. It's part of the game. You have to learn how to deal with it.

The first thing that I did was I took a step back. I talked to people that are important in my life: mentors, teachers and asked should I respond, should I engage? And it was around that time which was about 2016-2017 I started to learn tools of how to deal with some of this hate.

So, first and foremost is I never delete the post ever. You don't want to become a politician? Whether we love him or hate him, Donald Trump does not delete tweets, he does is intentionally because he knows his adversaries and his opponents in the political arena are going to delete. They're going to try to censor. He takes the opposite approach: if anything he overwhelms people with data and information and is constantly throwing up new tweets, but the thing that is interesting about him is he does not delete his tweets, and I really do recommend that you do not delete the negative hate and the negative post that you get.

This is only going to piss off a troll or a hater even more it's kind of like poking at them, and it's likely just going ignite it even more. I also think you'll lose credibility with your fans and audiences when you delete.

What I have found to be really interesting thing is if you stay back and you let the heat just resolve itself, people will start to defend you, they'll actually jump in the comments to your rescue and basically defend your actions. It's happened to me so much that I find I can identify my tribe or people who have my back when this happens.


Second very important thing is dealing with trolls and haters with humor. I'm going to show up a tweet here right now where this restaurant chain dealt with some negative tweets using some really funny humor keeping it light. Let's say, someone on Twitter or TikTok says you're such a fat ugly assh*le. You know how I would respond? “Oh brother, you don't even know how I looked after Thanksgiving last year, lol”.

If you defuse the bomb and you basically remove their power by creating a little bit more of a light-hearted humorous environment, they don't have room to come up with a counter-attack, they're completely confused. What they're likely to do is just move on to their next target. They're not going even want to talk with you anymore!

Why I also like this strategy is because it shows your audience that you don't give a shit about the haters. Whenever I see people jumping in the comments, attacking, going on offense, I immediately lose credibility for that celebrity or influencer, I look at them like “what…? You're the one putting yourself on Instagram, getting twenty million views, you can't take the haters?! You shouldn’t be in the game!”. Very simple!

Find ways to agree

The third thing that I subscribe to the most is find ways you can agree with your hater on something. Let's look at a couple of LinkedIn messages and tweets where this has happened.What I do is, let's say, the LinkedIn messages “Ben you're a dumbass douche and data is a currency but you're wrong and you don't know jack-shit”. How we respond to that is finding something we can at least agree on. “Hey John, I agree with you, ADA is currency, but I just want to remind you that you're not obligated to agree with anything I say so”.

Let's look at an example of how to find something you can both agree on to also defuse the situation, defuse the bomber or attacker or cyber terrorists. What I do is, let's say, somebody attacks one of my post and I'm going to show you an example. They basically go on a rant and they call me a bunch of names, and call me a douche, but there's something there that I can agree with and it might be a topic, it might be a belief, it might be something as stupid and silly as “the weather is great outside”. I generally respond with something like “hey, you know I really appreciate your perspective, I agree with you, the weather is really nice outside”. It's something that we can both agree on.

No matter how crazy this person is, we have something we can agree on. They're going to lose their mind inside, they're going to go “what is wrong with this Guy, I just attacked him, now he's agreed with me”. That is the biggest weapon for taking out a cyberbully terrorists: find something you agree on.

Now, once you do that, they probably want you to be able to reply. They may just stop following you, they may be so embarrassed, they're going to move on to something else. Again, you're going to earn extra points with your fans and your audience. They're likely to like that reply and comment and, I'm sure, they're going want to support you or defend you if there is another attack. The thing to remember (and why you should stay positive if you are the victim of any type of attacker cyber bullying) the Internet has a very short attention span, there's so much content and new cycles moving at crazy speeds that someone is not likely to remember the incident in 24 hours. So what my recommendation is: sleep it off, turn your devices on airplane mode and literally write it out. If we look at celebrities who have done this from Charlie D'Amelio, biggest TikTok star in the game, to some of the really shitty stuff that logan paul eyes done this guy is literally been able to rebuild his credibility and his brand after continuously doing such stupid on the Internet. I'm not recommending you do any of that and I don't know him, so I can't personally tell you whether he's an assh*le or not, but what I can tell you is he has lost a lot of brand noodles and business for the way he's conducted himself on the Internet.

He's got a ton of hate, he's gotten tons of attacks and he still is one of the top influencers on the Internet. That just goes to show you that everything passes with time, so even if you're feeling stressed out in the Moment, let it pass. It's going to be okay.

Here's what you should not be doing: engaging in a defensive strategy or attacking them back, defending yourself, saying “you're wrong, I'm not fat and ugly” or “you don't know, you troll” that makes you look silly. Don't do that! Ignore, engage with humor, find somewhere you can level with them or just move on, but don't engage with anger and hate and trolls!

Business under attack

Now we're going to be moving on to businesses. What should businesses be doing if you are the subject of some attack or negative reviews on your business, whether it's Google Places, whether it's Yelp or Facebook?

My advice and strategies are totally different than for personal brands. If you are a business and you are getting a legitimate bad review, and by legitimate you can usually tell whether they're using all caps, or lower caps, or lots of exclamation, bad spelling and grammar, and you're seeing some of those signs that generally is a troll that's not a legitimate bad review. If it is a legitimate, this person looks like just a disgruntled customer, you have to reply, you have to take this very seriously: it's your business, it's your reputation, you need to defend that more than ever.

Especially difficult times when we're in a downward economy, and there's way more competition than ever, and there's a million other business owners who are willing to steal your customers and provide a better service.

Here's my advice for dealing with them. First thing: always argue the facts. You can reply to a negative review, thank them for doing it (you want to be cordial, you do not ever want to attack back) and say “I appreciate your comments, we're sorry to hear you had a negative experience” presuming it was had to do with their experience in the restaurant or the business that you run, and immediately offer to resolve the situation. I like to do it over a phone call because I just don't want to be doing all this back and forth and writing when they leave a crazy long review, I reply it's another crazy long reply. I like to work it out as quickly as possible, and my personal style is doing that over the phone.

Sometimes you may have someone who's just not willing to do that, but in most cases I find that people who are sane and level-headed will jump on the phone with you. The thing to remember when you are a business and you are getting negative reviews is put yourself in the customers shoes. If you are able to resolve this, there is a good chance they will delete the review, they're generally hot and heated in the moment, hey think they have all the leverage, they're going to dump all this about you on the internet and it's going to hurt your reputation, whatever.

It's slightly then being very impulsive, maybe they drink a little too much vine, or maybe they're just all riled up. Give them also 24 hours, give them the benefit of the doubt, let them calm down a little bit before also jumping in to defend yourself or saying that they're wrong and you're right. Put yourself in their shoes, have some empathy. try to understand that person might be going through a shitty time as well. My recommendation is always be positive, whether you're a personality, a personal brand or business. Try to engage with a more positive cordial approach versus attacking back: it never works, it always makes you look silly!

It's important to do this for your mental health, it's important to have a strong foot on the ground when you do get attacked, and you also have a strategy how to deal with it. Remember, it doesn't have to be right now: you don't have to reply that very moment, it's okay to turn off your devices, go on airplane mode and deal with some of the haters tomorrow. There's no rule book or playbook that says “you have to engage right now”, and I think most of the time when I've seen celebrities or influencers make missteps it's usually they were also very emotional, they were high and bothered in the moment, they wrote that stupid tweet, they wrote that bad negative comment. Just let it breathe and let your emotions calm down, then engage neutral.

It's for the cyber bullies. I was the victim of a lot of physical bullying in my lifetime, especially when I was younger, and I know how shitty that feels for people. It eally leaves a lot of the emotional scars on all of us, so all the cyber bullies out there put your energy in somewhere else. It's not worth, it it's going to do nothing for you in the long run. A lot of the people who are likely to implement of my tactics and strategies - they're not going to ignite you anymore.