How To Deal With Internet Trolls

You’ve already put in countless hours curating the perfect content for your business’s social media page — the lighting is just right, the images have the right essence of authenticity, and you picked out attention-grabbing captions that are witty and lighthearted.  You’re finally ready to share what you’ve created with the world! PING, you click submit, and your fate is sealed: the post hurls through time and space to be seen by all the inhabitants of the infinite inter-web! A half hour passes, and you realize something tragic and hurtful has happened: your beautifully crafted post has been invaded by the savage comments of the infamous, anonymous, merciless people known as ‘trolls.’ Reading each word sends your stomach into a million knots; how can someone be this cruel?!

Putting yourself out there can be incredibly exciting, but it comes with some downfalls. We’ve all experienced these attacks in one way or another, but how do we move past it? How do we survive an e-lashing from such hurtful, mean-spirited critics? I’ve had a few of these experiences myself, and there are a few tips that have gotten me through the worst of it.

Find your voice: Stick up for yourself, but do not personally attack your assailant.

  • I have dealt with some harsh haters when posting on my business page for RedHead Wine.  I once had someone tell me that I deserve to be sexually assaulted — um, excuse me?  What kind of person says that?!  I’ve debated whether I should respond to comments that encourage the degradation of women or endorse sexual harassment. I was bullied in high school and I did not have the self-confidence to stand up for myself; I was too afraid back then, but now that I’m badass business woman, I chose to use my voice! Tell your attacker they are being disrespectful, and you have a zero-tolerance policy for negativity. Call them out for their behavior.  Your followers will see that you have class and will stand strong with you.

Keep your head up high! Haters will always hate, but know only you can dull your shine!

  • It is extremely hard to ignore negative comments when it comes to your personal brand or business.  I’ve heard repeatedly that “business should not be personal,” but it is personal when you are pouring your heart into it. Trolls use words to drag you down below their level. I want to emphasize that you are good enough.  The fact that you are trying to create and build something is a huge deal! It takes courage and strength to even try — so you should be proud of that. Life has some very rough roads and at times can feel lonely.  But it truly shows the type of person you are when you are putting yourself out there and taking risks — it’s amazing, and you’ll never forget it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Hit “Block”

  • Your page and your online profile is just that: yours. You get to decide who’s included in that community, and if someone is using that opportunity to spew hate, cruelty, threats, or just plain meanness, you are not obligated to keep that online relationship! Block them, and report them if they’re violating the platform’s terms of service. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your brand — for your own sake, and for the sake of your followers!

The internet is comprised of billions of community members – so focus on the individuals who build you up, not bring you down.  Internet trolls LIVE for internet battles, so if you shut down their banter with a concise warning, you are taking control and will feel better about it.  I know it’s helped me to act and take a stance. But, most importantly, be proud of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. By staying positive and focused, you will only get further ahead.

Want to continue the conversation? Contact me on IG and Twitter: @MarisaSergi  

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