Social media is a great way to brand and market a new product, reach your target audience, and most importantly connect with your customers.  No kidding.

Opinions are inevitable, they can bring about positive change and are all the more direct via social media. You just have to get past the negative opinions. Yes, I’m talking about the haters of the world. The Negative Nancys, the trolls, the disgruntled ex-employees, the know-it-alls.

With 10 years of experience in marketing, I have dealt with negative customers in person and I’ve also dealt with negative customers on social media.

I have learned not only how to deal with haters, but also how haters can help me on social media. For the sake of this article let’s call them the ‘H’s’…

Respond Immediately

Ignoring an H post is not an option – you must do something and you must do it immediately.

Option One: The H post only has a negative tone. Respond with something factual, something positive or a compliment. You’ll be surprised how quickly an H will disarm.

Option Two: The H post has a negative tone and has merit. Respond by asking the H to private/direct message you. Taking the time to directly reach out to an H who has a true complaint, and doing so away from a social media platform, will eliminate any ongoing online negativity.

Do NOT Delete (exception: threatening/ foul language)

Any publicity is good publicity, to a point. When you delete the H post, you only further aggravate the situation.

The only time you should delete the H post is when threatening or foul language is used.  Posting a stern ‘keep your comments free of threatening or foul language’ update should address it.

Let Others Defend You and Don’t Recruit Your Friends

Defending your product against multiple H’s becomes an online badgering. The good news is, where H’s congregate so will supporters. When a supporter defends you, it removes you from the conversation and the ‘blame’ game. Also, don’t bother recruiting your boyfriend, mum, dad, grandma, co-worker’s wife, etc., to defend you. It screams phony, and H’s are already on the lookout for something to add to their argument. Don’t give them that.

Encourage Your Happy Haters

A rare gem is found every now and again. One of your H’s will become a ‘happy hater.’ It’s the best you can hope for and yes, they will still point out things they don’t like, but ultimately they have your back and want your product to succeed.  When you notice a ‘happy hater,’ thank them for their support and share/retweet their posts.

Sense of Humor … Use With Caution

Try to approach the H’s post with something lighthearted that also moves the conversation into less serious territory. Word of warning: don’t embarrass the H, and be prepared for your post to be seen as sarcastic, rude or unprofessional–in which case, apologize and explain that your post was taken the wrong way.

The social media marketing game can be tough. But if you can learn how to handle a hater, they might even be able to help you!

I have screwed up a few times and all I could do was dive into damage control. Take a deep breath, count to 10 and repeat to yourself: ‘haters gonna hate.’ 


Cami Marlowe is a Kiwi (from New Zealand) who found herself in the USA about 8 years ago. Her background is in marketing, event management, radio, promotions, sales, non-profit, social media and TV and currently she is the Executive Director for the North Carolina Wine Festival and the Carolina Oktoberfest, while also marketing both News Talk and ESPN radio stations in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. She loves planning events, her naughty cat, hot coffee and her wonderful boyfriend (not in that order!).

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Image credit: blakeemrys