Fear and loathing in social media land

Posted by Sara Hawthorn
90s troll doll social media trolls

Business owners are still afraid of negative social media comments, choosing to delete or ignore anything derogatory to their product or service. Particularly those businesses in the construction and manufacturing sectors. This is never a good plan. Here’s a first hand example of why responding positively is always the better option than deleting and denying.

On Sunday (yes, Sunday), a rude and potentially damaging comment was left on a Facebook ad we are running for a client, here’s what happened when we responded positively and immediately:


Them: What a pile of sh*t

Us: Hi X sorry you had an issue with X, as a new product to market, constructive feedback is welcome. Send us a message through our page to discuss your feedback. Thanks!

10 minutes later on FB messages…

Them: I did not expect a reply back from you, and as you have made the effort to do that I do not have a problem deleting my negative comment from your page. […] I only criticised it as I did not expect a direct response from you,and I’m impressed by that alone on a Sunday. If I can help in some way with future products please ask.


In less than an hour, we had not only stopped it dead but turned around what would, in many business owners’ eyes, have been reason to press delete on the promotion. By their own admission this person had never used the product and had made the comment not expecting to get called out, nor questioned over their statement. There was no substance to their opinion other than what they’d been doing in the past with a different method and assumed this new way would be in their words sh*t.

By addressing it directly and swiftly we were able to get this person both admit they’d never tried the product and were, in effect, trolling, and offer to delete their comment of their own volition.

The ad, by the way, has had over 500 click throughs and we’ve seen a month v month increase of 461.8% of website traffic – 90% of which has come from the Facebook url on the ad.


paid social media


Social media fear and b2b businesses

The urge to clamp down on anything negative on social media is a common thread across industries but from our experience, we’ve seen it happen a lot in construction and manufacturing space as senior teams and directors panic about the impact of a viral backlash and catastrophize about the potential loss of business.

Construction particularly, is a sector always maligned for being behind the times and, to be fair, social media did take a while to catch on. Strategy and forward planning is still a work in progress – as is understanding the need for a crisis or incident communications plan.

But it’s the lack of practice working with those (reasonable) fears and concerns about the risks of social media trolls and disgruntled customers which perpetuates knee-jerk reactions. We know a lot of businesses see it as a necessary evil and, if they’re honest, probably even loathe it a little bit. But Facebook advertising does work. It’s annoying, but true.

As the above example shows we have to roll with the trolls and get ahead of the haters, not by shutting down, but opening up and having dialogue when it’s needed. Pair this with a solid social strategy – including a crisis comms plan – and we can move past the reluctance and hesitancy still preventing b2b from pushing forward with social media.