Transcript: Lessons Learned from Social-Media Bullies

January 4, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “She actually said, ‘Don't poke mama bear. Some of you still need to learn manners. Scroll through. Some of you ruin the fun of sharing on social media for everyone.’ And I was, like, ‘She’s kind of got a really good point.’  

So, everyone deals with social-media bullies or negative comments or mean comments very differently. And I'm not here to tell you how to deal with it, because I definitely am not the expert. Half the time, I'm like, ‘Oh, my goodness. What are we going to do about this?’ and I really have to think about it, and then go back to, ‘Okay. We don't typically respond, we don't typically block, but we will remove comments if they are just egregious.’” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: Well, hey, there. Amy, here. Before we dive into the show today, we have some exciting news. As of this month, Online Marketing Made Easy is officially part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. Something we love about the HubSpot Podcast Network is all of the inspiring shows that are dedicated to helping professionals learn and grow, especially online entrepreneurs. If you love our show and want to check out other shows like us, we definitely recommend checking out the Goal Digger Podcast and My First Million. Check out all of these shows and more at 

Hey, there. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. I am so thrilled that you’re tuning in, because we are talking about social-media bullies. I didn’t know if bullies was the right word. I wasn’t sure what word to use. Trolls, bullies, negative comments, I don’t know, but you know what I'm talking about.  

And so I want to get into this topic because I haven't had a lot of negativity online until about the last two years. And then for the last two years, it's definitely been more prominent. And then this year, I actually was in a situation where I had a lot of negativity through social media, and it definitely rocked me a bit because I had never experienced anything like that before. And there were a few different people that had just, like, really horrible things that were very untrue to say about me. So it was something that I'm like, “Oh, okay. So this is happening, and I need to get my heart in the right place and my mind in the right place,” because it was a different experience for me, and it was definitely not fun. Like, I can't sugarcoat it. There's nothing good about it.  

But this is something that I remind myself of over and over again when I see that kind of negativity. And I'm not talking about constructive feedback, at all. I'm not talking about that. That could sometimes sting, but I pay attention to all of that. I'm just talking about downright meanness. And so this is something I tell myself when that happens. What I say is that nobody more successful than me will ever leave a nasty comment for me on social media, or anywhere else, really. So a friend will give you critical feedback, but never a negative or mean-spirited comment, right? And every time I look at those mean comments, I just think, “I'm in a better place.” 

Now, I want to be clear here. I'm not saying I'm better than them. Absolutely, I am not saying that. I just feel like I'm in a better place in terms of my mindset or in terms of just feeling grounded in who I am and what I'm about. And I truly believe that you have to make a choice of where you stand with negative comments. So, as a company or even as a solo entrepreneur, you need to have a plan for these because you might be really lucky where they're not really happening for you yet. But as you become more successful and as you grow in terms of your social following, unfortunately, it's going to happen. So you have to ask yourself, are you going to respond to these negative comments, or will you delete them or remove the comment if it's public? Will you block the person? Like, what are you going to do? And sometimes it's case by case.  

But a lot of my peers, they just know. Like, I have a friend, very popular in the industry, and she just blocks them. She's like, “I'm not going to deal with it. I just block them.”  

So, in my company, we don't respond, but we also don't typically block. Now, sometimes we’ll remove a comment if it's just outrageous. But we try not to even do that, because we know that people have their own opinions, and we sure as heck don't want to be censoring people online. Now I often think, as I get older, I might change my stance on that. I’m just like, “Block. You’re done. I have no patience for that.” I’m just not that type of personality, and that’s not where I’m at right now. But, I don’t know, something might happen and I’ll feel like I need to block the person. So I’m saying this just to say I’m allowed to change my mind. But that’s just where we stand right now. 

So, sometimes if you do respond, that could really backfire because it just adds more attention to it. So our DEI consultant, she once said that responding to these really nasty comments simply tells the person who put the comment out there that you want to have a conversation and that what they said really got a reaction out of you, and so that's exactly what they want. And also, if you don't want to get into a conversation, you probably shouldn't say anything. But on the flip side, some people do say, you know, speak their mind, and I also can really respect that.  

So, recently, I saw an article where they were talking about an actress. Her name is Candace Cameron Bure—I don't know a lot about her—but the article was really fascinating to me. So supposedly, she gets a lot of negative comments, no matter what she posts. And she posted a photo of her family, and they were attending a wedding, and her and her daughter were in red dresses. They looked spectacular, for the record. The whole family looked gorgeous. And so many people started commenting, “You're not supposed to wear red at a wedding.” And then her husband and son were not wearing socks with their shoes, and tons of comments were, like, so offended that they were going to a wedding and they didn't have socks on.  

But I don’t know. Like, who even spends the time to make these comments? It doesn't even equate in my mind.  

But what I liked about the article is the way she responded. So she actually got into the comments, something I typically wouldn't do, but she did. And she said, “In your opinion,” so she would reply to someone who's like, “You're not supposed to wear red to a wedding,” and all she did was just write, “In your opinion.” And then she would say something like, “Style rules are different in L.A., everyone. It’s just different here.” And as the comments continued to come, she ended up editing the text at the top of the post. And she actually said, “Don't poke mama bear. Some of you still need to learn manners. Scroll through. Some of you ruin the fun of sharing on social media for everyone.” And I was, like, “She’s kind of got a really good point.” 

So, everyone deals with social-media bullies or negative comments or mean comments very differently. And I'm not here to tell you how to deal with it, because I definitely am not the expert. Half the time, I'm like, “Oh, my goodness. What are we going to do about this?” and I really have to think about it, and then go back to, “Okay. We don't typically respond, we don't typically block, but we will remove comments if they are just egregious.” So, that’s basically how we do it. And then sometimes there’s situations that will throw the rules out the door and we’ll do whatever feels right. So do whatever feels right. 

But here's what I will say. I think something we need to remember is that people are going through different things, and people respond to stress and what's happening in their lives in very different ways than maybe we would. So just because you and I maybe wouldn’t possibly dream of posting anything mean online to someone we don't even know doesn't mean others won't. And we know that, right? We've seen that very clearly over the last few years. So what you have to remember is that we're all just doing the very best we can. And while not saying something hurtful is in line with how maybe you cope doesn't mean that's how other people cope. 

So, I know one of the women that came at me this year, I found out that she was going through something really hard in her life. And although I don't think that excuses her for her behavior, I can absolutely have compassion for her. Now, it took me a while to get to that place, but I can say that with all honesty here.  

So, here's where I want to leave this. Remember that nobody more successful, accomplished, grounded than you will ever cut you down. They're too busy living their life, making their dreams happen, reaching their goals. Head down, doing the work. And I respect that. And one little tip I'll give you is that if you have a folder, maybe you make one in your Google Drive or just have one on your desktop, add screenshots of things or comments or emails that light you up. Like in Slack—you all have heard me say this before—we have two different channels. One is Wins, which highlights screengrabs of our students who posted their wins online. And then we have another one called Love Notes, where my team can share messages that we get in customer support or in our communities of people just loving up on us. And I can promise you, there are days that I'm like, “I need to go to the Love Notes folder,” like on the rough days that I just feel beat down, and it's made a really big difference. So I highly recommend you have some kind of system to remind yourself that you’re doing good work in this world.  

All right. So, I hope you found this Shorty episode valuable. I don't have all the answers for you, but I did want to let you know that I know those comments hurt, I know they sting, and I know they can be really frustrating at times. And we, also, don't have all the answers. There's no playbook for exactly how to address this or deal with it. However, as you mature as an entrepreneur in your business, start putting your own playbook together. What feels right for you, what is going to give you more peace, and what will allow you to keep moving forward in the best way possible? So put yourself and your feelings and protect yourself first and then go from there.  

So, thanks so much for hanging out with me. And again, if you’d be so kind, please share this podcast with anyone that you think might need a little extra support on their entrepreneurial journey. 

All right. So, I'll see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, and I can't wait. 

Around this time of year, we start thinking about what matters most, and I ask this for my business as well. What truly matters? I often think about the impact I have on my community and my customers. If you find yourself feeling the same way, you also might find yourself asking how you can help strengthen those relationships between your customers and your community. With a suite of new purpose-built tools, a HubSpot CRM platform can help you build, maintain, and grow your customer relationships like never before. Custom surveys easily captures feedback unique to your business, shares insights with your teams, and helps you grow your understanding of how your customers really feel, meaning healthy conversations about what matters and less about what doesn't. And payment tools, like native payment links and recurring payments that directly embed in HubSpot's tools and emails, means seamless delivery and easy payment collection. Learn more about how a HubSpot CRM platform can help you build, maintain, and grow your customer relationships at 

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