The internet has given rise to a whole new type of hater – one that hides behind phony usernames, blank profile images, and unwarranted jabs and comments. While most haters are fairly harmless, some of them can be seriously damaging to your band if they're not handled correctly. Here are 10 damage control tips to quell that next unexpected hater on YouTube, Facebook, or your band's website.
1. Ignore them
Pretend that Mr. or Ms. Hater simply doesn't exist. Your real followers will likely give this joker a piece of their minds anyway and set the situation straight for you.
2. Be empathetic
Let your haters know that you understand not everyone is going to be your biggest fan, and that you appreciate him or her taking the time to leave a comment. Your attention to the matter and your kindness may be enough to defuse Mr. or Ms. Hater for good.
3. Offer to help
Let those haters know that if they want to get into the same line of business as you, and they feel that they have what it takes, you'd be open to hearing what they can do and offering some helpful advice. Remember that haters are usually just envious people who are in pain about their own shortcomings in their careers.
4. Take advantage
Without restating what Mr. or Ms. Hater said/wrote/posted, you might use the attention generated by the comment to respond with the exact opposite of what was said. You can remind people of all the great things you offer and all the great things you do for your fans.
5. Set ground rules for your profiles
Contact your haters personally (assuming a contact exists) and let them know that you find their conduct offensive. Tell them that they're welcome to continue voicing their "opinions" on your profiles as long as they make an educated argument as to why they feel the way they do, they don't claim their comments to be factual, and they don't use profanities. A person who simply states, "Your music sucks" offers no value at all.
6. Delete Mr. or Ms. Hater forever
Push the big "go away" button (if one exists on the platform) and say goodbye to your haters and their comments forever. And while you're at it, you just might want to also report Mr. or Ms. Hater as a spammer and poster of offensive material.
7. Chalk it up to success
Haters usually go where the attention is, so a few comments from the anonymous troll hiding behind his goofy username and blank profile picture is only an acknowledgment that you're on the way to success, or that you've already arrived. In fact, in many cases, the person doing the hating is your closest competitor!
8. Keep a watchful eye
Set up a Google Alert for your name and the username of your hater(s), and monitor all of the other places where they might be trolling – just to be sure that things don't get out of control. Then you can follow steps one through seven above.
9. Check yourself
Take a close look at yourself to determine whether you're the one being insensitive to others. Yup, you just might be the cause of your own damn drama. Imagine that! Be ready to apologize for any shortcomings you might find, and show that you're taking responsibility for your actions by promising to be more socially aware.
10. Threaten to sue
In the most extreme cases of hate, or more specifically, in cases where you have good reason to believe that someone is defaming you, you might consider tracking the abuser down and threatening to sue. According to Attorney Sara Hawkins, "Defamation is a statement that is communicated to a third party and makes a claim, either expressly or implied to be factual, that injures another's reputation or causes others not to associate with the person or business." Believe it or not, several thousand bloggers have been sued over the years, and one was even held liable for defamation to the tune of $2.5 million. Wow! Haters beware!
How do you deal with your band's haters? Share your tactics in the comments below!
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack on a Limited Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books" or on Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at bobbyborg.com.