Monday Postcard #43 – Why Haters are PR
Imagine this fictional scenario: You are just starting out with your business and sell your product or service to somebody who is close to you – a family member or friend. At first they are really excited, overly grateful and want to give you advice for your business. They do have a slight remark about a malfunction which was not there when the product was shipped. But you want to provide a good customer service experience and offer to fix or exchange the product. All this happens to your face. Said person never gets back to you regarding exchanging the product.
And then you hear that behind your back, they have been bitching about you. “I found the same product much cheaper and now I’m annoyed that I supported her business.” As it happens so often with customers, the do not keep it to themselves, they even pick up the phone and reach out to more people and gossip about you and your idea. “Have you heard about XYZ’s business. I’m so gutted I spent the money on a broken product, I already told all our friends.”, obviously taking pleasure in spreading bad things about somebody else. Very often these people never had to take the same risks as you did and have no idea how hard it is to build up something from scratch. And, unfortunately, there are those who you supported when they started out, encouraging them, stressing the positives more than the flaws of their project, who then turn their back on you.
I guess everyone who offers a product or service with their own business has experienced a similar situation. It happened to me as well. And when I heard about it, I got so mad. In my case, the person follows me on social media daily, making overly nice remarks on my stories and certain pictures they deem “worthy” (sic!). I was in the middle of working on something I am really passionate about. I was in such a good mood and then – bam – it hit me hard when I heard what this person had to say about me. My parents tried to calm me down saying that is part of running your own business but I felt so cheated. Those who you think are close to you are the ones stabbing you in the back? I thought about going for a run but decided to keep working. Enough energy was wasted already.
Before I went to bed I texted my friend Evi who runs the e-commerce platform flyingbeautiful.com. And her answer was simple but very effective: “You are above such people – only small minds discuss other people. Simply don’t give a f***. And consider it as free PR – if people talk about you, you are in business.” There it was. I had given in to my angry thoughts and such a simple point of view made my mindset shift. Evi was right. This person has been following me since the beginning, contributing to engagement on my posts and positive statistics. And by spending so much time and effort talking about me, they actually spread the word about my project. Maybe people get curious and I can prove to them that all of this is not true.
I am not saying here that the customer is always wrong and that you should not care. You definitely should. Because constructive criticism and happy customers are key. But you need to learn how to assess which ones are necessary to follow-up. Furthermore, analyse if there is something in haters’ comments you could use to excel. But most importantly, do not invest anger or negative energy in them, leave them to Karma. I also learned to disengage with people who gave me negative vibes and tried to make me feel small to make themselves feel better. I rather invest my time in people who are genuinely interested in a good relationship.
Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the haters. Thanks for giving me exposure, thanks for driving up my statistics and spreading the word! Because even though you talk badly about me, obviously what I do is so interesting that you still keep following me. Enjoy my content and products. Stay tuned, there is more to come!