As many of you know, YBC® has a YouTube Channel with hundreds of videos, most of them yoga videos, as well as workout videos, giveaway videos, travel vlogs, and more. Over the years, we have amassed a large following of about 220,000 subscribers. I do my best to answer every single comment we get, and sometimes we get some negative ones.
When I lead Business of Yoga workshops, how I deal with negative comments is a question that comes up time and again, so I thought I'd share my strategies here.
Realize it's not you, it's them. Most of the time, people don't think before they speak, never mind think before they type! Maybe the video struck a nerve, maybe they had a bad day, maybe they're just a miserable human being and spewing negativity is their jam. Whatever it the case, I just try to remind myself that 99% of the time, what people think of me and my content has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with their perception, their issues, and how they choose to view me and the stuff I create. When you realize nothing is personal, it's easier to just laugh and let it roll off your shoulders.
When the need arises, answer the person. Sometimes the negative comments really strike a nerve with me and I feel the need to respond. This isn't often, but every once in a blue moon, I will. Before I respond, however, I give it time. I'll take a night and sleep on it. Often what I would say in the heat of the moment is very different from what I end up saying after I have some time to think about it. Remember that everything you put out there says something about you, so if you tend to go to crazy town when people are mean, check yourself, sleep on it, and then try again the next day. It is possible to put a thoughtful response together without the heat of the anger.
Enlist your tribe. Sometimes I don't have the energy to deal with negativity, but I want the person who wrote the comment to get a response from my people - my tribe - those who know what's up. It's rare I'll do this, because I don't want to #feedthetrolls and give them more power, but every once in a while I will share the comment on Stories and let the YBCers do their thing. Your tribe is powerful. They will know exactly how to deliver the message in the way that speaks to your brand. I had someone once leave a comment that my yoga was garbage, that strength building had no place in the practice and that I should've advertise myself as a yoga teacher because I'm not teaching "real yoga". I said absolutely nothing, put it on Stories, and my tribe flew in and saved the day in a way that wasn't rude or hateful. They very nicely pointed out the ways in which YBC® is yoga, suggested that "real yogis" are accepting of all, and let the person know that if you don't like something, you can totes UNFOLLOW. #bai.
Don't take yourself too seriously. I am by no means perfect. My YouTube videos were awful when I first started filming them years ago. I certainly made mistakes in the way I cued things, and I still make mistakes because, newsflash, I'm human. I remind myself constantly that it is impossible to please everyone, so I'll just do the best I can in the only way I know how, and give myself permission to let that be enough. And I laugh at myself. When people point out my mistakes in comments, I'll just validate it. Like, yep, I missed the right side of the stretch - I'm sorry, you can go ahead and pause the video and do it yourself and I'll do my best not to screw up in the future. Of course I always want to do my best work, but I am only human and I will make mistakes.
Learn to filter hate from constructive criticism, and take the latter seriously. Some people will be committed to hating what you create or put out there into the world. Those aren't your people, and you shouldn't try to alter what you do for them. Other people will have constructive criticism. It might be delivered in a very gentle, kind way, and that is ideal, but it may also be delivered in a way that makes you feel defensive. Try to avoid feeling defensive and ask yourself what the root of the message is. Is it that they can't hear the audio? Is it that the camera angle wasn't ideal? Can you put yourself in their shoes and see their point? Are these things you can fix in the future? If so, thank them for taking the time to leave a message and let them know you'll take their feedback to heart and make changes moving forward.
If you're a content creator, I'd love to hear your strategies for dealing with negativity. And if you need a good book to help you on your way, this one is legit!