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Don’t rise to the trolls on social media, or in real life – Emma Hall

  • 06/11/2017
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Don’t rise to the trolls on social media, or in real life – Emma Hall
Michelle Obama had it right when she advised her daughters, “when they go low, we go high”. But it can be hard to restrain yourself if you feel badly done by, criticised or lied about on social media.

This can be especially so if it’s in full virtual view of your friends, colleagues and peers.

First thing’s first…step away from your screen.

Don’t ever post in anger. Like drinking and dialling an ex, it’s rarely going to have a good outcome.

You have two options – rise above it, or deal with it.

If you ever face a slur on social media, hopefully it’s the type that you can rise above. If somebody posts something rude or offensive they are often looking for a response. Try not to give them one.

Remember that the poster is actually revealing their true colours by trying to reveal something about you or your business. The most successful firms focus on their own clients and service.


The serious stuff

Sometimes you really do need to deal with a social media comment because it’s serious, or impacts your business. Depending on your relationship, you could ask the poster to delete the comment or apologise. In more serious instances you can sue them.

There are laws in place to give you redress if someone posts an untrue and defamatory statement about you or your business on social media.

Such comments are potentially libellous, even if the person hasn’t directly named you. If you or your business can be reasonably identified from a comment, you can still sue.

Bear this is mind when you are posting too. It can be all too tempting to use Twitter as a place to rant about a lender, solicitor, estate agent or other business that is making your working life difficult. But remember to avoid negative opinions when taking about other people or firms specifically. A defamatory comment is one that is untrue and could damage a person or a business’s reputation.


Real life trolls

Of course, poor form existed in business long before social media – and it still happens offline.

It often takes the guise of negative remarks in meetings about competitors or rumours whispered over lunch or a beer.

Thankfully, this isn’t prolific in the mortgage market, where most people understand that supporting each other (alongside healthy competition) is ultimately good for everyone. After a challenging decade the mortgage market, particularly the intermediary sector, is more united than ever.

But back-biting still happens and it can be disappointing to learn that others have been misinformed about your business by online or real-life trolls.

But… when they go low, you go high.

Remember that you have the greatest power to control what others think of you and your business. Quality work, strong relationships, and the willingness to adapt and grow are what determine how your clients, partners and your peers see you.

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