Negative Social Media Comments: A Veterinarian’s Concern

Hey folks: because I have some veterinary clients, I follow along on their

Ollie the dog 2
Public Enemy #1: Ollie Delzio
forums. Some of them were concerned about negative social media comments and I wrote this up. I thought I should share it here (I threw in some headlines, too). Cathie McGinn’s excellent article, Yours Truly, Angry Mob, covered corporate, a much easier target for Facebook vitriol than an individual, particularly an individual veterinarian. Nevertheless, rotten comments sting. Let this post be a little Lidocaine. A sheriff friend of mine told me he learned early on the job that a lot of people have a lot of anger that most likely has absolutely nothing to do with you. If you can bear with me, I’ll get to the social media connection. The comment came after I shared this story: I was walking my 10 lb Jap Chin in the (fenced) canyon behind my house that divides two street. Yeah. Yeah. The dog was off leash and loving it, but he was staying on the trail, not going up to the fenced back yards at all. About 1/2 mile in, a young woman yelled from her back yard that I shouldn’t be walking my dog back there because it makes the homeowners’ dogs bark. I said, “hey I pay my taxes, too,” in a droll manner, referring to the fact that the city maintains the canyons and they’re for the enjoyment of all. (This was at 5 in the afternoon. Of course I would be more considerate than going early in the morning.) The woman went ballistic screaming that I was a bitch. She then came out of her yard, ran up to me (I held my ground) and started pelting me with clods of dirt. I stood there, stunned and finally had the presence of mind to say, “okay, that’s assault.” Her boyfriend came out and calmed her down. Anyway, when I got home I called my daughter’s friend’s dad, a sheriff and super cool guy who’s most likely often in situations where the fury is flying.  He told me about the misdirected, global anger phenomenon. It was an interesting fact to learn. How does this relate to Facebook? Misdirected anger now has a new platform!

Negative Social Media Comments Will Always Be with Us, Alas

I would encourage folks to avoid taking misdirected anger in the form of rotten FB comments too personally. In fact, at a social media conference I attended recently (Interactive Day San Diego), I enjoyed hearing Sam the Cooking Guy (a San Diego celeb) say, “hey, use the bad comment and straighten the person up on your brand. Use it as an opening to add positive stuff about yourself,” e.g. if someone says, “Dr. Bones is a clueless jerk,” it’s time to calmly state, “I regret you feel that way. At xyz clinic we take these 12 steps to ensure . . . ” or even some very esoteric medical info that impresses (without being heavy handed). I was glad to hear a brand (Sam the CG) encourage people to NOT roll over, apologizing and trying to rectify the situation, but to defend themselves, doggone it! Finally, take a look at the comments left at the website of my old company, ProFlowers, where I worked as an search engine optimization copywriter. Don’t just look at the 4 shown ones, expand the comments, and you’ll see all kinds of vitriol! In fact, I used to read them in between website copywriting duties just to make myself laugh! The marketing team ignored these assaults, accepting that mistakes would be made (narcissus bulbs delivered to a home that ordered amaryllis) from time to time AND that many folks out there have misdirected anger. It didn’t shut down their social media efforts at all. It’s almost like they had blinders on. Ten years ago, I would have taken each negative social media comments as a knife in the heart (but then there was no social media ten years ago!) Now that I’m old and jaded, they just seem like the price of doing business in the social era. Okay, I’ve written too long (surgeons operate, writers write), but I think we all have to accept that it’s a whole new marketing world out there and calmly apply the remedy (acknowledgement; self-defense) when we see a festering comment, just as a doc would see a maggot-y wound and start irrigating (sorry my sweet chicken had one of these the other day and it’s been plaguing me; how did i miss it for so long?). Takeaway: if you get a negative comment, you’re far from alone. Respond with a short regret and then cleverly work in how dedicated to animals you are. Most often, as Ali mentions, your other clients come to your defense and that makes your own hurt feelings heal better than anything!

Now you know . . .

Fleur the Chicken close up
Lovely Fleur, the Milles Fleur hen.
Okay, non-veterinary clients, now you know this content writer has chickens. In my suburban San Diego backyard, no less! Rest assured they don’t distract me from my website copywriting duties.  My daughter does most of the work. (Did you all know chickens are cuddly and the best bird pet? Best of all: they cost $2 each!) If that info isn’t useful to you, try this related post: “Can You Remove Negative Business Reviews: A Content Writer Counter Attacks.” If you need search engine optimized web pages that convert, blog posts that engage and impress Google, or social media strategy contact us! We’ll make sure to get back to you within 24 hours. And don’t forget to download the free stuff from our Free Website Copywriting Tools page.  

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