Fight the Social fright tip #1 – Fear of a backlash

At this time of year, there are ghouls and trolls lurking in dark corners – and social media is no exception! 

The fear of a backlash from haters to your social media posts or campaigns can put the frighteners on even the most stoic brand team, sending them running for safety before the lights go out and the cellar door creaks shut. 

But walking the safest path on social media isn’t always the best thing for your brand. It can lead to dull content and low engagement. Sometimes to get great results, you need to take a risk. And that might upset the ghastly, ghostly figures at the edges of your communities. 

Most brands will face a backlash at some point. Even something as seemingly innocuous as supporting Pride, or talking about sustainability can unleash the trolls. Does that mean you shouldn’t do it? Of course not! What you can do, is prepare for it. 


Understand your audiences and who really matters to you.

Really dig into what your audience care about and what they expect from you in terms of behaviour. Keep them close, and don’t worry about a bit of negativity from a vocal minority of people who don’t really matter to your brand. 


Stay close to your values.

Nothing tests a value like a backlash. If you’re going to work with the LGBTQ+ community, for example, what does it say about you if you give up on them at the first sign of trouble? Stand firm. It will win you loyalty and respect. How you respond to a backlash can be a great opportunity to reinforce your brand values and beliefs. 


Prepare your team.

Do they buy into and support your campaign? If the going gets tough, your team needs to know they have the support they need from the business. Dealing with a backlash can be exhausting, so make sure your team is ready for it. Build in resource, plan for regular breaks, equip your team with the tools they need, and tell them you’ve got their backs. 


Practice dealing with a backlash.

We all need practice at doing the hard stuff. This is why our CEO and founder, Tamara Littleton also co-founded Polpeo, to help brands rehearse responding to a crisis. It builds confidence and resilience, and spots where the gaps might be in your response plans. 


Haters will always be haters, even when you have a great campaign that’s right on brand. This is just part of life on social media, and we all have to prepare for it. But a backlash doesn’t have to mean disaster – sometimes it’s a chance to stand up for your brand values, and reinforce what matters to the people you want to reach, not those you don’t. 

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