7 Tips for Ministries Responding to Negative Comments for Online

Updated: Jun 28

How to manage your ministries social media


Haters gonna hate. But when they do, how do you respond?


Here are seven things to consider when responding to negative comments:




1. Delete or Engage

When you receive a negative comment, your first instinct may be to delete it, so it's good to know in advance what kind of comments you know for sure you don't want in your thread. Here are a few good reasons to delete a comment immediately:

  • The comment contains profanity or obscenity.

  • The commenter uses racist/bigoted/hateful speech.

  • The comment is obviously spam (for example: linking to an unrelated random external website or making comments that have nothing to do with the original post or replies)

If the comment is negative but doesn't fall into one of those categories, you don't necessarily need to delete it.

2. Breath

Negative comments are an excellent opportunity to try to connect with someone. If someone is hurt or angry, offering a message of peace is a great way to diffuse the situation. Recently I saw a young Christian friend on Tiktok that was receiving some especially vicious comments. He simply responded with sincere messages of love and honor, and it changed the course of the conversation. While this will not always be the case, it is never a bad idea to share kindness.

Compassion

Take a step back and put yourself in the spiritual seeker's shoes. This can go a long way in understanding why he or she is frustrated or angry. Instead of entering into an argument, ask if they are interested in learning more or pray for them.

Always remember, if you're going to answer a comment, don't respond in anger or frustration. Use kind words and demonstrate compassion.

Even a negative post can be a good thing, as long as the last comment is positive.

3. Evaluate

Consider if your response should be public or private. When you respond publicly once, and they continue the conversation, you can then move it to a personal message. This allows for a more open and honest dialogue.

4. Consult. If you are having a difficult time knowing what the best thing to do, get a second opinion.

5. Disclaimer

In the spirit of being open and honest, a disclaimer policy states what is acceptable dialogue and that this is a safe place to learn and be part of a community.

6. Block

Blocking someone might feel like a big deal, but ultimately, if you're managing an online community, you need to maintain a place of productivity and safety. There are individuals that will cause problems for you and for others on the page or in the thread.

In those cases, you may need to block them. Here are some good reasons to block someone:

  • You've repeatedly had to delete their comments because of the reasons listed under #1 above.

  • You've attempted to engage with that person offline or in private messages, and they show no interest in a productive conversation.

  • They're consistently attacking others or being antagonistic.

7. Move on

Some people are simply going to want to argue, and the reality of social media means there will be individuals who want to troll. Don't give in to the temptation to engage in an argument. Let it go and move ahead. Don't dwell on the negativity. It doesn't do any good to beat yourself up. If anything, you should be excited your ministry is using your social sites to engage with spiritual seekers. It means they are beginning to trust you and appreciate your presence online.


What to learn more about how you can use social media for your ministry?

Contact Prof. Sikora sikorak@staruniversity.org or message us at:




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