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What Do You Mean “I Suck”?

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Taking criticism is hard. Don’t try to tell me isn’t, because it is.

Trying not to take criticism as a personal affront is one of the greatest and hardest things to learn in life. I am still trying to get it down myself.

I read a Forbes article that made me start thinking about this. In this article the author, Deanna Zandt, refers to a Disapproval Matrix designed by Ann Friedman.

It is a simple illustration, but rings true when it comes to Social Media criticism. This works for both brands and individuals trying to promote themselves on Social Media.


Lovers want to see you improve, but sometimes they will sugarcoat what they say. There will be a time that you need this kind of motivation, but in the end you still are not getting all of the information that will help you succeed.

Critics don’t know you, and therefore do not care whether they hurt your feelings or not. If you put something out that sucks, whether that be as a brand or as a person, they will rip you a new one. The key here is that they will only do that if you deserve it. Side note: critics don’t have a sense of humor a lot of times. It just depends on who is grading you.

Like the Matrix says, your biggest Frenemy can be yourself. This affects personal branding more than branding as a company. Do not get discouraged if you do not get any hits on your blog, or any more follows on Twitter when you post great content. Writing is meant to help you learn and become better in the future. Heck, I bet only 3 people will read this blog I am writing now. That is okay, because I know with the work I put in now people will follow me later.

Haters. What CAN’T I say about Haters. There are A LOT of them, and each person, brand, organization, or system has their own set of Haters. You can’t ignore them, but you certainly do not have to give in to them. Fight back politely, and when they get out of control you block them as far as you can. Everyone has opinions, even if they are dumb ones.

As far as branding for a company goes, each section of consumer must be treated in a different way. A lot of companies will try to say that “Everyone Should be Treated the Same”. This is a remnant from their EO training. Companies get ostracized for not playing fair with everyone, but Social Media is a little different. What they have to understand is that with the advent of Social Media, your brand is now a PERSON. Do you talk to every person you know in the same monotone voice? Of course not!

At least I hope not.

Consumers love the idea that brands can have an identity. In this way, you must have a single personality for your brand. You have to have a common voice if you will. This can be challenging when multiple people are posting content for a single entity, but that is something you have to train your team on before you undertake the mission of a Social Media Campaign.

Having a brand identity gives you the ability to respond in different ways, as a person would. That doesn’t mean you can be rude, but it does give you leeway.

You treat Lovers like friends, because this will make them feel good and share more of your content. Do not be hesitant to ASK for constructive feedback. They want to help you improve, but may not feel comfortable enough blasting you with bad remarks without you asking. Take this feedback, thank them for it, and implement it. They will love your brand even more if you use what they say in your next improvement session, and will become even more loyal to you.

Treat critics with respect, but not always as friends. They want to be treated as experts and teachers, and should receive a higher level of solemnity from the person or brand. Take their advice and store it, use it when you need it. Do not take it lightly, but do not try to implement every idea immediately. Pace your brand out, not every strategy they propose will work for your individual needs.

Frenemies should be treated like that weird cousin at the family reunion, friendly but distant. Just like you would treat someone you have not talked to in an extremely long time. You make small talk for a little while, but in the end you both know the conversation is useless. The key is to be polite. Frenemies turn into Haters really fast.

Like I stated above, Haters have to be treated in a cool manner. They will do nothing but try to bog you down and hurt you for no apparent reason. Every small mistake is a colossal failure in their eyes. If you aren’t careful, other consumers will start seeing it that way too. The key is to combat Haters with fact. Be transparent.

The Hater is already lost, but you can save the rest of your fanbase by showing them that this person’s accusations are false and misguided. Pacifying Haters hardly ever works. They are not simply people who have had a bad experience and are chatting it up with their friends. That is fixable. Haters just want to see you destroyed, and will probably always feel that way no matter what you do.

The truth is, you just have to have feel the motion of the people. Explore the tide, find its ebb and flow. Consumers want honesty and good taste. Give them good and meaningful content that is relevant to them, and they fill follow you.

It is a game of chance, but your odds are good.

Just don’t do anything dumb alright?

Thanks again to Ann Friedman an Deanna Zandt for making awesome content for me to write about. I hope I can be as cool as y’all someday.



  1. Thanks for the share.

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