How to Troll-Proof your YouTube Channel

Dealing with negative comments on social media requires a mindset shift! Here are the 3 types of negative comments on YouTube and how to handle them (this applies to all social media as well!).

Listen to Episode 26: How to Troll-Proof your YouTube Channel

Listen to more episodes of the Video Pursuit Podcast in your Apple Podcasts app or search "Video Pursuit Podcast" in your favorite podcast player. 

Dealing with Negative Comments on YouTube

A few months ago, inside of the Video Pursuit Membership group (my paid monthly membership program), a member posted that she was frustrated with some comments she was getting on her YouTube Channel... here are some of the things she wrote...

"Yesterday some guy on YouTube told me I was going to embarrass myself talking about things I don't know anything about" and she got a comment that said "I don't know why you'd make a video and cover your voice with music! These are awful!"

And she wrote, "maybe I ought to just not do this stuff. Seriously considering backing off on some of my work."

This post broke my heart.

Ultimately, we have no control over what people write in our YouTube comment section, or our Instagram comments, or Facebook comments, emails, direct messages... and so forth.

And when your mission is to create content that reaches people... your goal is to reach as many people as you can. Right? You build an audience, you grow, and the more people you are in front of, the higher your chances are of getting feedback that you weren't necessarily seeking.

I have a LOT to say about this topic, because, like most YouTube creators and bloggers, I have received my fair share of negative comments. What I have noticed, is that some comments are more damaging than others. And so I started to look at what was it about THIS comment that made it more difficult to just let it go. Although we can't stop people from being trolls on social media, there are a few things that we–as creators–can do to insulate ourselves from the effects of negative, cruel, offensive, and hurtful comments.

Related: Juicy YouTube Strategy Tips for 2019

What Does It REALLY Mean When Someone Criticizes You?

I feel like I should mention... you could simply ignore all comments or turn them off. So, that is an option but if you're growing your YouTube channel to grow a community... you want conversations and connection to happen in the comments.

So here are some of the ways that I arm myself against trolls on YouTube.
Years ago I first heard something that sounded crazy at the time, but now I know it to be true: what people criticize or judge about you is actually a reflection of themselves, not you.

Related: 10 Things I wish Bloggers Know about YouTube

The first time I heard that my mind was blown, but I will never forget it! In any situation, social media comments or in person... I often remind myself that what they think or believe about ME, is actually a reflection of their own inadequacies or just negative beliefs they have about themselves, it's not a reflection of ME.

Three Types of Negatives Comments

With the above statement as your own mindset, you can kinda look at your comment section a little more rationally. I find that there are 3 types of negative comments.

1. The Opinion

When I see a negative comment I ask myself, "is this true?"

So, when someone says "this is the worst tutorial I've ever seen." I can easily, and quickly, think, "well that's just your opinion. just because you think that doesn't mean it's true, and other people commented that it was helpful, so, therefore... it's not true" and rolls of my back.

I would say probably 99% of negative comments are simply people's opinions. And they're generally harmless... people are entitled to their opinions, and I can accept that... ya know, thanks for leaving a comment, I appreciate the engagement and so does YouTube's algorithm.

2. The Half-Truth

The second type of negative comment is the one that has some truth to it.
Like when someone says the volume of my music is too high, I can listen to the video and decide, yeah, maybe my music is too high and I should lower the volume next time I create a video. Ya know? Maybe they're right? I remember someone telling me that I was too "washed out" in my videos and I needed to lower the ISO on my camera. Ok fine, ya know what? Yeah I could see how I could lower the ISO a notch.

With critical comments, don't immediately write it off as a troll... even if the commenter is rude or condescending. There might be some truth to what they're saying that you can use to improve your videos. You can choose to be mature about it and thank them for the feedback.

3. The Trigger

But the third type of comment is the kind that seriously triggers you... like you know when you can hear your heart beating in your ears and your skin is feels like its burning on the inside, and you might even feel a little nauseous?

Just saying that makes me want to say "come on, it's a YouTube comment, how could it affect you that way" but I know that the truth is, sometimes, you get a comment that you didn't see coming and it throws you for a loop.

Like... "you talk too much" or "you have no business being on youtube." Those are two that will do it for me. It's likely something else for you.

When you read these comments, part of your brain is like "psssht well THAT's not true" but there is also a voice saying... "but... what if it is true?"

I think when we see a comment that really upsets us, it's because we have an inner troll that essentially agrees with the criticism. Like the negative comment validates something that we have some fear around or insecurities around.

When someone says "you have no business being on YouTube" my inner troll is like, "yah I knew it, I knew this was a dumb idea, you should just quit."

Why does my inner troll believe this?! I think it's because I'm very introverted, and talking to a camera and putting myself out there on YouTube (of all places), is not a no-brainer for me, it took (and still takes) effort to hit record and open myself up for criticism in the first place.

So when you come across a comment that upsets you, in any way, makes you angry or sad or makes you want to give up and quit... ask yourself what about this comment is TRUE, and what is my inner troll latching on to that's causing me to feel this way. Seek that inner troll out and shine a light on that, give it a voice then let it go.

And congratulate yourself because if you're out there doing things that people are critical of, and it's affecting you... it means that you are operating outside of your comfort zone which is a GOOD thing.

How to Respond to Negative Comments

Simply respond, "Thank you for the feedback." or ignore it completely. There isn't an empathetic human being on the other end of YouTube waiting for you to reply so you can have a mature conversation. Don't waste your energy–your life–validating someone else's negative opinion of you.

Don't forget that even negative comments are engagement. YouTube loves to see engagement on your videos, so feel free to leave negative comments up on your videos. If the comment is actually offensive, use your own judgment whether or not to remove the comment.

To listen in on the entire conversation with Guest, please listen to episode 26 of the Video Pursuit Podcast in iTunes, or your favorite podcast player.

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