Deborah Lee
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How Do You Embrace Online Rejection?


Many wise men and women have commented over the centuries on how negative experience can ultimately shape who we become.

I often think a rejection is the universe telling me “friend, you got it wrong this time; do you know why?” via something or someone closer to home.

Now that we are all very much in the digital spotlight it would be foolish to suppose that everyone is going to heap praise on everything we do, that there will never be a word of consternation uttered and that the whole process will be nothing other than a blissful journey to fame and fortune.

Life, my friends, is never like that. Because there is always a lesson to learn, no matter how long you’ve been plying your trade, on your social networks or otherwise.

Rejection can be one of the best things to happen to your business

When someone calls you out, unfollows you or makes a negative comment on your blog you have a superb social media management opportunity to ensure that you demonstrate to the world your commitment in the pursuit of business excellence.

“Have you lost your mind??” I hear you cry …

Absolutely not. Here are a few points that I’d like you to mull over:

Have you truly listened to everything that is being said about you and to you? You have? Have you written blog posts to showcase various examples? Mark that down on your ‘to do’ list if you haven’t, but don’t name names! Being seen to publicly acknowledge your shortcomings along with a readiness to take action where necessary is crucial in the digital age. Show your audience that you’re not just full of hot air.

Being unreasonably attacked says more about the other party than you. There is one proviso on this one, and it assumes that you have your own house in order. If you have done absolutely nothing to provoke outright hostility from another quarter then take the appropriate action (i.e. block them) and move on. And remember this: feathers usually don’t get ruffled unless you’re making progress.

You can’t please everyone all the time, and nor should you expect to. There will always be those who decide for their own reasons to walk away. When they do, ask yourself was there anything you did to contribute to it? Anything at all? An ongoing engaged, open-minded two-way communication will often help to iron out little gripes before they turn into a full-blown rebuff.

Rejection sets you free. Maybe, just maybe, that connection or prospect you were chasing was never going to blossom into a meaningful business relationship … In which case, go and sow your social marketing oats elsewhere. Once you’ve learned any applicable lesson that may be hanging around in the aftermath, that is.

Act swiftly, act positively. If you have legitimate questions to answer, be they service or product-related, don’t try and brush them under the fear of rejection carpet. Tackle them head on and do it (for the most part) in the public arena; that is to say you should thank people for taking the time to bring the matter to your attention before you outline how you will deal with it. Don’t deliberate on this one; speed is of the essence.

Lose the emotion. It’s so very easy to take criticism or rejection personally, particularly if it’s your business or personal project that is under scrutiny. No matter how strong the urge is to lash out publicly, don’t. Count to ten, and then don’t. Count to ten again, and then don’t. Repeat this process continuously until you’ve accepted that despite every fibre of your being wanting to let rip, you don’t.

A rejection is a golden opportunity to do better next time. Try harder. Be more responsive. Listen more intently. Step it up.

Your social media activities are an ongoing representation of your values, your approach and your methods

Make sure you use social media to develop a reputation for being responsive, attentive and positive. Always.

top photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc

Leave a Comment:

Simon de Cintra says

Excellent advice in all walks of life ! In my corporate days as a Sales Leader at American Express, I encouraged my team to collect ‘no’s’ and move the search on to more meaningful opportunities. My ‘nine years ago’ was when I left the corporate world and went to drama school to train as a professional actor and you absolutely need to be able to except rejection in that world !

Well done and thanks !

    debsylee says

    Thank you so much, Simon!

    I couldn’t agree more – being able to accept and even expect rejection is so critical.

    I appreciate you taking time out to comment 🙂

Andrew Plath says

Ironically I caught this post at a time when my blog site had scored some all time hits. My site is a photo-blog, and many of the images are taken from the Wausau/Central Wisconsin area. A friend of mine suggested that I would post one of the images on a Facebook page by a group of people who claim Wausau, WI as their home town. Instead of doing that, I posted the link. The next thing I found out that I had over 313 hits on the home page with 18 of those from my most recent blog. Now the tough part is to try and change those successes into badly needed $$$.

Andrew Weaver says

Thanks for the blog deborah. Rejection and criticism is tough in any arena but often par for the course if you’re growing a business and/or committed to doing the right thing. Human nature that the negative can eat away at you far more than the overwhelmingly positive world around you. Keep your message positive, engage with people who provide the same and never worry about the unfollowers …

BTW: as a Lincoln boy, great to see rural Lincolnshire at the forefront of UK social media commentary!!

Nessie Richards says

Sound advice not just in social media – a very good read – thank you

Phil Netherwood says

It’s as true with social media as it is with other things that always wanting the perfect result without risk of something going wrong holds us back from gaining the full benefits. I know all too well from my own line of work that things can happen we didn’t want or expect but that they can be turned into a positive by dealing with them & moving on.

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