In the past few days a lot of strong opinions have been stated regarding platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Marketing Materials.  Whether right or wrong, they are opinions and care needs to be taken when agreeing/disagreeing or reacting to such opinions. Remember your personal brand or company brand could be at stake. You need to be careful when joining strong opinions.

This past week  I was in a room with other high-level business levels and one executive spoke up declaring that social media was for restaurants and entertainment venues. Social Media doesn’t work for other types of business. Now, those of you who use social media on a regular basis and know how effective it can be, I have five phrases for you.

1. Stop…….2. Think about it………….. 3. Take note of the comment………………….4. Don’t Say anything………………………….5. Remember that comment

Let’s take a look at this example:

Stop – Really listen to the person who is speaking and see where that person is coming from. In this case, the person making the comment owns a successful small business journal with lots of advertising

Think about it – This person is trying to show the value in her own work, She really doesn’t know how social media works, She doesn’t know her audience very well

Don’t say anything – It is very easy to start a conversation or disagree with someone. See how others react.  Another person from a bank responds, “That is really interesting, I am going to talk to our marketing department about that comment. — Does this bank person get it.

Remember the comment – This comment will be great to use in future blog posts or other discussions. Also, I am able to understand how others view social media and if need be, I can use different forms of marketing and lead generation at these particular companies.

You see these type of discussions a lot on different social media platforms and sometimes the discussions can turn vicious. The best way to learn from these discussions is to follow the conversation and follow these steps. Don’t get trapped or swallowed up by posting a comment that 99 times out of 100 is taken out of context. Learn from the discussion and take some learning away from the conversation.

All of us are proud of the work we do, and when we get threatened or see some of our friends being ridiculed, our first reaction is to react and sometimes in that reaction we may say something we will regret in the future. This leads us to humbleness. Follow the conversation and know the facts, understand the people making the comments.  This information is so valuable and will help guard you from having one of your comments being taken out of context. (Side note – A number of people who overreact are performing this type of action over and over) You need to know who these people are and to be careful. Negative publicity can be damaging to you and your company.

I am passionate about this topic of “reacting to people’s opinions”. Listening is the key, knowing the speaker and players involved in the conversation is critical. My advice, if you feel that your comment is a reactive one, back away from your keyboard and remember to be humble and learn from the discussion taking place.  The process of  stopping first and reacting second is a lot harder than being reactive right away.  However,  by performing the steps listed above,  your  personal brand and company brand will be much more respected in future blog posts and discussions and you gain a lot of valuable information regarding the people in the discussion.

Picture | BetsyWeber