Avoid Shitstorm: Your Strategy Against Nasty Social Media Comments

Fame Infinity
6 min readMar 16, 2023

A supposedly innocent critique on social media channels can very quickly develop into an uncontrolled accumulation of negative comments. This so-called shitstorm not only creates bad press but in the worst case can also affect the perception of the whole brand. The following article explains the definition of a fecal storm, known examples, and important warning signs. Also, five critical responses from Shitstorm Marketing are listed, as well as measures to prevent the worst development.

Shitstorm definition — what is a shitstorm?

The term shitstorm or the shitstorm meaning is defined in the Duden with “storm of indignation in a communication medium of the Internet”. Communication media include, for example, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and also messenger messages or emails. By definition, individuals, celebrities, companies, associations, or authorities can be affected by a shit storm. The defining feature is the many dislikes, including many hateful comments or negative comments on social media posts. Often a shit storm finds its source through social media and then spreads to other communication channels. Extremely violent storms are even reported in the offline media and thus in newspapers and television.

Difference Between Criticism and Shitstorm — The Shitstorm Meaning

It is often difficult to tell the difference between widespread criticism and shitstorm money. Because every annoyance published online is not a shit storm, even with a huge number of users. It may also be a reasonable criticism, but it is still difficult to quantify the amount of time during a fecal storm. To be able to distinguish between Criticism and Shitstorm, another feature is required that has been incorporated into Duden’s official account. Because there are “insulting statements” in a storm that do not allow for a real discussion. Also, the following criteria are met:

● There is no real argument

● According to Shitstorm, contributions and comments are always on a personal level

● Common abuses, punishable insults, and death threats may be included

Because of these developments, a shit storm often ends with a legal dispute. Due to the narrow line between criticism and criminal discussion, this can take years.

Examples of a shit storm — practical examples

Even big companies can’t always avoid sudden shit storms. The following examples illustrate which responses improved the discussion and how corporations dealt with their shitstorms:


In 2010, the environmental protection organization caused a major shit storm that affected the food company, Nestle. In a social media campaign specifically for this shitstorm, the company has criticized the amount of palm oil in KitKat products. Complaint: The company needs large quantities of palm oil for its production and for this, the orangutan habitat is being destroyed. As part of this campaign, Greenpeace has released several YouTube videos and launched a live sheet. This is because many customers have not only responded to the hateful comments but also created fan pages to exchange more ideas on the subject.

Nestle, On the other hand, has tried to ban videos and aggressively shut down fan sites to avoid discussion. But the response has sparked further discussion. In the end, the team had to agree with the palm oil suppliers and take part. Also, the company has come up with an action plan to better protect the primary forest in the future.

Warning signs of an imminent shit storm

There are many warning signs that can trigger a shit storm. Even if these signals do not necessarily have such a negative effect, it is advisable to observe the following events closely:

● An above-average number of comments under a post, for example on Facebook

● Many negative-emotional or exaggerated critical comments without concrete real content

● A sudden increase in discussion about your own brand

● Influencer mentions in news, blogs, forums, social media

To be able to recognize these warning signals for an impending shit storm, the products or brands, competitors and key terms of the industry should be checked regularly on the Internet.

Shitstorm Marketing — The 5 most important reactions

Anyone who ignores warning signals or doesn’t respond on time can throw shit at their own company. In such a moment, a plan is needed to get out of this situation as soon as possible with the appropriate response of each founder. The following steps by ShitStorm Marketing help in this situation:


The worst reaction to a shit storm is to keep everything calm. It is best to acknowledge the problem and resolve it as soon as possible. It is important to provide feedback or information to the people concerned to show that the problem of a potential sewage storm is being seriously considered.


Many companies are afraid of this sentence, but it helps in many cases: “We are sorry that this happened. We will do our best to prevent this from happening again. “Thus the company shows that it can admit mistakes and does not offer a new goal through negotiation.


It is not enough to react once and then react again. It is better to keep customers up to date regularly. If you do not have any new information, you can reply with “We’ll let you know as soon as we know.” Also, however, it is worthwhile to publish individual steps or new details.


If you simply delete the criticism, you can make Shitstorm worse. Because you seem to have something to hide. If something is deleted, for example, because it contains sensitive company data or serious insults, an explanation is needed. The decision may be fair and will not make the shit storm worse.


If you use a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, or Typo3, you can create a subpage that does not appear in the navigation bar and thus cannot be recorded by Google. This subpage is a good way to publicly and objectively summarize the problem of a possible shit storm.


If the storm of excrement has already begun and cannot be stopped, then criticism can also turn into praise. American biscuit maker Honey Maid shows how it works. As its commercial show, tattoo hipster and parent of a gay couple, the food maker has found pages of hateful comments online. In response, Honey Maid made a second video. It shows two artists who printed the whole shitstorm, rolled it up, and made something great out of it. This space has generated positive feedback and increased sales.

3 measures to avoid a shit storm

A shitstorm does not come suddenly, it develops from one or more reviews. But, it can happen very quickly, from the first message to the shit storm it sometimes only takes a few hours. Thus, it is important to take the following measures to avoid a shit storm:


It is understandable to regularly check references in the social media area and check them with the help of social listening. The first warning signal may be recognized and, ideally, maybe made clear in the conversation via direct message.


Everyone who works in a company with social networks should also know the important aspects of the company. Because in this way possible excrement can be planned before the storm. In preparation for this, it is understandable that, for example, account access is not distributed randomly, but is logged correctly.


Even if it’s not often a shitstorm, there can be negative comments about a company at any time. For example, when evaluating a product or after an event. These negative comments must be heeded and answered. Because it gives the overall idea that the company is capable of critique, which can reduce the chances of a potential shitstorm.



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