How to Stop Instagram Trolls from Ruining Your Brand’s Reputation
Everyone who is on Instagram has dealt with trolls. A troll is someone who deliberately tries to provoke others online. These attention-seeking, petty trolls thrive on attention and their sole intention is to prompt an emotional response. Read on to find out the best ways to deal with Instagram trolls, and hopefully get them to leave your account alone!
How to stop Instagram trolls: Listen
The easiest thing to do after receiving a negative comment on your Instagram profile is to delete it. Is that really the right solution? Deleting the unwelcome comment, without taking into account other options, could be a mistake. Sometimes, our initial gut reaction is to call someone a troll when they are actually just an unhappy customer:
Identify the trolls: There is a fine line between a troll and an angry customer. You must not confuse an upset critic that might actually help your improve with a childish troll that only seeks online attention. Carefully read the comment to see if there is an underlying issue with your product or service.
Use tools: People form opinions in an instant. If there is someone out there bad-mouthing you and your brand, you need to be aware of it. Tools like Google Alerts and Mention will allow you to be up to date with conversations in case anyone is talking about you, but without directly @mentioning you.
Even though it isn’t easy to track every mention made about you on Instagram, the right tools can help you find negative comments. By knowing what the general audience thinks of you and your brand, you will know whether those negative comments come from irrelevant trolls, or from unsatisfied consumers. In other words, if many people have the same opinion as this one troll, then perhaps there is a larger issue to look at than one person complaining with an angry tone.
How to stop Instagram trolls: Be rational
Everyone wants to have a voice on Instagram, and it is often hard to appease each and every one of your followers and give them equal attention. It's hard, but you should treat all your followers with equal respect, even if this means accepting some criticism here and there:
Be polite: A troll’s mission is complete when they have prompted a negative reaction from you. A raging response might not be the best solution because other customers might read the comment and form a negative opinion about. Always remember not to go to their level and respond in their way. Instead, use kind words that might address the issue they have with your brand.
Show empathy: When communicating with your customers, make sure that you don’t use the same copy-and-paste corporate responses. Instead, you need to be willing to address situations individually, show empathy, interact in a friendly tone, and engage in a personal way. See how a successful brand like Starbucks, with over 16.5 million Instagram followers, interacts with people. They likely have an entire team of social media professionals taking care of their Instagram activity, but this just shows you how important customer engagement is.
Welcome criticism: Criticism is nothing but feedback from your followers regarding your Instagram account. You shouldn’t neglect it or avoid accepting it. What you should do is analyze constructive criticism and think of a way you can use that criticism to improve your Instagram profile.
Make it private: Anytime someone is openly criticizing you on Instagram, the standard procedure is to make your conversation private as soon as possible. Invite the angry troll to contact you via DM to prevent them from causing public issues.
Of course, this only goes for those users that actually leave an honest opinion regarding your brand somewhere in their anger. The comments that trolls leave on your Instagram profile for no particular reason should not be taken so seriously. Their intention isn’t to leave a positive criticism, rather to just draw online attention.
How to stop Instagram trolls: Social proof
One negative comment on your Instagram profile does not have the power to change the trajectory of your Instagram account. Receiving consistent criticism can, however. Here is how to make sure that doesn’t happen:
Social proof: Social proof is the general opinion that people form about a certain matter. If your posts receive tons of likes and positive comments, neutral viewers are more likely to form a positive opinion about your brand. However, if people see that the majority of comments and reviews are negative, they’ll probably think that there is something wrong with the content. You can directly impact this by buying Instagram likes when things get bad. Look at how the Vagabrothers work to have a positive community below. They have asked their followers if they like the mountains or the ocean, and it has easily started a positive discussion.
Building loyalty: If you have a loyal customer base that is always engaged with your posts, they will probably scare off any potential trolls coming your way. There is no greater social proof than allowing your fans to take the matter into their own hands and defend you on Instagram. This is why it is important to foster community development.
If the majority of engagements people have with your content are positive, then you don’t really have to worry too much about a few negative comments from irrelevant Instagram trolls. It's when things really start piling up, and it swings to being negative, that you have poor social proof and you must take action.
How to stop Instagram trolls: Don’t provide a platform
No one says that you need to approve offensive comments on your Instagram profile. If you notice that things are getting out of hand and that Instagram trolls are relentlessly attacking your content, there are precautions you could take:
Block comments: If you notice a user that is posting negative comments on all of your posts in hope to spur up a pointless debate, it’s time to block that user and delete those comments. Notice how this option is listed way down here. While it may feel satisfying to block someone, they can just create another account. That is why you should look at the options above before directly jumping to blocking someone.
Disable comments: If you fear that your posts are attracting a large number of trolls, such as after a public screw up, it is best to disable comments for a while. This will give you a chance to recover your reputation rather than having it snowball indefinitely.
The drawback here is that when you disable comments you will have disabled them for all of your followers. This means that those followers that wanted to leave a positive comment on your posts won’t be able to. That is why you should consider disabling comments as the last resort and use it as a temporary solution.
How to stop Instagram trolls: Make a plan
If you act without thinking, you might just be throwing gasoline on an already raging fire. Instagram trolls should be handled strategically, with a meticulously thought-out plan. Once you have analyzed your situation, you should make a plan. Consider the following:
Be open to criticism
Separate actual complaints from trolls
Interact in a positive way
Ignore senseless comments
Create positive social proof
Allow your followers to tackle the trolls
Block and disable comments
Everyone is going to have negative comments on their Instagram. Seriously, if even Rihanna can get called a “stupid hoe” for a picture as mild as this, you can get called anything under the sun:
That comment came from someone who wanted to start a fight with Rihanna’s fans. If it gets bad enough, the Rihanna Navy will step in and check that fool. Cherish and engage with the positive followers – they will help you create positive social proof.
Only when things get really out of control should you consider blocking users or disabling the comments for a while. The best case scenario is to have a strong Instagram community that can step in and keep things positive for you.