As with every popular social media platform, Instagram users are exposed to trolling comments and it can be overwhelming dealing with them sometimes. Don’t worry, we are here to help. Here is everything you need to know about Instagram trolls and how to keep your brand safe. Who are Instagram Trolls First things first, how do we define Instagram trolls? Well, in most cases, those are people who want to provoke you. They tend to post angry, offensive, or negative comments on your Instagram page and expect a reaction from you and maybe even drag you into a negative conversation. (Please note, in some cases, Instagram trolls can also simply be spambots others use for the above gain.) Instagram trolls, and overall online trolls, tend to rant for all sorts of reasons but they can also attack others hiding behind their anonymous profiles. But please note, Instagram trolls are not your angry or unhappy customers. Those people may have a valid reason for expressing their thoughts and require a different strategy on how to handle them. When it comes to Instagram trolls, however, you don’t need to know them or have a history to end up being trolled. And that is a concern for brands that want to maintain a healthy community on Instagram. How Spamming Works on Instagram You know, it’s important to recognize Instagram trolls and be able to tell them apart from angry customers, to react accordingly. Instagram trolls tend to post angry comments on public profiles. Their goal is to disrupt your feed, spread spam, and cause some sort of reaction. Chances are, they are not interested in your brand or products. They may not even post something relevant to what you do or sell. However, their posts may be angry, offensive, or hateful, much like other forms of online bullying. The first step to recognizing whether your latest comment comes from a troll is by looking at their Instagram profile. There are a few things that can tell you whether the account is used for trolling purposes. First, it probably doesn’t have a profile picture. Or even if it does, the image does not reflect their identity. The person behind it may be using multiple profiles and spam accounts, which means that it reduces the chances of having the comment coming from an actual customer. Instagram trolls are having fun by posting angry comments on various accounts. In other words, they are waiting for you to start a conversation with them. So what should a brand do in that case? 5 Tips to Help Brands Deal with Trolls Most brands have come across messages from Instagram trolls in their comment thread at some point. Let’s look at some ideas to help you deal with it when it happens to you. #1. Don’t Engage in Conversations with Them The most important piece of advice on how to deal with Instagram trolls; don’t start a conversation with them. And that’s no matter what they say. Remember, trolls want to provoke you. They know they are upsetting you so they are expecting some sort of reply to keep the conversation going. It may be tempting to do so but think carefully. Would it help your brand to engage with Instagram trolls? Would there be a winner in this ‘battle’ in the end? Chances are, you would get upset and waste your time. Plus, everyone else would see you engaging in those meaningful conversations as well. Don’t worry, there are different ways to deal with Instagram trolls. #2. Protect your Users Your ultimate goal is to keep your users safe. You don’t want your customers to feel threatened when they join a conversation in your brand’s posts. Start by monitoring your posts on a frequent basis. If a troll is provoking your customers, it’s time to act. If a genuine conversation is disrupted by Instagram trolls, then you may need to interfere to keep the comments focused on your brand. Don’t ignore your customers while only focusing on Instagram trolls. #3. Mute, Block or Restrict if Needed Many trolls are harmless. But things can also escalate. That’s when you need to establish a policy that will help you determine when to act accordingly. For example, if Instagram trolls post hateful and abusive comments, you need to mute them or block them to protect your community. You can block a specific comment or delete comments but you can also mute a person that might be disrupting your posts. You can also report the comments on Instagram so that they look at them and possibly proceed to further action. #4. Look at Your Privacy Settings If you are concerned about the increasing number of comments from Instagram trolls, it’s time to review your privacy settings. Here’s what you need to do. Go to your profile Click on the three lines at the top right of your screen Click on Settings Go to Privacy Select Comments You are able to control who you allow comments from but also who you want to block. For example, you can only allow comments from your followers. You can also hide offensive comments if needed. Keep in mind, not all your customers are necessarily following you so you may need to find a balance between keeping open communication with your customers and staying away from Instagram trolls. #5. Filter Words If you’re concerned about the number of Instagram trolls you’re coming across on your comments, you can explore an additional privacy setting. Go to your profile Click on the three lines at the top right of your screen Click on Settings Go to Privacy Select Comments This time, look at the option of ‘Manual Filter’ to add words or phrases that you want to monitor. If a comment contains any of these words, it will be hidden. You can even filter the most repeated words if you’ve come across specific comments in the past. These features can be handy if you want to protect your brand on future occasions. Let’s look at more ideas to do this. Protecting your Brand from Future Trolls It’s not enough to protect your brand from one-off incidents with Instagram trolls. You want to work on a strategy that will keep your brand safe for longer periods, if possible. Except for the filtering of specific words that we’ve mentioned, here are some additional ideas to consider. #1. Prepare Default Replies if you Need to Interfere There could still be a case that an Instagram troll shows up in your comments. If things escalate, you may have to reply to the comment. Don’t wait for that moment to decide how you want to handle it. Prepare a list of default replies that you can use for such situations and reduce the last-minute stress. Think of it as a crisis communications plan for Instagram trolls. #2. Set Policies Around Blocking The more prepared you are, the easier it becomes to handle Instagram trolls. Many brands are setting up rules and policies on how to handle angry customers, trolls, hateful comments, or irrelevant rants. A policy allows you to define your actions in every scenario to help everyone in your team feel more prepared. For example, if an Instagram troll keeps provoking you, then you can decide when you want to mute them and when you want to finally block them. You may want to mute someone after a couple of irrelevant posts that are hurting your brand but you may ultimately wait a bit longer to block them. It’s totally up to you to decide how you want to handle each situation and how strict you want to be. #3. Assign a Moderator to your Team The best way to prevent a crisis is to monitor your Instagram posts on a regular basis. Assign a moderator in your social media team to keep an eye on your feed. If it’s just yourself managing your brand’s Instagram account, make sure you dedicate some time each day to monitor your posts’ comments. You don’t want to miss out on Instagram trolls hurting your brand simply because you didn’t notice it, right? Conclusion Instagram trolls and fake accounts are still around. Chances are, your brand has already encountered them at some point. But there’s no need to panic. You’re not alone. You just need to be prepared to know how to deal with them. The ultimate goal is to protect your brand and your followers. Start by monitoring your comments and your feed and look at your settings to be stricter if needed. Filter keywords that may be relevant to the Instagram trolls you’re coming across. Prepare your policies around muting and blocking and focus on building a supportive community that fosters genuine engagement. Good luck!