[[Updated December 8, 2018]]
With over 500 million eager people logging in every single day, Instagram attracts users, marketers, and brands from every corner of the internet. But as the platform’s popularity continues to grow so does the number of not so humble trolls on Instagram.
Troll posts can detract from your brand’s message and make your followers feel uncomfortable. They lurk in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to spark controversy and throw insults out just because.
How do you prevent trolls from running wild, taking over your Instagram account and insulting your audience? You’ve got a number of options.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, is eager to make the platform safer for its users. Over the last year, he oversaw a number of changes that make it easier to filter out mean-spirited, inflammatory comments from your content.
You can’t always stop the trolls from doing their thing but you can take away the one thing they crave: attention.
Instagram now allows users to hide inappropriate comments. This feature uses Instagram’s Spam, Scam or Abusive Content flagging system and machine learning to hide comments that use language others have frequently reported as offensive.
To activate this feature, head over to Settings and then scroll down to Comments. Check the box on the left-hand side and watch the troll comments disappear.
If you want to go even further, Instagram offers a second option.
You can create your own list of custom keywords commonly used by trolls in your field. This can help separate genuine customer complaints from the trolls.
Not all the trolls on Instagram are created equal. If you set up moderation rules with Agorapulse’s Inbox Assistant, you can track different strains of trolls on your business profiles by focusing on specific keywords.
You can use Agorapulse to craft custom moderation rules that make managing Instagram accounts easier.
Once you’ve picked the keywords to watch out for you’ve got a few different options. Create rules that let you review, assign, bookmark, label or straight out delete comments based on specific keywords and phrases.
This gives you the freedom to spend your time creating engaging content and talking to your followers instead of babysitting trolls.
As an Instagram account holder, you can block users from commenting on your content and suspend comments on specific posts altogether. With great power comes a big question: If you are getting hounded by trolls, should you turn off the comments or does that play right into their hand?
There’s no one size fits all answer to this question.
Comments are an essential part of what makes social media social. They are the obvious ingredient to success. Replying to comments from your community is a fantastic way to increase engagement and grow your audience. But is there a time when suspending them can be a smart move?
If the Instagram account you are managing is under constant attack and the other methods aren’t doing enough, turning off the comments on a specific post for a set period of time can help you wait out the attack.
This presents an opportunity to be upfront and honest with your followers. Let them know why you are turning the comments off and encourage other means of communication.
Turning the comments on and off is pretty simple.
You can disable comments for a new post when you are first uploading it by selecting the Advanced Settings option tucked away at the bottom of the menu and then turn comments off.
You can also turn comments on and off on an existing photo. Just click on the photo, tap the three dots in the right-hand corner and click on Turn Off Commenting.
This is a pretty extreme preventative solution but it’s a handy thing to have in your arsenal in case you ever need to deploy it.
Managing a public Instagram account? In September, Instagram released a new comment managing feature for public accounts that give you a bit more control.
Public account holders can decide who gets to comment. For example, they can make commenting available just to followers or to followers and friends, giving managers a bit more power.
While it’s impossible to avoid troll attacks on Instagram altogether, being upfront about what’s acceptable on your page (and what isn’t) can help you handle trolls better.
Instagram has community guidelines that outline the type of behavior it tolerates. Creating a wider code of conduct for your brand’s social media interactions and community can set down clear expectations. Then, if you block specific trolls you can let them know exactly why that’s happening.
Let your community know what kind of behavior and language is accepted on your Instagram page and what isn’t. Be transparent and stick to the rules you create. If someone breaks the code, take action.
There’s a difference between a negative review, comment or feedback that’s actually based on a real customer experience and a disgruntled troll and it’s important to distinguish between the two. However, when the troll’s been identified don’t take the bait, take action.
Troll accounts deserve the same treatment as spam accounts — block them. Not only do they add zero value to the conversation, they can make the rest of your audience uncomfortable.
Trolls aren’t hanging out on your brand page to have an actual conversation or give your constructive feedback. They are there to hijack the conversation then feed off the emotional outpour that follows. Don’t let them.