Once you reach a critical mass of followers, inevitably you’ll have some trolls wander over to your posts and leave insensitive or inflammatory comments. It’s an unfortunate risk you have to take while building your social following. But with these tips, you’ll be a pro troll-tamer in no time.
First, take a deep breath.
Don’t respond while you’re hot-- take a few minutes to cool off. Do whatever you gotta do to ensure that you aren’t responding defensively.
Don’t delete their comments.
It may be tempting to silence the trolls by deleting their comments, but this can exacerbate their behavior. They’ll come back for more, and then criticize you for censoring them. Exceptions to this rule may be made if the troll starts to get vulgar or threatening-- in this case, you may want to delete comments and report the troll.
Respond with humor.
If you have a quippy response, roll with it! It can be fun to troll them back, just don’t be hateful (we don’t want to stoop to their level). My method of choice is to respond with something nonsensical to just confuse them. It’s hysterical.
Respond with reason.
If the troll is spewing lies, simply correct them. No need to make any further digs at them, just clear up what is fact and what is fiction. This is important if they are claiming something that could be harmful to your brand.
Don’t feed the trolls.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to just ignore them. Often they’re trying to elicit an emotional response from you. They want to ruffle your feathers, and even if you can respond rationally at first, with every response you’re giving them another chance to say something that will push you over the edge of reason.
Keep an eye on how your community responds.
We see this all the time-- a troll comes knocking and an influencer’s followers show up in droves to defend them. Sometimes it’s nice to just ignore the troll and allow your community to defend your honor. But sometimes your followers aren’t skilled in the art of troll taming, and instead just provoke the troll further. If you see this happening, shut it down. Thank your followers for their service, and kindly ask them to refrain from further troll-poking.
On occasion you might want to turn the comments section off for your posts altogether (this is a feature Instagram introduced in late 2016 in an effort to combat trolls and cyber bullying). You can also hide inappropriate comments, filtered by keywords that you specify.
As a last resort: block the troll.
If the troll is relentless, block them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Lastly, contextualize the occurrence.
Don’t let this ruin your day. Remember that this is just one person-- a person who doesn’t even really know you! So don’t take it personally. And remember that there are likely no tangible implications-- your community is not going to turn on you when a troll tries to out you. If anything, pat yourself on the shoulder for having made it to the point where you even have haters.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.