Responding to Instagram Comments as a Business
· Devise boilerplate responses to frequently posted comments,
· Respond as soon as possible,
· Reply in a context-appropriate way,
· Never ignore negative comments,
· Always report spam and bot comments,
· Build community and relationships through comments.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a change in the way that users view particular social networks. As users’ primary reasons for visiting each network shift, so too do businesses need to alter how they market within those networks. In this endeavour, some companies struggle; looking at why their audience is active somewhere, not just where they are active.
And it’s an understandable struggle because those reasons are always changing.
While Facebook trumps other social media platforms in terms of name recognition and the sheer number of users, its child company Instagram is where users go to express themselves, form relationships, and communicate instantaneously. It is no surprise, then, that brands have embraced Instagram as a means to directly communicate and engage with consumers on a more personal level, as well as form relationships with industry influencers and key players. One way to achieve this level of community is through Instagram comments, on your brand’s posts as well as commenting on others’ posts.
Why should my business respond to Instagram comments?
An endeavour that businesses need to be embracing far more readily on Instagram is responding to comments. Interaction is the cornerstone of growth and the kindling for engagement – and Instagram is all about engagement nowadays. Getting serious about your Instagram marketing strategy involves forming and nurturing human connections, starting with Instagram comments.
The following tips will guide you in creating or altering your Instagram comment response strategy.
Devise boilerplate responses to frequently posted comments
Social media is changing the face of customer service by increasing the accessibility and speed of customer service for consumers. It’s extremely common for brands and organisations to receive comments on Instagram and other platforms pertaining to a range of negative, positive, and neutral customer service situations and opinions about the brand. Users will often comment on the most recent post from a brand when trying to get their attention – positive or negative – even if the post isn’t relevant to their comment.
Creating boilerplate responses to use for common questions, queries, or problems will save your team huge amounts of time and allow you to respond to comments faster. A typical boilerplate response for customer service complaints will ask the user to send your business a private message or get in touch with the customer service team via email or phone. This moves the conversation from public comments to private DMs and allows your team to escalate the request by asking for the customer’s contact information.
Respond as soon as possible
You should aim to respond to all comments you receive as soon as possible. For positive to neutral comments and conversation-starters, the user will feel appreciated that you responded quickly and be more open to forming a connection with your brand. This doesn’t just apply to consumers; building a relationship with other brands and influencers in your industry is imperative.
Community management on social media is imperative to establishing yourself as a key player in your industry. Building a relationship with other brands and influencers in your industry is a great way to get your brand’s name out there and discover new audiences.
For negative comments and customer service queries, users will be reassured that the issue at hand is important to you and is being dealt with swiftly. The top two reasons that users will unfollow brands on social media are “poor quality of product or support” and “poor customer service.” Although not all customer service interactions happen on social media, it is increasingly common for users to reach out on social media first before turning to the ‘official’ customer service teams, so responding quickly and carefully to negative Instagram comments is a must.
Reply in a context-appropriate way
The ‘correct’ way to respond to an Instagram comment varies depending on the type of comment. For example, Instagram comment sections are awash with emoji-only comments; these are difficult to reply to because they’re not initiating a conversation or giving you a topic to discuss. Generally, it’s okay to just give these comments a ‘like’ instead of responding with a comment of your own. This is a sufficient way to acknowledge comments of this sort as they don’t warrant a further response.
Pretty much all other types of comments on your Instagram posts will elicit a response from you. From compliments to questions to annoyed customers, your response is not only desired but vital in keeping up a good brand reputation. As others see how you engage with people who take the time to interact with you, they will feel encouraged to do the same.
Responding to nice, positive messages is where you can unlock the possibility to build relationships and partnerships with influencers, other companies in your industry, and potential future employees. Compliments, thought-provoking questions, and considerate opinions are ways that others in your industry will try to get your attention and engage with you on Instagram – make sure to engage back!
Unfortunately, some Instagram comment automation services are more subtle than you’d think. If a comment seems positive, yet unclear and vague, chances are it’s automated. Consider these comments in relation to the image and ensure they make sense before you take the time to respond.
Never ignore a negative comment
Always respond to any negative or questionable comments you receive on Instagram. A good rule of thumb is to consider the consumer’s perspective of your brand. Try to adhere to the age-old “the customer is always right” mentality; even if you believe your business isn’t 100% at fault, chances are you will learn from the experience.
Also, try to delete ‘troll’ and spam comments as quickly as possible. It’s a good idea to check your notifications (or your third-party social media management software) daily to catch anything controversial or offensive. This is especially true for those operating in divisive or polarising industries, such as socio-political organisations. If you have a large following, it is advisable to check your comments multiple times per day, especially when you’ve just posted.
Always report spam and bot comments
Bots and spam help nobody and annoy everybody. Help Instagram get rid of them by reporting individual spam comments you receive as well as reporting and blocking users who spam your comments section.
To report a comment as spam, follow these steps:
- Swipe from left to right on the comment to show the ‘Pin, Report, Delete’ menu,
- Select the second option, ‘Report,’ symbolised by the comment bubble with a “!” inside,
- Select ‘Report This Comment,’
- Select the appropriate reason for reporting the comment.
Build community and relationships through comments
Above anything else, Instagram is a community of people sharing their experiences and engaging with other people. Businesses have a rightful place on Instagram, but it’s more important than ever to show your human side, listen to consumers, and express empathy.
You can create ‘human’ content as a brand with behind-the-scenes photos and videos, relatable industry jokes or scenarios, engaging with other industry players, and responding to everyone who reaches out to you. From there, you can start to build up a community and, along with it, elevate your brand recognition to new heights.
Editor’s Note: This article was published in September 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance in July 2021.