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Everything in Moderation

A guide to social media content moderation

Great online content is not purely the domain of content production specialists. In fact, a good social media marketing strategy will walk that line between user-generated content and brand-generated content with the finesse of a tightrope expert. Too user-heavy and the brand message can be lost in; too brand-heavy and your social effort will be little more than an online advertising campaign.

Integrated and holistic content moderation

The key, as with all things in life, has a lot to do with moderation. Obviously the content production efforts of the brand need to be quality, consistent with the company voice and fresh, but they also need to be structured so that consumers are enticed to interact in a way that goes below the surface.

Moderation in itself is a comprehensive task, and not one that should be relegated to a simple approval/removal process. Many brands have made the mistake of applying a simplistic approach to their social media channels, resulting in content stagnation and user rates dropping like so many proverbial hot tamales.

Instead, moderation, like everything in social media, needs to be integrated and holistic. It needs to take into account a brand’s bottom line, while listening to what consumers are saying and how they’re saying it.

Online content moderation a two-way street

Interaction for interaction’s sake does not deliver results. Thousands of Facebook fans are essentially useless if these fans aren’t interacting meaningfully with the brand, or at least providing consumer data that can be successfully applied to marketing strategies.

So moderation needs to be a two-way street. A brand cannot expect meaningful contributions from consumers if all they offer in return is ‘thank you for your comments’ or (as has often been the case) no response at all.

Negative comments should not be removed unless they are offensive or irrelevant – a brand that acknowledges the valid complaints of consumers is much more likely to develop trust in the community.

In terms of enticing middle-ground consumers to interact, there has to be a carrot. Promotions that reward consumers for their input, content that engages interest (not just agreement or disagreement), and content that shows the consumer they have been listened to is all part of a successful moderation strategy.

Too often, social media content moderation is considered a menial task and relegated to the domain of the work-experience kid or the intern. This is not to say that effective moderation can’t be carried out by someone in such a position, but it definitely requires a commitment to the image, message, ethos and, most importantly in content terms, voice of a brand.

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