Social media moderation in a nutshell:
Companies encourage their customers to post their content online via forums and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. – in order to have a strong online presence, to reach a larger customer base via crowdsourcing, to provide better customer experience through customer engagement and to build a positive brand image. Companies, while building their own community forums and social media platforms, there are also a set of challenges that come along the process.
The two major threats that companies face while using the social media platforms are first, the brand image or reputation is under stake – it is very easy for people to spam with inappropriate contents or spread fake news and spoil the brand image of the company. Secondly, it makes the users or customers feel insecure about the company due to spamming and irrelevant content.
Why Social media gives you a competitive advantage?
✔ It allows sales activities attribution and CRM’s data strategy integration.
✔ Customer engagement, Wider audience reach and better channel growth.
✔ Customer reviews and suggestions for product and service enhancement.
✔ Promotions and rewards system for customer satisfaction.
Social Media Moderation versus Social Media Monitoring:
- Social Media Moderation: This is generally performed in company-owned websites, forums and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Companies would have moderators either in-house or outsource to specialists who will decide what kind of contents should be circulating in those platforms. Depending upon the company’s requirements, the moderators will decide on the type of moderation services to be adopted.
- Social Media Monitoring: There are many community forums, social media pages, groups, communities, etc., which are handled by users or customers and not owned or managed by that company. Examples: Community forums for online games, Facebook pages for big brands like Coke, Pepsi, Ferrari, etc. Companies monitor these forums and pages to find out what kind of news is being spread among these groups, is it helping to improve their company’s brand image or not, does it affect the copyright issues in anyways or not.
Types of Spamming: Companies face different types of spamming, depending upon the type of products and services offered by the company, some of which are offensive languages, images or videos – spammers use dirty languages or nudity images to spoil the brand reputation, hence moderators use relevant tools and technologies to filter those words and remove instantaneously, also human intervention is necessary to remove images and video links which might be tricky for tools or technologies to capture. These kinds of spamming not only affect the brand image but leaves a big question on security concerns.
The second major threat is trolls and spammers who leave disregarding comments about your company’s product or service with the only purpose to spoil the brand image, among other users or customers. There are various reasons for people to troll or spam, some do to just earn publicity which leaves a damaged legacy for the companies and other reasons could be due to rivalry – competitors engage people to troll and spam a company’s social media platform to spoil the brand image.
1. Bulk Messaging: We as a company receive requests from newly formed forums, stating that their pages and posts are fresh during the day and over the night it has been flooded with comments and asking for a permanent solution. This is a major problem faced by many new startups which don’t have a proper moderating system, either by human interference or tool-based technologies.
2. Malicious Links: This is another nuisance for companies as spammers spread an interesting image or comment with a link and when clicked, it triggers an activity such as downloads, malware or stealing information.
3. Fake Reviews: Since social media platforms and forums can be accessed by anyone who has a user id, it becomes easy for people to write fake reviews to degrade a company’s product or service. Due to the highly competitive nature of today’s market scene, few companies employ these unethical ways to spoil the brand image, hence moderation becomes crucial here.
4. Like Jackers and Click Baiters: There are few spammers who post hot news or sensational headlines to attract attention which will then navigate to their social media pages and takes an automatic like or subscription, this is another trick employed by competitors to steal your customers. Most users are not aware of these kinds of tricks and become a victim to such spams.
5. Spamming bots: There are few bots which automatically surf sites using certain keywords and post negative comments and reviews, these bots are built by Robotic process automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to disrupt the brand image and security of a company.
How can we prevent these spammers and build an optimized moderation service?
Forum and Social Media moderation services are the best options to have control of these spammers and provide a better customer experience for the online community. Social media platforms are a great way to increase your customer base, build brand reputation, improve customer service, receive feedbacks and reviews via customer experience. Depending upon the type of requirements, companies have segmented the moderation services into three major types:
- Pre-Moderation: This type of moderation enables companies to place comments or posts to pass through a queue system before it gets published, the team of moderators will analyze and decide whether it adheres to the company’s policies or is it safe for other members to read considering both brand image and users’ security.
- Pros: Most safe type of moderation, as it allows moderators to read through the content before posting and avoids other users to get influenced if it’s spam.
- Cons: Not real-time, some users will prefer instant chat with other users, hence they don’t prefer to wait for moderators to approve and get published.
- Post-Moderation: This is just the opposite of the previous type, where it allows users to post comments on a real-time basis and moderators are intimated with new comments which then go under scrutiny, to check whether it is appropriate to stay in the site or not. If moderators feel, that the content is not suitable and doesn’t comprise the policies mentioned by the company, it either moderated according to it and published or deleted permanently
- Pros: Real-time: It allows users to post comments on real-time and have live chat with the other online users, there are many gaming communities which expect to get immediate solution to their gaming issues, hence this type of moderation helps them in a big way.
- Cons: A great opportunity for spammers to spam and troll, but if the moderators a very active and spontaneous then it is possible to deactivate their accounts immediately without causing much damage.
- Reactive Moderation: This type of moderation empowers users to become the moderators, where it has options to rate the content posted by other users and by keeping the track of these ratings and reviews the content can be either removed automatically or manually, for example, if more than five users’ rate below two, then the comment or content gets automatically removed. This type of moderation can be adopted when a company has scalable active users.
- Pros: Cost effective, as less resources required for moderation services
- Cons: No full control, since companies don’t have full control over the moderation process, there are chances for spamming and insecurity.
How to build an efficient Moderation Service Unit?
Automation in Moderation: After the advent of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) most of the companies are looking to automate their business processes, in order to reduce manual cost and to replace monotonous jobs with machines, thus the resource can be utilized for more productive jobs. On that front, companies are also building automation systems fed with keywords which filter the content posted on social media platforms and forums.
All the above-mentioned moderation types can be automated, by using automation systems like content filters to remove any unwanted content or comments but depending upon machines for the entire process is not a good approach, as in some cases the moderator should be able to edit according to the company’s guidelines and approve the same.
Importance of Human Intervention: It will be a dream come reality if we are able to automate all the process in moderation, but certain things need human intervention. Bots can find misspellings, people who spread bulk messages, text identification etc., but how can we expect an automated system to recognize the irony of a statement and the semantic nuances involved in it. This is where humans are irreplaceable
Hence it will be ideal to build a moderation support service comprising of the human workforce who can use the automated system to their best ability. A successful combination of these elements will help a company in having an optimized moderation service which can safeguard the brand image and users’ security.
The other important aspect of keeping humans as a priority in moderation series is leadership or ownership, an automated system can recognize to warn about the spams and even delete those contents, but only a human can take the ownership of a given situation to avoid any further escalations and provide an appropriate solution. Example: The best illustration can be cases where people use all the legitimate words and build to a content to promote their company’s product or service, since these don’t contain any harmful language a bot might miss it, but a human can detect very easily and take the necessary action.
24/7 protection: This is must when it comes to moderation services, as in most cases, spammers use their hands when the company is not in operation, for example, there have been complaints stating that the site has been flooded with unwanted comments during the night time when the company doesn’t operate, hence a 24-hours protection is vital for all the necessary reasons.
Final take away:
Considering all the odds and capabilities, it is inevitable that any company which wants to grow its brand and improve the customer experience will need to develop a strong social media or community platform. Nevertheless, all these come along with a great number of challenges that needs an introspection to tackle it, to have a competitive advantage among an ever-growing competition.
This is where Forum and Social Media Moderation services come into picture, again once decided to go for such services there are few key factors for considering like the type of moderation, tools to be used, training required for the employees about company’s products and services, sustaining the brand reputation and elevate customer experience and finally the expertise of service providers and cost-effectiveness