User-generated content from customers or potential customers is often the lifeblood of a business’s online presence. Yet, it also brings with it a substantial risk of brand damage. It only takes one racist, misogynistic, or politically tone-deaf comment to enrage or scare off existing and potential customers. That’s why you need content moderation. Of course, you also need that moderation to operate as a functional process.
Here are five tips to help you make that happen.
1. Provide Clarity
It’s up to you to set the ground rules for content. You can’t rely on good taste to prevent people from posting inflammatory content on your social media profiles, blog comments sections, or user forums. Simply put, there are too many trolls who want to post that kind of content.
In that situation, you must clearly state what you will and won’t tolerate. You must also clearly state the punishment. Will you ban or block users after the first strike? Issue a warning and then restrict or block? Let people know what they should expect.
2. Decide Who Can Post
There are several ways you can put limitations on who can post to your social media profiles. For example, you require that someone be a customer of your business before they can post.
For forums, you can require registration with a name and email address. While that won’t stop a persistent troll, it will discourage random, hateful content from anonymous individuals.
3. Review All Images
Yes, people can say awful things just using text, but images have an immediacy that text doesn’t. You can typically take in an image and caption briefly. That means that unacceptable content in an image has the same proximity.
Beyond that, visual media tends to attract more attention than purely text-based comments or posts. Consider the popularity of memes. All that makes image moderation crucial, and you should review all images before allowing the post.
4. Consider Your Resources
Every business has a finite number of resources to devote to things like content moderation. How many people will be employed full-time or part-time for that purpose? That number of employees and their schedules will help determine how long users can expect to wait before their comment goes live.
5. Community Flagging
It would help if you had something in place that allows other community members to flag questionable content. While moderators will hopefully pick up most things, they are only human. That means they bring their lenses about what is or is not acceptable. Community flagging serves as a secondary line of defense in terms of content.
Most businesses understand they need content moderation in place, particularly on social media. It’s simply too easy for one person to set your carefully built community on fire with an inflammatory post. At the same time, you need a functional process in place. You can encourage with clear rules presented transparently to the community, limits on who can post, and a review of all images. Community flagging can help you police the content.
Understanding your resources can help you set expectations for how long content will wait before going live.