If you have a social media presence, you’re engaging in social media moderation. But why is it so important?
Social media gave people the freedom to share their opinions, experiences, feedback, and feelings. Users can upload any type of content that can be viewed by their followers. Or, if posting to a brand’s page, the brand’s followers.
In return, brands must moderate this content. Because, let’s get real, some of it is NASTY.
However, as much as social media moderation is needed, it comes with PROS and CONS you should consider.
Defining Social Media Moderation
First, social media moderation is defined as reviewing and managing activities for your social media platforms. The messages you receive on these channels require action by a social media moderator.
At a minimum, your social channels should have rules and guidelines for the the types of content that are allowed. You may also choose to call out restrictions on posting inappropriate content.
Then, your social media moderators will maintain these guidelines. In some cases, you can set up rules to moderate content before it ever gets published.
Facebook, for instance, has several settings within your Page’s Admin area that you can use to help with pre-moderation.
Visitor Posts is highlighted in the image above, but there’s also Tagging Ability, Page Moderation, Profanity Filter, and more. By setting up pre-moderation items, you can better protect your page from abusive content.
Social Media Moderation Is Essential For Success
Before we get into the PROS and CONS, I want to make sure you understand how critical social media moderation is for success on social media.
More and more consumers are using social media to…
- Discover new brands
- Research products/services
- Read online reviews
- Review brand conversations
- Give feedback or complain
This includes all phases of the digital customer journey (DCJ). In effect, that means that if done correctly social media moderation can help you both retain and acquire customers.
What’s more, consumers love peeking in on brand conversations. They’ll head to your brand’s social accounts’ comments section to see what people are saying about you. AND how you’re responding.
I don’t think most marketers understand the value of brand conversations on social media. Many reports have shown that users rate brand conversations as high, or higher than, online reviews!
Therefore, it’s essential to moderate what is being said in comments on your posts, or when you’re tagged. Incorrect or misleading information could ruin your online reputation. Because of that, you should monitor and respond to all inquiries on social media.
A Few Social Media Moderation CONS
Let’s start with the CONS of social media moderation.
Sometimes, your posts will be attacked online by “trolls.” This can also happen on user comments on your posts (or comments to your commentary). It’s not just your content that is under attack; it’s your brand reputation, including your followers, existing and future customers.
And, unfortunately, the number of trolls and attacks on brand social channels is on the rise. Luckily, social media tool Hootsuite has a guide for helping navigate trolls.
Whether they’re just goofing around or straight-up harassing your accounts, internet trolls can take their toll on social media experts. Sometimes, their messages might just be pesky. At other times, a troll can mount a full-on hateful attack that wreaks havoc on your mental health.”
From experience, I can tell you that dealing with trolls definitely affects your social media frontline. You will need to figure out how to protect your people … and that may not be as easy as blocking, banning, or deleting. Sometimes your trolls are customers!
Misinformation, or misleading someone through the spread of false information, is very easy to do. And it’s on the rise. With misinformation sprouting up regularly, social media moderators are struggling to regulate it.
There are intense debates over where moderation ends and censorship begins. The best way forward in these murky waters is to have a documented plan for dealing with misinformation on your brand’s social channels.
Finally, looking at the above, it’s not hard to see what a toll social media moderation can take on moderation experts.
The negative effects of being exposed to violent content can cause “compassion fatigue” — this is why it seems no one cares when there’s another catastrophic event. When we’ve spent so much time dealing with one trauma after another, we get burned out and our emotions seem to be blank.
For social media moderators who regularly deal with distressing messages, taking a break from the content moderation can help. Having an organizations support is extremely helpful, too.
[CON] Social Media Moderation Is Reactive
I saved perhaps the biggest CON for last. When we talk about moderation, we define it as managing messages we receive on our social media channels. That, inherently, makes social media moderation a reactive strategy or tactic.
I’m not saying we don’t need social media moderation, we do! But we also need to think about being proactive. If you truly want to differentiate your brand from all the others out there, you’ll have to go further than reactive measures.
Let me give you an example. Moderation of messages that you can receive only happens when…
- Someone messages you directly on your social media channel (PM or DM)
- A user comments on one of your social media posts
- Your brand is tagged (using the @ symbol) in a user post or comments
However, if you aren’t tagged, you likely won’t see a notification to be able to answer, or moderate, that mention.
Additionally, what if someone mentions your products or services and doesn’t tag your brand? These are also messages where you are being mentioned but you won’t receive any notifications.
I’ll give you a visual example:
As you can see, in the example on the left, Apple Music is tagged. But in the example on the right, John mentions Apple Music without tagging them. In this case, Apple Music would not get a notification of this comment and would not be able to moderate it.
Tagging is one of the biggest factors as to why “social media moderation” simply isn’t enough. Doing moderation alone leaves you in a reactive state, and unable to meet your customers where they are.
But don’t worry. There’s a fix.
Social Media Listening
It’s scary to think of how many conversations about your brand, products, or services you’re missing. Thankfully, there’s a way to get proactive and catch those mentions where you aren’t tagged, or where your products and services are being discussed.
Enter social listening.
I won’t spend too much time here because we’ve written extensively about the advantages of social listening. But ultimately, social listening allows you to manage keywords for your brand, products, and services so that you never miss a mention or message.
In the Apple Music example above, for example, if you had “Apple Music” as a keyword, your listening tool would notify you so you could respond to John’s message. If set up correctly, you can respond to nearly to every conversation, even when you’re not tagged.
For reference, below are several posts on social listening you may find useful.
- Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation in 2023 Using Social Listening
- Why Negative Brand Sentiment Is A Good Thing
- Listen up! The Value of Social Listening
- Gain A Competitive Edge With Your Social Listening Strategy: 5 Ideas
Finally, if you need help creating a social listening plan, we partnered with Sprout Social for this 90-minute free workbook that will help you do just that.
Brands Are Still Failing At Social Media Moderation
One more CON worth mentioning is that many brands are still failing to respond to all incoming messages. You definitely can’t get to being proactive if you aren’t even monitoring all of the reactive mentions.
One of the biggest reasons your social media teams needs to put an emphasis on social media moderation and responding to ALL messages is because of the large shifts social media is undergoing.
Marketers are used to replying heavily on word-of-mouth marketing and online reviews shared across social channels to attract new customers. However, brand conversation and engagement is now expected during social media conversations.
In the study I mentioned above regarding brand conversations, Publicis + Twitter study “#LetsTalkShop, the stats are wildly convincing.
- 92% of people surveyed said they actively seek out comments about brands, products, or services on social media channels
- 68% said their impression of a brand was changed (positively) as a result of experiencing brand conversation
- Over 50% of shoppers are impacted by brand conversations
And yet, even with all the research pointing to how critical it is to respond to every social media mention … to ensure that social media moderation is the foundation of your social media strategy, brands still aren’t doing it.
In fact, a recent report by Sprout Social shows that brand response rates have gotten worse since 2020.
This is frustrating because I constantly hear that social media isn’t producing results. However, for our clients who engage in social media moderation, it’s the opposite. Throw in the clients who get proactive with moderation through social listening, and they’re killing the acquisition and retention game on social media.
[PRO] Quick Moderation Wins
If you’re one of the brands that isn’t engaging in social media moderation for all mentions and messages, without fail, I’ve got a few more proof points for you. And you know what, let’s focus on acquisition — sales or social selling — for these PROS.
Crucial Sales Components of Social Media Moderation
1) Your would-be customers are using social media to research new brands, products, and services. And when they do this, results and ROI are right around the corner. Studies show that…
- 70% of consumers have visited social media sites to get information;
- 40% of these consumers made a purchase decision based on the information they found through social media sites;
- 60% of people said they are likely to use social media sites to pass along information to others online;
- 45% of people who searched for information via social media sites engaged in word of mouth compared to 36% who found information on a company or news site
2) Brand conversations influence buying decisions. Consumers will visit your social media channels and scroll through your content AND your comments.
- 56% of shoppers consider social brand conversation more/as impactful as traditional reviews. (Twitter)
- A personalized response can bring back 51% of your customers who had negative experiences. (Sitejabber)
- 44% of people believe brand conversations (what a brand says in direct communication over email, direct messaging, or in response to a comment posted) are more persuasive than what a brand says in its advertising materials. (Edelman)
Aren’t you convinced?!
Social Media Moderation Tools
There’s a plethora of social media tools out there. And most of them include moderation. As always, picking a tool that’s best for you and your business goals is subjective. Budget is also a factor.
For what it’s worth, here are the social media moderation tools we’ve used and love…
- Sprout Social is our go-to social media tool for moderation. Bonus: It also has social listening capabilities. They’ve been recognized seven years in a row by G2 as being one of the best social media softwares.
- Emplifi is another tool loved by one of our luxury enterprise clients.
- I’ve also heard great thing about Digimind from my friend Jeff who manages a lot of large food & beverage brands. They also provide social listening!
No matter which tool you decide to use for social media moderation (and hopefully social listening!), always go into the demo knowing what your goal if for using the software. Tell the person running your demo what that goal is, and make them show you (not just tell you) how their tool will help you achieve your goals.
If they can’t get you there on the demo, move on to the next tool!
Supersize Your Social Media Moderation
Surely, you’re now convinced at just how important social media moderation is. You’re going to do it … answer all incoming inquires and understand that doing so could very well impact sales.
But, you also know that moderation isn’t enough. You know that you need to move away from being solely reactive and come up with ways to be proactive with your social media marketing. Social listening will allow you to be notified of all mentions and messages. You can also be sure that it will help you differentiate from other brands just like you.
You’re going to go into this new year with all kinds of social media wins. And if you want an experienced partner to hold your hand through it all — from social media moderation to social selling and proving return on investment, we’ve got your back.
Don’t leave leads on the table! Social media is ripe for being supersized if you know how to manage it all.
State of Social Media Customer Care Report
Finally, if you want more information on how social media is vastly changing (and becoming THE place to generate more leads), I urge you to take a look at our State of Customer Care Report.
Social media customer care harnesses the full power of social media by monitoring and analyzing conversations happening around your brand to help acquire and/or retain customers. Yet, so few brands have adopted a social media customer care program.
In our report, we highlight research and client case studies on how consumer preferences have changed. And why personalized, empathetic brand conversations will keep your brand above the rest.
Specifically, our social media customer care report focuses on these five areas:
Social media conversations are driving the digital customer experience, but few brands are taking advantage of this.
Customer care covers the entire digital customer journey — meaning both acquiring new customers and retaining current ones.
Brand conversations spur connection and ultimately lead to more revenue for talkative brands.
The need for speed (with brand responses) has accelerated.
Humanity & empathy are needed to win the customer’s heart.
Read this report! It will supersize your thinking to go beyond moderation and into a powerful lead-generation funnel on social.
Now, you are armed with all the tools needed to absolutely crush your social media moderation efforts.
We can’t wait to see what you do next! 🙂
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