The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Moderation

Social media is a very powerful tool used to spread information and influence a wide demographic of people from different backgrounds. It is this particularly dominating attribute that makes moderation for business social media channels a crucial factor in brand protection. Creating a social media page for your business means opening your doors wider to your customers and thus requires implementing well-defined rules for posting content in the form of text, images, and videos.

Crossed boundaries or circumstantially dependent content moderation policies?

Censorship particularly done on nude images of women sparked a multitude of online movements, starting with the popular hashtag, #freethenipple. The protest was fueled by the logic that if men can flaunt their topless bodies on Instagram and on other social media channels, then why aren’t women allowed to do the same?

Although the protest soon died down, many Instagram users recently noticed that there has been a decline in filtering posts with nudity despite its strict approach to sharing sensitive images in the previous years. Instagram clarified that there have been no changes to their policy. Images of female nudity are screened depending on the social context for which it is used or shared. For example, pictures of breasts that depict breastfeeding, post-masectomy scarring and the like are allowed while those that are perceptibly promoting pornographic behavior are not.

The policy did not sit well with some of the platform’s followers, and erotic magazine Pmag founder and editor-in-chief, Rik Bracho was among them. His magazine’s Instagram account was closed — leaving them to lose over 90K of their followers. He adds how Instagram’s policy on nudity has been blurred in terms of its scope and limitation. For example, some users (and on certain occasions even Instagram itself) report and censor photos that are clearly artistic expressions and are in no way encouraging or expressing sexual behavior of any kind. After their account was closed, Bracho and his team had to start from scratch and be more particular with how they censored images that they shared. They made sure the editing did not meddle with the artistic expression of their creative team, and they were left with the realization that censorship downgrades the beauty and quality of their images.

Regulating user-generated content on social media: What are the undertakings that entail the role of content moderators?

Indeed, ensuring that your followers’ posts comply with your page’s policies can be tricky. Contexts can be misconstrued and re-interpreted depending on how certain words or images are used or portrayed.

Social media moderation entails striking a balance between overdoing the management process and being a little bit too passive and lenient about it. Thus, your personnel must focus on honing their skills accordingly to suit your brand’s social media presence and reputation.

Hiring content moderators will equate to the presence of several professional roles to manage your social media channels — from Social Media Managers to Community Managers to designated specialists for different types of posts (status updates, tweets, creating videos and graphics). Each of these roles are interrelated, and they must work together to help set the tone for the posts and comments on your channels. Your social media personnel must be the frontrunners for clearly implementing your audience’s posting guidelines while setting the example for respect and responsible sharing in your online community.

Whether the moderators you hire are experienced or not, you must still train them and familiarize them with your business’s online branding especially if you have specific rules or standards for your pages.

Segregating the do’s and don’ts of social media moderation

Before creating a social media page for your brand, you must first prioritize setting a clear, well-defined management policy for how your users can post and interact through your online community. On a related note, your policies should reflect your brand’s particular values and serve as the groundwork for determining the differences between personal and professional status updates. This is mostly applicable if you have assigned personnel for regularly updating your page.

Keen determination and discrimination between comments that are tolerable from those that are not must be practiced. After all, you don’t want to be seen or interpreted as enforcing censorship over your followers. Make sure you have solid, preventive measures against spam, and promotional ads linked to malicious and dangerous websites. Refrain from using abusive language even when customers and followers cross the line with their comments and feedback. However, you must not tolerate hate speech, repulsive remarks, or posting of plagiarized content by your online community members. Simply remove any followers who will break the rule or reach out to them in private.

Set a quick timeline for responding to customers and regulate posts while continuously encouraging followers to be engage more with your posts. Should legal issues arise, it is best to deal with it as quickly as possible. Due to the increasing access being given to the public, instances of legal suits are becoming more common these days.

Initiate conversations to encourage client participation all the more, and always be open to both positive and negative feedback. You can use your follower’s comments as your pointers for improvement. Open-ended questions usually always do the trick. If you’ve released a new product, ask customers to share their feedback about it or uses photo-sharing for running certain promotions or promoting client involvement in reporting incidences that entail the use of your services.

If your brand has accounts on multiple social media channels, it is better to use Social Media Management tools such as Hootsuite, SocialOomph, and Buffer. This will let you manage your profiles seamlessly since you will only be using a single dashboard to check the progress of user engagement, posts, and comments. Social media management tools can also be customized to send you email alerts whenever your brand is mentioned, referred, or receives new ratings and reviews.

Last but not the least, always bear in mind that with social media and content moderation, anything in excess is bad. If you moderate content on your page a tad too much, this can prove to be a disadvantage on your part and you may end up deleting a lot of user-generated posts and messages sent by your clients, or worse, drive away other potential followers while making your current audience feel dissatisfied with your social media channels.