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Social Media Moderation

8

February 12, 2015 by EmilyCRios

Now more than ever consumers are taking to social media to voice their opinions and vent frustrations about brands. People can feel a sense of freedom when posting online and may say things that may not say in person and things can quickly escalate. Moderation can help keep structure and order to a brand’s page and keep things relevant to the topics at hand, but there is a fine line between moderating and censoring just because someone has something negative to say.

Many brands have established guidelines with how to handle moderating their social media profiles. Intel mentions moderation in their social media guidelines and when it comes to how things are moderated they have created a house rule which states, “Whether content is post-moderated or community moderated, we use this rule of thumb: the Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly. If the content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then it can be approved, regardless of whether it’s favorable or unfavorable to Intel. But if the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating, and/or completely out of context, then we ask our moderators and communities to reject the content.”

Unfortunately it seems like a lot of online comments lean towards the negative, but when moderating and responding it is important to not react in a negative or harsh manner. Brands should admit any wrongdoing on their parts and show they appreciate the concerns and are willing to help fix them if they are valid.

Below are two hypothetical customer comments left to an organization’s Facebook page and how I would respond as a brand moderator.

To a hotel: “I am disgusted about the state of your restaurant on 1467 Justin Kings Way. Empty tables weren’t cleared and full of remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Response:

Hi(Insert Name),

I would like to apologize for your negative experience at our Justin Kings Way location and thank you for bringing this to our attention. What you have described does not match the standards we have in place and it has been brought to the attention of the manager and staff. We strive to give our customers a great experience and we would love to make it up to you. If you do decide to come visit us again, please ask for Emily. I look forward to meeting you.

To a mainstream news network: “Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your airtime to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.” (Let us assume the reporting was balanced, with equal time to both sides.)

Response:

Hi(Insert Name),

Thank you so much for your viewership and feedback. At (News Agency Name) we strive to cover all sides of a story in an objective manner and apologize if it came across that all of our airtime was devoted to the Israeli point of view. Here is a link to the story in its entirety that features all points of view. Once again thank you for your feedback as we strive to deliver all side of every story and do not hesitate to contact us in the future with any other concerns you may have. (Include phone Number and Email Address where viewer can send any future concerns)

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8 thoughts on “Social Media Moderation

  1. Erin says:

    Emily,

    There is so much I love about your post. First of all, it’s great to see how another brand handles moderation. Intel has a nice take on “the Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly.” I feel like that alone is an excellent guide for moderation. I also like to see the point about post-moderated and community moderated. Sometimes the community can moderate themselves just fine and there are times when it’s necessary for us to step in.

    Your responses were so thorough. Every time I read responses like these I realize how much more I could’ve added to my own. You stated the facts without any negativity. With the restaurant, you made it clear that the issue has been addressed and that it was not the standard. Even inviting them to come by and see you makes the conversation much more personal. It makes people feel like they are talking to a real person and more willing to hear you out.

    Your second response was also great. Including the link to the story was clever. Without saying to the viewer that they are wrong in their assessment, you mentioned how the reporting strives to be objective and planted a seed by offering the link. If they aren’t blinded by anger, they may very well take a second look at the story to see if they might have missed something.

    • EmilyCRios says:

      Erin,
      When it came to drafting my responses I literally just sat staring at the screen for a while because it is easy for me to immediately jump to being defensive. I took the approach that I like to see when I am the one bouncing complaints or concerns which is one of honesty and owning up to any wrongdoing on the brand’s end. When it came to the news coverage complaint I think it was important to not anger the viewer even more and insure them that the intent was never to offer a one sided story so I appreciated them pointing it out if it felt that way.

  2. Hi Emily,

    Your post was a great read! I really liked how you highlighted Intel’s social media moderation guidelines and this rule of thumb, “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” I think this is a good rule for most companies to follow. You shouldn’t stray away from answering negative posts because they give an unfavorable representation of your brand. Instead, you should own up to your mistakes and promise your customers that you will make improvements in the future. On the other hand, off-topic comments left by Internet trolls don’t require your response.

    In the first hypothetical situation, I liked how you introduced yourself to the customer and let them know that they should ask for you whenever they decide to come back to your restaurant. This shows the customer that you are not afraid to further deal with this issue in person and also lets them know that you care. What I liked about your second response was that you shared a link to the story in its entirety so that the viewer could better evaluate this particular news segment. It was also nice of you to have provided them with an email address and a phone number so that they could leave additional feedback in the future.

    • EmilyCRios says:

      Lynette,
      I completely agree that brands should address negative posts and attempt to get to the root of the problem and try to improve on any negative experiences. Unless the comment is completely unrelated to the brand then there should be some sort of response. One of the most important things to me in general is honesty so if I make a complaint and a company is willing to own up to any mistakes they have made then I am more likely to give them s second chance which is why I took the approach to my responses that I did.

  3. HamptonRay says:

    It is truly amazing how social media has changed the game in terms of customer service and how consumers communicate with businesses. Accepting feedback from consumers in a public forum like social media can be a daunting task for some businesses to partake in- maybe that’s why some CEOs fear social media (link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390444083304578018423363962886). However, consumer feedback will happen on social media regardless of a company’s engagement, therefore it is better for businesses to weigh in and help drive the conversation rather than sit on the sidelines out of fear.

    I like how you state that it appears that negative comments tend to rise to the surface on social media. It’s much more prevalent to see a negative comment, or hear a story about how a negative comment was poorly managed by a social media page, than to hear a positive story or comment. This makes handling these difficult comments all the more important by brands. Your hypothetical responses were spot on. Recognizing the concern for a customer and responding accordingly to their needs and/or addressing the issue head on. The response on the news broadcast was perfect, including the link is a passive way for social media users who see the negative comment to view the broadcast in its entirety and make their own judgment- it truly diffused the situation and prevented backlash from others who may have just agreed with the commenter out of ideology.

    • EmilyCRios says:

      At my current job my boss avoids all forms of social media and would rather not have to deal with it, but you are completely right in that people are going to be talking about your brand on social media whether you have a presence or not so why not be an active participant and help steer the conversations. When drafting my responses it made it easier for me to think about how I would actually respond face to face so that it would hopefully come off as genuine concern and that the opinions, although negative, were still valued.

  4. PatAce says:

    Hi Emily,

    I really like how on your restaurant response you emphasized that the experience does not reflect the restaurant. One thing I would change though is rather than saying “If you do decide to come visit us again…” I would instead straight out invite the customer to come back to the restaurant, so that they can see that their experience was a one-off, and that thing are actually much different. I like how you included in the reply a contact person, so that the customer feels like their opinion matters, and that there will be someone at the restaurant waiting to meet with her when she does decide to return.

    In your response for the news channel, I would have included a part where you touched upon how you understand that the situation is upsetting, and thus you understand why the reviewer might be upset. I really like how you provided a link to the reviewer of the full coverage, where they can see for themselves that the news channel did everything they could to be balanced in their coverage.

    • EmilyCRios says:

      Patricia,
      I like your suggestion about being straight forward when extending the invitation for the guest to return to the restaurant because it shows the seriousness in wanting to deliver an excellent experience to them and make up for the negative one. I struggled with my news channel response because I feel people go into negative comments/reviews with their opinions already formed and really just what more of their opinion represented so I though that including the link would be helpful in case part of the problem was that they did not see the story in full.

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