When it comes to moderation, many brands struggle with establishing guidelines and then implementing those guidelines. Besides actively engaging with users on social platforms, moderation is the next most important thing brands can do to build trust and loyal customers. Why? You are making sure your brand’s pages are a welcoming, safe environment for users. No one should feel alienated or uncomfortable while engaging with your brand. They need to trust your content and find it valuable, as well as, the content generated by others. The only way to tackle this is by consistent moderation.
Moderation starts with a great community manager, who is your biggest advocate and enforcer. This person is the “voice” of your brand and that’s important when interacting with users. On social media, people want to talk to people, not brands. Remember, to always keep engagement and moderation personal and sincere.
Below are two examples of negative user generated content left on brand pages. Below each is how I would respond if I would a community manager for those brands.
“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”
Response: Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. You’re right, what you experienced is unacceptable. Our brand does not stand for our locations being dirty. We have taken your comment straight to this store’s general manager and asked for a reasoning behind your experience. We’ll plan to fix any operational issues that may have lead to this, and in a timely fashion. Again, thank you for taking the time to let us know and we hope in the future we can regain your trust as a loyal customer.
Reasoning: When moderating negative comments on social media it’s always important for the user to believe your brand is really listening to their complaint (the same is true for face-to-face interactions). In my response above, I acknowledge the person’s complaint as valid and agree it was unacceptable. I then go on to say how we’ll fix the situation. First, by following up with the store’s manager directly and secondly, by addressing any operational issues. I end with another “thank you.” By keeping my response sincere and timely, hopefully this customer will give our brand another chance. I would also consider following up with the customer again to let them know if the issue was resolved or changes were made. This could go a long way in regaining that brand trust.
“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time 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.”
Response: Thank you, for your feedback. It’s our policy to remove any comments with inappropriate or obscene language posted on our social media accounts. Please send us a email us (include customer service email) and we’d be happy to discuss your frustrations further with you. We appreciate all of our viewers and want to keep this environment a welcoming one. Thank you.
Reasoning: Brands cannot open the door to obscene comments. Many may not consider the f-word that bad, but it could open the door to much worse language from users. After responding to the above comment, as a community manager, I would screenshot the comment and my response for my records, and then remove the comment from the public account. Hopefully the person would send an email, so we could better address their issues. Or even better, re-post the comment without a curse word! Then I would explain to the viewer that we actually did give equal time to both the Israelis and Palestinian spokespeople. The response would probably include a link to video of the story, along with other stories where we had coverage from both sides of the conflict. It’s hard when people feel so passionately about a cause or issue, but again opening a social network page up for inappropriate language could be a path no brand wants to travel down.
Whether you’re removing a comment for violating your brand’s moderation guidelines or facing crticism head on, brands should have the same goal: to right a wrong. Moderation should lead to resolution, not more conflict and the best way to do this is for brands to remember to be human.