“The first lesson in constructing viral content is having the strength, courage, and self-confidence to get in touch with your own feelings, thinking about what profoundly affects you.”
― Ken Poirot, Author
What exactly is social media content moderation?
Facebook employs a mini-army of content moderators who ensure that whatever is posted on the platform complies with their terms of service. Additional content moderation by a company ensures that whatever is posted on their social media channel complies with the company’s predetermined rules and guidelines for any user-generated submissions.
Content posted by your business and its followers/users on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram has a massive impact on your business’ brand. This content also influences how your customers feel about your products and whether they end up investing in your products or services.
Content moderators are a first-line of defense that protects users and followers of a platform against inappropriate or unsavory content, otherwise, the company would itself have to divert resources away from other operational issues and monitor its social media in real-time. Content moderators also provide customer service and help to create and maintain a strong sense of community on a company’s social media channels, especially text-heaving platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Nowadays, content moderation is a healthy combination of human input and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology which provides the first round of moderation. The human element determines the “grey areas” that AI might not fully comprehend, which is why it’s such a labor-intensive undertaking, which might not be viable for small businesses, even though it’s necessary for their future success.
How can content moderators ensure that a company creates viral content?
“Ultimately virility is all about helping others express their reluctantly shared feelings while doing so from a safe distance.”
― Ken Poirot
Content moderators have more experience interacting with social content, so it stands to reason that they would know what sort of Facebook and Twitter posts would resonate with a large audience. Your business can leverage this experience by having your content moderators create a compelling and entertaining interaction with your social media community.
For instance, Wendy’s Twitter Content Moderator is a prime example of what happens when a business “gets it right”:
Source: imgur.com – Wendy’s SMM/Content Moderator responding in real-time
The content moderator ensures that Wendy’s will always have the final say whilst preventing customers (and would-be customers) from feeling like they are stifled or censored. Of course the content moderator also ensures that unacceptable content is removed, however, they go about it in an engaging and entertaining way — sometimes getting into mini-wars with other content moderators, for the entertainment of Wendy’s followers.
How will you know which type of content moderation to utilize for your business?
There are 4 types of content moderation that you can combine and utilize for your business.
Type 1: Pre-Moderation
This is the most common, and also the most basic form of content moderation. A user submits content to your social media account or directly publishes content to your website through a hashtag and a moderator oversees it ensures that aligns with your company’s public relations goals.
The main benefit of Pre-Moderation is that any content which doesn’t fall in-line with your business’ goals and anything deemed undesirable (i.e libelous or abusive content) is immediately removed, or made invisible to your customers.
Pre-Moderation has one small drawback; users/customers might feel like their freedom is stifled because there is no instant gratification of seeing whatever you’ve posted amass a huge amount of likes or receive feedback from others who give comments. So that conversation can become stilted.
Pre-Moderation works best in situations where there is a high level of legal risk (i.e. celebrity accounts, or accounts where child protection is a priority). If the content is time-sensitive, i.e. reviews and photographs, Pre-Moderation wouldn’t be appropriate, since the social media platforms will always ensure that abusive content will be quickly removed.
Type 2: Post-moderation
This is definitely a better alternative from a UX (user experience) point-of-view. Post-Moderation works where your users expect their content to immediately be live after every submission. The content appears in real-time, however, it’s also replicated in a queue for the content moderator to pass it or remove it after the fact.
Post-Moderation allows your customers/users to engage in a conversation in real-time, however, moderators can also ensure that security, legal problems and behavioral problems are also identified and remedied in real-time.
As your profile grows in popularity, the community will grow and additional moderators can be deployed to assist. When users post comment and content on a business’ social media, the business legally becomes the publisher of the content, especially when the content is pinned or shared again by the company. This has legal implications which require a business of any size to seriously consider Post-Moderation Content Moderation.
Type 3: Reactive Moderation
Reactive Moderation is when you allow commenters, customers, and users to flag content that is either in breach of your rules or would be undesirable. It’s a passive form of moderation, which can become overwhelming when in the midst of a PR crisis. The best outcome is when this type of moderation is utilized in tandem with pre – and post – moderation, in the event that your business is only able to afford a sole moderator.
With this type of moderation, your followers also become responsible for reporting any content that they feel might be inappropriate as they encounter it on your page. By clicking on the colon button, they are given the option to report offensive content directly to the platform, bypassing your content moderators. This can be a little tricky.
While the main advantage of Reactive Moderation is that you are able to scale your page’s growth without necessarily needing to employ the assistance of content moderators, your page can still go viral for all the wrong reasons. Followers can go rogue, or report non-offensive content which only has positive things to say about your product and services. The worst-case scenario is when followers post defamatory or illegal content on to your page.
Businesses that are concerned about their brand perception wouldn’t readily put strangers in charge of their destiny. It’s just too risky. The best case is to utilize Reactive Moderation in conjunction with another type of moderation, like Post-Moderation.
Type 4: Distributed Moderation
If you’ve already heard about the first 3 types of content moderation that have been mentioned in this article, you’ve likely never heard of Distributed Moderation, and if you have heard of it, you’re probably not sure how it helps content go viral.
This type of content moderation relies on a rating system which your followers use to vote on whether certain content is in line with their expectations as a community. By looking at the number of likes on a comment, you’re able to determine whether other users feel the same way, without needing to read additional comments.
By heeding the most up-voted comments, you can create a campaign/post that will relate to these individuals and probably result in them sharing this post en masse.
As most content marketers already understand, there is absolutely no “secret formula” to going viral, however, whenever you go viral, you want to make sure that it was intentional. Content moderation puts your business back in the driver’s seat and allows you to worry less about “what people are going to say,” and more about how quickly customers can get your products.
Without any moderation, you can’t leverage your customers’ experience with your product and service in order to convince fence-sitters to finally give your product a shot.