How to do social media moderation well

Your social media posts and platforms are often the first direct contact with your customers. Therefore it’s important that not only your posts comply with certain rules, but also that the comments on them are acceptable. This means that social media moderation is an important task, wether you do it, or your digital marketing agency.

One of the pillars of social media is two-way communication. However, it’s not all friendly opinions and informal conversations. This can also lead to conflicts that flare up from time to time.

Let’s start at the beginning: in general, what should be the style and tone of moderation? Here are a few suggestions, which are worth following so that your social media pages project a positive image.

What are the principles of social media moderation?

The moderator:

  • always polite, kind,
  • understanding, empathetic,
  • understands the problem,
  • exudes confidence,
  • flexible and problem-solving,
  • never blames,
  • never lectures,
  • intelligent.

You can use either a formal or informal tone in your answers. It’s up to you which you prefer, but be sure to use it consistently. Whether you do it, or your online marketing agency. Feel free to reward positive comments and compliments with a like or a heart. You can even write a thank you: it will definitely give people a positive impression.

Something else to keep in mind:

  • Replies to comments are not only seen by the questioner, but also by other users, so you’re not just messaging the questioner, you’re messaging everyone.
  • In extreme cases, your answers can be shared, screenshotted on their own Facebook page, and even a single mishandled case can be exposed in a public group.
  • Some commenters just want to make their point, to vent. Don’t take it personally, don’t go overboard if you get a negative review.
  • Always pay attention to spelling!
  • Quick response times are important. The reaction time of your messages will also be reflected to other users on your Facebook page. Social media is 0-24, 7 days a week, no one will wait weeks for your response.
  • Always reply to posts on behalf of the page, not from your personal profile.
  • No stupid questions! However obvious you think the answer is, always answer questions politely and informatively. It’s important to answer all questions that come your way, as this will show trust, directness and caring. If someone asks about your service or product, a kind, informative answer can go a long way to turning them into a customer. Make sure you give enough information to your digital marketing agency for them to do so.

Conflicts in the moderation of social media

It’s not easy for everyone, but you need to be able to deal with negative opinions and conflicts. In many cases, people react not only to a particular post or picture, but also to each other’s comments. Which can turn into an argument or, in extreme cases, personal attacks. These commenters often take a more aggressive tone, lacing their opinions with a wide variety of swear words. This may be the time to weed out the more offensive posts.

In all cases, try to read the post calmly and objectively first: it’s important to communicate politely and non-violently, and this may help to ease the commenter’s tension.

But when the situation becomes untenable, as the owner of the site you have every right and means to take action against negative commenters. By no means run headlong into a wall. First decide with your digital marketing agency, whose job is it to intervene, and then moderation has its own steps:

Social media moderation in practise

0. Prevention:

You can prevent negative comments by paying attention to your own communication, avoiding divisive topics, insults, even negative portrayals of your competitors (which is unethical and not rewarding anyway). You could create a policy setting out your expectations of your followers to behave properly, avoid irrelevant posts, avoid personalities, avoid swearing, avoid inciting anger, avoid politicisation and hate speech. Make the policy available on the site, it may be useful to refer to it later in a ban.

1. Warning:

  • If someone does not comply with the rules of the house, or if they provoke you directly, but this is the first time you have done so, you can warn them.
  • However, if no substantive change is made, the next point will be triggered:

2. Hide/delete comment:

  • This is necessary when someone consistently breaks the rules and a written warning no longer works. In such a case, you have two options: Hide their comment, so that from then on their comment is not visible to other users. He won’t notice this, nor will his friends, so it’s a relatively “friendlier” way of silencing him.
  • Deleting a comment, on the other hand, can be perceived by the author as something is wrong. “Where did my comment go?” If he or she asks to be held accountable for the deletion, feel free to link to the relevant section of the policy, or write down exactly what they did to deserve that decision.

3. Block a user:

  • This extreme case occurs when there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop the commenter and they systematically break the rules, even after repeated requests to do so.
  • You can also ban a commenter if he or she is not contributing much to the topic, i.e. “trolling”. In this case, the commenter is deliberately generating a debate in the comments section, which is usually jumped on by unsuspecting internet users: this can lead to bloody arguments. To avoid this, it is worth banning the individual from the very first comment.
  • If banned, the user will not be able to comment on your site or send a message.
  • Although in most cases the ban is permanent, it is good to lift it over time, as everyone deserves a second chance.
  • Just be careful: you can’t ban everyone whose opinion you don’t like, because social media is all about two-way communication, and if you’re too strict you’ll end up alone on your site?

Whatever you decide, keep in mind the right to freedom of expression, because at the end of the day, there is freedom of speech, anyone can write down their opinion on a post, picture or article. In a civilised context, of course. Of course, where you draw the line is your decision, as you have to make the site fit your business goals first and foremost, that’s why you created it.

Here are a few more tricks for social media moderation

Here are a few more tricks to prevent you from having to “weed” through your posts one by one:

Banned list:

This is to prevent certain ban list words from appearing in the first place. In the Settings menu, you can specify the words and phrases you don’t want to see, so that comments containing them are automatically hidden from your page by Facebook. You can also reset them one by one if you still want them to appear.

Filter swear words:

Here you don’t have to bother typing in all the different words and phrases: the site offers two options: ‘Medium’ and ‘Strong’. In this case, Facebook will automatically filter out words and phrases that users report as offensive and, like the ban list, will automatically hide posts containing them.

Whichever option you choose, you can make your own job and the job of the digital marketing agency moderating your page much easier.

If you’re unsure, or prefer to leave it to the professionals, feel free to contact us and we’ll help you keep your Facebook page tidy too!

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