Brands establish communities of their own online to help build a stronger and closer bond with their customers as well as make their name and services known to a wider population of potential leads and competitors. Among the most common online communities created and associated with today’s businesses include forums, gaming sites, message boards, online chat rooms, and social networks.
The good thing about boosting online branding with online communities is it lets customers’ voices be heard and businesses be recognized through discussions and social media mentions about their products and services.
Another reason why online communities are excellent channels for brand promotion is the power of user-generated content (UGC). Today’s customers depend more on feedback and reviews made by their peers than they do self-proclamations and claims done by the business itself.
A great example for this would be Spotify. Spotify recently featured playlists and listening habits made by their subscribers in a light-hearted, humorous manner. Not only did it focus the spotlight on their end-users, it likewise compelled non-users to try the said app.
Much of the success of online branding strategies comprises UGC exhibiting the unique experiences of end-users when trying a product or service. This compels other consumers to try a product or testify for a particular brand. If online communities promote higher volume of user-generated content and if UGC aids in effective and convincing product marketing, then why is there a need to hire online community moderators?
Since online communities are made open to the public, the tendency is there will be community members whose intention for joining is to harm fellow members or defame the brand being represented by the community. Business owners have no control over what people say or share in their communities, thus raising the risk of harming their reputation and being associated with harmful, malicious and misleading content.
Imagine having to look at user content one by one and on a regular basis. Yes, contents that duly follow the community’s posting guidelines and uphold a safe, friendly interaction for all the members helps make the job a lot easier and enjoyable. Unfortunately, not all people who sign up and join forums, social media and chat rooms do so with good and pure intentions.
Facebook alone has been facing major backlash from both its end-users and former content moderators due to lapses in its content moderating practices. It went so far as to one of Facebook’s former content moderators suing the social media company due to the mental trauma that resulted to the intense nature of the said job.
Without community moderators, the internet would most probably be an extremely terrifying place for everybody. People would be exposed to highly graphic and distressing images, videos and hate speech. At worst, it might even be traumatic for several individuals just to turn on their computers and laptops or open a browser.
Several internet and social media users would now argue that content and online community moderators are not being given the credit that they deserve. After all, it takes a tough mind and an even tougher heart to be able to witness intense depictions of abuse, discrimination, extremism, hate, pornography racism and violence without letting it affect one’s overall well-being.
Thanks to how accessible the internet has become, people now use social media to express disapproval and dislike over another person or a brand. It is also almost effortless to destroy a business or a product in a matter of minutes using fake reviews and claims and posting it online for the world to see.
Some might argue that even bad publicity can be used to a business’ advantage. However, that may not always be the case. This is where the responsibilities of content moderators are very crucial in ensuring a product or service makes the right first impression and maintains that positive impact.
Aside from checking and filtering content submitted by community members, the responsibilities of an online community moderator include the following:
Online community moderators may also be required to coordinate with appropriate authorities should there be cases wherein a community member’s safety and privacy is in grave threat.
Having moderators not only buffers businesses and the internet community from disruptive text and graphic content. They serve as the mediators between brands and their audience, helping initiate clearer and more straightforward communication between the two parties.
Knowing that community moderators work closely and frequently with the members’ activities and posts adds more value to their input in the decision making process of enhancing a business’ digital branding and marketing game plan. In fact, around 96% of companies at present are recognizing the value of end-user contributions through their online communities.
When customers are given a platform where their voices and opinions are heard, it strengthens the relationship that brand owners have with them. Product and service development adhere more to what end-users demand while in return, support from customers comes naturally and is no longer given out of sheer persuasion.
All in all, a good online community moderator protects a business’ reputation online while also prioritizing how a brand can build its way to success and foster better connections with their target audience. More importantly, brands, particularly those investing on building a strong online presence shouldn’t underestimate the positive difference that tried-and-tested moderation service can bring.
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