Can over-moderating harm your online reputation?

Faith Ocampo Published on August 24, 2016

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When you over-moderate user-generated content, you’re compromising your commitment to promote transparency and champion the voice of the customer.

There’s no denying that content moderation, a key part of reputation management, lets brands deliver high-quality content for their customers. It keeps digital environments safe and conducive for healthy conversations, and this works favorably for business organizations. Providing people a harm-free avenue for making themselves heard can build trust and bridge gaps between consumers and brands.
As a rule of thumb, there are three types of content that brands shouldn’t allow on their online platforms: scam, spam, and offensive posts. Some, however, overdo their job by removing negative customer reviews or by creating policies that are unnecessarily strict. Although they’re usually done to protect a brand’s online reputation, these practices can severely backfire.

surprised office employee taped mouth by laptop

So although some types of content can be a cause of worry, moderators need to find the balance between letting customers express themselves while still protecting the brand’s image. Excessive moderation can send the wrong message, especially in a marketplace that prizes the voice of the customer above everything else. Two things can happen when you over-moderate.

First, you stifle customers’ voice.

Brands that give customers the freedom to speak up are able to empower consumer communities. It’s one of the best ways to increase communication between companies and their target sectors. On the other hand, when organizations fail to listen to their customers’ views, especially the negative ones, they’ll most surely drive customers away.

Next, people trust you less.

The real challenge for brands is to build trust among skeptic consumers, and this goal is becoming increasingly elusive as more and more firms compete with one another. Promoting transparency is one way to prove that you’re trustworthy, but if you ignore or hide people’s online comments, this will be a long, uphill battle. For the most part, the enemy here is your unattainable desire to create a perfect online reputation.

 

How can you avoid over-moderating?

bearded office worker looking at folder of reports with magnifying lens

Letting negative customer reviews stay on your website or social media pages can indeed be risky, especially once they’re read by your prospects. The right thing to do, however, is to turn the bad publicity into an opportunity. Respond promptly to customers’ complaints and show them (and other users, too) that you’re working on giving them a better experience.
When it comes to other types of user-submitted content, implementing a consistent set of policies for content moderation is a big help. Having an established guide on how to deal with all types of content will streamline all moderation-related activities, saving you plenty of time and boosting your efficiency.
However, coming up with a single set of policies to be applied across your online channels can be tricky. Consumers may have different notions on what’s appropriate to share on the web. Also, some platforms may provide more leeway on the types of acceptable content.
When in doubt, remember that your policies must reflect your values as an organization. Your end goal should always be to listen to customers, give them equal amounts of opportunities to speak up, and build trust.

Faith is a digital media enthusiast aiming to become an active part of the tech world by sharing her insights. She likes to blog about everything digimarketing, technology, and social media.
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