In recent years, user-generated content (UGC) has become a force of nature.

Whether you believe your business engages in a formal content marketing program, or not, odds are good that you have UGC in some format or another.

For example, you may not maintain an active blog, but you could still have an online profile that has pictures added to it and is reviewed by users. Anytime customers, users, or anyone external to your business (competitors, casual bystanders, etc.) can contribute content about your business digitally and publicly, you have UGC. The great benefit about this is you get unfiltered feedback from people who are, theoretically, unbiased and fairly critiquing you and your business. But the downside is there are a lot of gray areas at best, and pitfalls at worst.

Take, for instance, visitor comments on a blog post you’ve published. The majority of commenters are likely to comment only because they genuinely have something to share with you. Whether it’s positive encouragement, or constructive criticism, these folks probably understand common courtesy and have well-meaning intentions. But there’s a group of people who use the Internet as an avenue for spreading negative ideas or even disgusting messages. Because of this, any company that has a digital presence in which user-generated content could arise, needs to invest in a moderation partner. Here’s what that is, and why you need to consider it.

There are many forms of content moderation, but in general it’s a combination of tools, processes and somebody is assigned the job of reviewing user-generated content on your website, or social media channels for example, in order to determine if it’s appropriate or inappropriate. Once the content is reviewed, it’s either left as-is or removed from your business’ public profile.

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Why Moderation is Essential

Whether you have damaging UGC infiltrating your digital channels or not, you owe it to your brand to monitor what others are saying in response to you. For example, if you’re a travel company and have worked hard to establish a specific brand, mission and tone, you’ve honed your messaging and you care deeply about your customers as well as your brand image. An ill-intentioned person could leave a scathing review on one of your pages for no apparent reason, and it could turn away many potential customers.

In order to maintain consistent messaging, and keep a positive, professional online image, you need a partner to handle your community management. If you’re in the hospitality industry, for example, and a guest writes to you via a Facebook message, you need to know that someone who believes in your vision will be responding – promptly and in the same tone and language as your business – to that person. Social and other digital channels are all about interaction with prospects and customers, and it’s imperative you have some level of moderation management in place to foster positive relationships and curtail negative ones.

Do I Need a Moderation Partner?

If you have a small business and a limited digital presence, you might be able to have a single content moderator who can keep tabs on all of your online channels and accompanying user-generated content. But as soon as your business starts to scale or grow beyond a few people or customers submitting UGC in other languages you might want to consider getting a qualified moderation partner. It’s a very big job to have dedicated internal staff for community management, and the demands of the position often grow as the company does. It’s also a lot to ask of someone untrained to jump in and handle this often complex and messy field, if moderation isn’t their core competency. For all of these reasons, it’s a good idea to trust content moderation to a company that specializes in this niche area and knows how to handle the spectrum of situations that come along with it.

When all’s said and done, moderation is a must-have for smooth customer support and a positive customer experience. This enables companies to have access to what their customers are saying and wanting, and to moderate content being shared on all platforms for the safety of all visitors and the integrity of the brand. And the best way to handle this effectively is by partnering with a company that specializes in moderation. Contact us to learn more about our moderation services, or if you have any questions about UGC or content moderation options.

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