Guide on how to outsource social media moderation
Social Media is important
Businesses crave for visibility; of the positive kind. The kind where their business is spoken well of, products appreciated, customer service lauded.
The business can say good things about itself, and nobody can stop them. This is what businesses do through advertising. They pay money to post positive messages about their business and products in the media so that their target population will see it and think better of them and buy more from them.
They can also place positive messaging about themselves on their website. This is somewhat akin to paid advertising. You buy a domain, buy hosting space, probably pay a design and development professional to create the website where you say nice things about yourself.
And that is one of the challenges of this approach. You say nice things about yourself. The discerning customer sees through this and is unimpressed. The other challenge is that there is really no reason why your target audience will come to your website and read/ view your ‘positive’ messaging.
This is why it has come to occupy such an important role in the media strategy for businesses. It has the potential to create a vibrant community around your business that will serve to promote its interests. And since it is independent feedback and views posted by people who don’t have an interest in the money the business makes, they become a source of believable information.
Social Media has challenges
There are no unmixed blessings.
While social media can create a vibrant community around your business or product, being independent, it operates without control or inhibition which, in turn, can be harmful for your brand and do exactly the opposite of what you wanted to leverage social media for.
Content posted on social media may not just be harmful for your brand, but could also violate commonly understood guidelines of civil society, like gore, nudity, abuse, hate-speech, etc. Though visitors might understand that it has nothing to do with your business, it will still have a rub-off effect on your business.
Thankfully, these are only a small portion of the posts.
Much of the interaction that happens in the community you create is beneficial. Positive comments and feedback provide an opportunity for showcasing and highlighting your strengths to others. Negative feedback can serve to fix issues being highlighted and go back stronger. You get customer insights in a close-to-natural setting where customers are posting without duress or pressure. In some ways, the purest form of input for your business.
Obviously, you would want the benefits to continue and multiply.
Since we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater, we need to find a solution.
Social media moderation solutions is the answer
The answer lies in moderating social media user-generated content (UGC).
The process of screening and filtering content on your social media pages can be defined as social media moderation. Its objective is to not only ensure that you are filtering or weeding out content that could be offensive, think porn, think violence, think gratuitous mud-slinging, but also promoting healthy interactions towards fulfilment of your objectives of social media presence.
If social media presence is part of the strategy, your presence and involvement in it becomes a requirement in any case. Consumers may drop messages to you on one of your platforms. You need to pick it up and respond. If you are not in a position to, then you should rethink your social media strategy.
Moderation goes a step beyond participation and exercises control over the content being posted.
It is not as straightforward as it may seem. For example, if a consumer has posted a review that portrays your product in bad light, while you do take the feedback and will do a review of the product, will you permit it to be visible or not on the platform? Different companies may take different stands on this.
A clearly articulated social media policy is generally a good starting point and any moderation should be in line with it. This can help you avoid causing offence to people posting in good faith but inadvertently stepping across the acceptability line. It is, after all, your page and you have a right to determine what is acceptable and what is not.
An example of a policy posted by the University of Colorado, Denver: Social Media Moderation (ucdenver.edu).
Who should moderate?
Should you outsource social media moderation or keep it inhouse?
The explosion in activity on social media witnessed over the last decade, with many organisations needing to respond in fairly similar manner, has resulted in the emergence of a specialised skill-set of social media moderators. Though each owner may define their own rules, in many cases, they are similar, guided as they are by the general code of conduct of civil society.
As a result, instead of building this specialised skill-set inhouse, businesses find better value in relying on the accumulated expertise and skills built by a vendor who offers social media moderation services as a service.
Unless you have strong reasons for keeping it inhouse, outsourcing should be the default option.
Choosing a Provider for Social media moderation Solutions
That means you will need a business partner; someone with expertise in the service you seek. Though at times it can be a challenge to reach the message across to potential vendors, normally, as businesses themselves, providers, like bees, should be able to divine the source of the honey (your business) and make a beeline for it. What we will focus on here is the criteria you should use to identify the most suitable provider for you to outsource social media moderation to.
Consistent delivery of quality service
Prospective vendors should be able to demonstrate a high level of accuracy, meeting or exceeding agreed service levels, preferably in a process similar to the one you seek to outsource. Supporting testimonials from clients of these services will also create confidence in their ability.
With social media moderation services being done for several clients over eight years of operation, oWorkers has continued to build its own knowledge in the space that has enabled us to provide inputs to clients that have enabled them to update their own policies regarding moderation. Many of our clients are referenceable and, we believe, will be open to discussing their engagement with us.
Preparedness for virtual, distributed workforce
When you outsource social media moderation, you cannot pretend that Covid-19 did not happen. It has caused an upheaval in the world, uprooted many of our closely held beliefs and forced us to negotiate many non-negotiable ones. For many BPO clients, work being done from physically secure premises was one that many clients would insist on. Come Covid-19, and boundaries had to be redrawn. The same clients today are happy that work has continued, with agents and supervisors working from home and connecting virtually to client systems, knowledge tools, work rosters, monitoring schedules and, of course, with each other.
oWorkers has been quick off the blocks ever since the world went into lockdown, to ensure client businesses remain unaffected to a great extent. We allow our staff to work from home; the option being with the staff member. We have also put in place hiring and training systems which enable us to hire resources without ever meeting them face to face, as well as training them. The same being the case with the Internal Quality team who access transactions and provide feedback to agents virtually. We are seamlessly able to switch between onsite and virtual operations, including delivering with an integrated model.
Contemporary People Management practices
People being a key resource in any BPO that you outsource social media moderation to, ensuring transparency and reasonableness in their treatment separates successful from the non-so-successful BPOs. While much of the demonstration may be academic, based on theoretical practices shared by the vendor, attrition is one parameter which often reveals the true nature of its practices. As a bugbear of BPOs, attrition has no equal. It creates a need for constant hiring and training, which is a drain on company finances. It also results in draining accumulated wealth of knowledge, which impacts on quality of delivery.
As a strategy meant to deliver long-term benefit, oWorkers has chosen to work with employees on our rolls, and not freelancers and consultants on short contracts. It enables us to build relationships and show employees a career path. Our attrition numbers remain best in class. We are consistently rated 4.6 or more on Glassdoor by our employees.
Workforce Planning and Management
The team that ensures optimum resource utilization, especially the human resource, has their task cut out in a distributed operation environment. Creating rosters, work schedules, ensuring adherence, has become all the more challenging. A vendor with the tools and ability to continue to deliver, can give that edge to your business as well, when you outsource social media moderation to them.
With our technology infrastructure, oWorkers provides flexibility to its staff to work either from home or office in a seamless manner, the choice being the employee’s. The communication tools deployed on the internet bring everyone together, facilitating the task of the Workforce Planning team.
Independent Internal Quality process
The Internal Quality (IQ) team is a fixture of most forward-looking BPOs. It functions outside the delivery structure and not only monitors their performance, but also provides corrective inputs. It is normally staffed by the people considered as experts in the process, who have the ability to monitor and guide others. It provides ‘assurance’ to senior management that the process is functioning along lines expected by the client.
oWorkers has adopted the independent structure of the IQ team for its social media moderation solutions. It reports to senior management who rely on their inputs for feedback on performance. Our IQ team serves as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the client and is able to implement corrections before the errors cause dependent processes on the client side to suffer. With this team’s support, oWorkers is able to deliver accuracy levels better than 99%.
Pricing is competitive and value accretive
This is an integral part of any commercial engagement, lower being obviously better. However, pricing should be viewed in the context of social media moderation services being a B2B engagement where the bouquet of services will be unique. Hence, ‘better value’ and not ‘lower price’ should be the guiding principle.
Being the most valuable provider is the goal of oWorkers, not being the cheapest, though we may be the cheapest on many occasions without trying to be. With our pricing options for clients, of choosing between dollars per unit of time and dollars per unit of output, clients can choose what works best for them.
Support for multilingual delivery
This is a necessary condition in an increasingly global world. Many businesses today have a global footprint and the ones that do not are trying hard to get it. For social media moderation services. multilingual support is essential as a social media imprint could arise from any part of the world, in any language, even though the business may not be serving customers in that part.
With support provided in over 20 languages, oWorkers is primed to be a partner in the expansion drive of its clients who don’t need to go looking for more partners for the same service.
Deploys modern tools and technology
As a dynamic, incessant activity, social media moderation has few parallels. Someone, somewhere, could be posting content on your social media profiles at any point of time. Sometimes there could be a flood of posts at the same time, especially on social media platforms of big and popular consumer businesses. Manual moderation can be expensive. Modern tools and technologies, driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) become necessary for such businesses.
With the help of our alliances with owners of key technologies, we offer the most current technologies required for social media moderation solutions.
Scalability and access to human resources
Being a people driven business where attrition is a feature, interested parties need to demonstrate the ability to hire regularly at reasonable cost. Further, when you outsource social media moderation, as a result of seasonality and other factors, volumes can fluctuate, requiring the BPO to meet short-term resource requirements as well. The greater the effort required in accessing interested pools of candidates, the greater the financial pressure.
oWorkers has access to talent pools as we are a preferred employer owing to our deep involvement with the communities we work in. This enables us to hire throughout the year without excessive effort in unearthing fresh talent pools. It also gives us the flexibility to hire for short-term spikes as our talent pool trusts us in making the right choices, like retaining them if there is a possibility.
Project Management expertise
The beginning of a relationship between a client and a BPO delivery partner, when delivery needs to be uprooted from its moorings on the client side and placed on the vendor side, can be a traumatic experience, like giving birth. There are many moving parts that often go out of control, requiring managerial skill and experience to bring back in line. It calls for expertise in Project Management and Transition to ensure the engagement gets off to a flying start. Like they say, ‘well begun is half done.’
With over a hundred transitions under its belt, with each new instance adding to the already deep knowledge base, oWorkers has ‘been there, done that.’
oWorkers is a GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified provider and operates from three global delivery centers that can provide business contingency for your work. We specialise in data and back-office BPO work. Our 24×7 operational machinery can cover all time zones in the world. Our clients advise savings of up to 80% when they outsource social media moderation work to us. We hope you will too.