What you need to know about Social Media Moderation
Social Media is an integral part of modern-day life. In technical terms it could be described as a technology through which people can interact with each other with the help of a computing device like a laptop or mobile phone, which is connected to the internet. It is estimated that more than half the population of the world uses social media, of course some more than others.
Interactions happen over a platform that has been created for the purpose. While each platform may have its own unique features and positioning, their collective success can be seen in them being among the most well-known and frequently-used technologies today. Of course, apart from the fact that the founders of some of these platforms are among the richest people in the world.
The design of these platforms is meant to facilitate the free flow of information and ideas among participants, enabling access to the hidden corners of the platform to all comers. Of course, in the course of development, now there are facilities that enable interactions to be limited to defined sets of users, should that choice be made. Each platform operates on the basis of a set of rules and regulations that users have to sign up for.
The interactions that take place on these platforms are now referred to as User Generated Content (UGC); content that could be published (generated/ posted) by anyone using the platform, and not limited to a defined set of publishers as might have been the case in the publishing world of yore.
As one of the top three data services BPO providers in the world, with a leadership team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience, oWorkers has been active for over 7 years in providing a variety of back-office services, including social media related, enabling clients to focus on their core business.
The need for social media moderation
So, it’s great, right? People can connect with each other. They can share ideas and thoughts. Even pictures and videos, of a vacation, an event in the family, anything. People also claim that thanks to social media they have been able to connect back with friends and family members they had lost touch with many years back.
The openness and popularity of social media themselves have become challenges.
We know one rotten apple can spoil the whole basket. The social media basket consists of over 3.5 billion users. That is a lot of apples. Even at extremely low percentages, a few of these apples being bad, or turning bad from time, is always a possibility.
What does that mean?
It can result in content being published that not only violates the policies of the platform but also is unacceptable from a social, ethical, moral standpoint. All users on the platform are not mere consumers, they are publishers as well. These publishers, while they operate within the context of the society that we live in, and ought to abide by its guiding principles, can be in a frame of mind where they stop caring about consequences. They feel safe and powerful ensconced in their own dark corner of the internet from where they can unleash vitriol on the unsuspecting world.
Expressions of anger, hate, perversion can find expression in the form of content shared on social media. Think a video of child pornography. Think an audio of a speech from a religious fanatic urging followers to perpetrate violence on non-believers. Think gory images of physical violence and battery.
In the internet age, publishing is instant. You press the Save/ Upload button and your content can become available. Unless held back for a review.
This is where social media moderation comes into the picture in an effort to weed out such content and limit the damage such offensive content could do if permitted to remain available. It could be defined as the review and management of UGC that is being uploaded every second, in order to keep the platform clean and wholesome.
With the help of its mature relationships with technology companies, oWorkers is uniquely placed to leverage the latest as well as emerging technologies for the work they do for clients. As a GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified provider, oWorkers maintains the highest standards in data security, keeping client information secure.
Social Media for business
As with many good things, social media originated as a means of communicating between people. We have all heard of the stories about how the Facebook founder did the coding for the platform in his dorm in Harvard, initially meant as a tool for students to communicate with each other.
However, it is always difficult to foresee what the future holds.
The popularity of social media platforms is now a part of history. With more and more people joining social media platforms and using them extensively, businesses and organizations, initially on the sidelines, started salivating at the prospect of the opportunities they could visualize. Both in terms of being able to take their brand messages across as well as reaching large swathes of target consumers in a more economical and focused manner than permitted by traditional media.
Gradually social media has become an indispensable tool for companies. Social accounts are the virtual avatars of the brand. They engage fans, reach out to target prospective customers and, in general, build a community around the brand and the company that can keep doing the good work even while the employed people in the company are asleep. It is used to drive revenue generation (isn’t that the only goal of all businesses, apart from a profitable bottom line?), reach customers in a targeted, profiled way, and offer customer service. Since social media each transaction is based on clicking something, which gets recorded, it also becomes a useful tool to gather information about customers and trends.
With its usefulness now beyond doubt, in order to leverage the reach of social media, companies set up communities, groups and pages to create communities around their products and brands, through which they hope to spread the good word about themselves as well as reach out to many new customers. These communities have also become sources of information and feedback regarding the company from genuine, unbiased users.
And since it is a community they are creating, they need to take responsibility for ensuring that it stays within the defined rules and regulations of the community, as well as generally accepted social norms. This becomes the other use case for social media moderation.
If you are interested in buying a company’s product and looking for information, will you trust the company’s own information sources about its quality or feedback from users who have no personal interest in you buying that brand?
Genuine users, of course. Right?
This explains why social media platforms have become so critical to all businesses. They need to create thriving, participating communities around their brand.
Several unicorn marketplaces trust oWorkers in doing key activities for them. Many of them, especially the ones located in the US and Western Europe, have noted savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to oWorkers. They also appreciate the transparent options they get in pricing, between dollars per unit of input and dollars per unit of output.
Benefits of social media moderation for companies
How does it help?
Ensures correct information is available to customers and visitors
Today, it is now routine for customers, or prospective customers, to visit the social media avatars of companies to know more about them. They could be looking for a service center, or a number to call for some requirement. Moderation ensures that the information available to visitors is accurate. Some may consider it unethical, but instances of companies placing incorrect information on competitor websites is not unheard of. You don’t want to be the victim of such a scheme.
Influences buying decisions
This could be seen as an extension of the previous point. It is estimated that over half of all buyers seek feedback about their target product and company from their social media presence. As discussed elsewhere, a genuine, unbiased feedback is worth much more than a company’s own, motivated information packs and advertising. Revenue being the bloodstream of a commercial organization, this alone is reason enough for social media moderation.
Creates the right brand persona
A thriving, participative web property is the dream of all brands. If the community gets rocked by offensive posts and media from time to time, which is unacceptable to the main target population, it will put them off and reduce the web property to a dark, desolate piece of wasteland. The brnd need to prevent that from happening.
Prevents people from voting with their feet
Most participants have no stake in the failure or success of the company. They don’t get any money out of talking well of the product, or participating. They might do it for various reasons of their own, including earning bragging rights for using a certain product and genuinely trying to help others with their honest feedback. Besides, they generally have a device at hand through which a quick comment is always possible.
People can choose not to participate or leave at the slightest provocation. Prevent that from happening by ensuring social media moderation in your community.
Gets quick, objective analytics and feedback
Connected participants are a great free resource. They talk well of your products and even give you feedback when something goes wrong, say a spelling error in one of your latest promotion campaigns. You’d rather get the bad news from a person well disposed towards your company, than someone who is not, who will simply walk away. This valuable, free resource can be nurtured if you stay on top of what is happening in your community.
Whatever be your reason for initiating the activity, the 24/7 operation run by oWorkers ensures quick turnaround on transactions. It can also provide business continuity in case of a particular location not being accessible on account of a natural or man-made crisis.
You are not alone
Every activity and task adds up, consumes resources and takes away from the basic purpose of an enterprise.
Would you rather evaluate the risk in a new application for insurance or worry about how to moderate?
Would you rather design better semiconductor chips or worry about how to moderate?
Social media moderation is no different. In fact, it is considered as a particularly difficult task, as moderators are tasked with experiencing the darkest, most pernicious parts of what the web has to offer, and manage it so that others don’t get exposed and negatively impacted. In short, they face the bullets so that others can stay safe.
The job does not leave any physical scars that can be identified and treated. It works gradually on the psyche, leaving deep scars that might express themselves in unknown, unpredictable ways.
Companies like oWorkers who have been providing these services to clients across the world, have developed strategies to keep their employees safe while ensuring the work is not neglected.
Being preferred employers in their delivery locations gives them a choice of talent as they receive a continuous stream of walk-in candidates looking for jobs. Being engaged in multiple data-based services for different clients gives them the flexibility of staff rotation as well as the ability to hire a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ when the existing pair is reaching the limit of its capacity. In fact, the access to talent pools enables oWorkers to handle unexpected peaks in volume without breaking a sweat. This can be a huge advantage for clients as they don’t have to pay for keeping idle resources.
Companies are increasingly opting for outsourced services like those provided by oWorkers for ensuring the work is done efficiently while not exposing their own staff to jobs that they are not skilled for, apart from saving them from the exposure to the dark side of the web.
Additionally, oWorkers typically operates in less privileged communities. Client work enables them to engage underprivileged youngsters from local communities and usher them into the global digital economy. Your work will enable them to do the same for a few more.