One thing we’re often staggered by here at Tea Social is how many companies seem to be dabbling in the social media sphere without having any formal plan of how it should be working for them. Certainly these brands should be commended for attempting to establish themselves in this important area, but it’s not something that can be undertaken lightly.
The initial step for most is to open up some kind of commenting system on their websites. For media companies, this is an excellent way of developing an engaged audience and a way of bringing more valued content to the site through users offering their own opinions.
What we see all too often though is that these sites simply aren’t prepared for what the users will inevitably get up to. However friendly a community you may be able to build [and that in itself will require work], depending on users to keep the environment relaxed and friendly is sadly all too optimistic. Users will always push the boundaries as much as they can, starting from regular users taking odd shots at each other in comments. At the other extreme, there are far more serious incidents like users posting libellous comment on news stories, opening up the brand to potential legal action.
Of course, moderation of these comments is critical [and not just in a “see what they post and worry about it later” system]. There are a number of ways to effectively monitor community discussions to stop things from getting out of hand. This can involve every comment being checked before it goes live [pre-moderation], a more reactive technique where things are checked afterwards [post-m0deration] or something in between. All of these methods have their pros and cons and we’ll be discussing them here in due course.
Knowing which method is most suitable for your community can be challenging but Tea Social are happy to help. We’ll sit down and talk to you about exactly what would be best for both you and the users of your community so that you can be prepared for whatever might crop up in the future.