Use Content Moderation to Ensure Fair Play
There is a torrent of content being produced and distributed through the various social platforms. The overwhelming volume may have us believe it is impossible to keep watch over it all. That’s not true, at least for content created by marketers. The FTC has refreshed their Truth in .com Disclosures Report. It is a good idea to review their latest take on how to remain within their guidelines and prepare effective disclosures. But apart from marketers who are being encouraged to play by the rules, there is no big brother per se making sure content from consumers is screened for truth or accuracy. The public is generally left to judge of what content is credible, calling out what is untrue and controversial to put pressure on getting it right. “You have an identity, use it. You have a voice, express yourself,” Facebook chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, often says to marketing executives interested in giving their brand a persona on social media. “Your customers are listening and your customers are talking, so engage them.”
That word engage can mean many things. It is certainly steering a storyline or theme so that you brand naturally fits in, ideally with some solution to a need they have. After all this is marketing not a family party. It can’t be conversation for the sake of passing time. And engagement is also part vigilance. A brand can’t ignore disingenuous or offensive comments even if they benefit their side of the tale. This is a typical example. Earlier this summer a trade publication published an article on U.S Beer sales. It was factual. Big brewers are struggling, craft brewers are not. Because social media is an open invite someone commented that one particular craft beer “eats the lunch” of the larger brewers product and added their own doctored rendering of the larger brewers logo. It was inappropriate. Content moderation provided by the craft beer manufacturer found and resolved the situation. This is an example of a brand remaining engaged while maintaining integrity.
Content created for contests is a bit different. The added incentive to create content in for the form of a potential prize amplifies the need to moderate and get it right, right from the beginning. So while most social content is moderated in reaction to posts, contest entries must be moderated before posting. The reason is competition. Add a competitive spirit to the mix and you as the sponsor need to increase your attention to fair play.
There are many resources you can turn to handle moderation. Some are technology based and offer sophisticated filtering software that targets problem words. These are helpful for situations where you are not looking to interpret what is being written. When you want to judge and otherwise rank or score content based on criteria you select you will need humans. A good judging organization has staff at the ready to handle small, medium and large amounts of content. It also will be able to assist in creating actionable criteria and advise on other structural issues surrounding a user generated content contest.
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