Guest blog by: Shaun Lin, Director, Channel Partnerships, Bazaarvoice
User Generated Content (UGC), like customer reviews, images, and questions, has an almost-endless list of benefits. But only if it’s genuine, authentic UGC. Which, sadly, isn’t always the case. That’s why content moderation is a big part of what we do at Bazaarvoice, albeit behind the scenes. Our moderation team is like the screenwriters of a great movie—often the unsung heroes, but fundamental to success.
Using our own expertise, we’ve compiled some best practices on how and why to maintain quality UGC, and build loyalty with content moderation.
Table of Contents
Why do we need to moderate User Generated Content?
Because content moderation protects your brand and your customers. It can be the difference between making your brand (authentic, sharable customer photos) or breaking your brand (prohibited UGC that becomes a PR nightmare).
It can also help you better serve customers or find brand ambassadors. In the course of moderating content, you may find really good User Generated Content that you can repurpose on other channels. This might include customers you want to give extra attention to because they’re a great advocate. Or customers that had a bad experience and need some white-glove treatment.
Authentic reviews builds trust and loyalty
We believe that authenticity and trust in UGC is foundational to the value it provides shoppers, brands, and retailers. Our best-in-class authenticity processes and technologies, alongside our helping to author ISO standard 20488 establishing best practices for customer reviews, serve as examples of our commitment to maintaining this trust.
We utilize the same fraud detection processes as banks and financial services companies, and we’re constantly innovating to protect our clients and shoppers from fraudulent, suspicious and inappropriate content. We’re fully committed to working with our clients to ensure the authenticity of their review content.
Types of content moderation
You should implement a content moderation process and use people or technology to support your efforts. These are basic categories from Spectrum Labs to outline how the process might look:
This is when a person, or tool, accepts or rejects UGC before it’s published. It’s also referred to as “pre-moderation”.
The opposite of the above. Here, a person or tool reviews UGC after publication.
This is when content is flagged to moderators as inappropriate by others, who can then delete it.
This means that submitted UGC is automatically moderated (accepted, rejected, or sent to human moderation) according to your brand’s guidelines and rules. This depends on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Note: While automation can be prone to misjudgments, it also reduces the need for manual reviews, which minimizes the negative mental health impact that toxic or disturbing content can have. Those types of content are blocked before human moderators are exposed to it.
User Generated Content moderation tactics
Content moderation policies and tools vary depending on the brand and the channel. But the ultimate goal of content moderation teams is to keep truth and transparency as a number one priority—wherever the content is.
First and foremost, it’s about keeping on top of and proactively removing any prohibited UGC before it sees the light of day.
Here are some tips to help you take your first steps into the world of online content moderation, and build consumer trust as you go.
Not all customer experiences are going to be great. But that doesn’t mean hiding negative information to get more people to buy. Hiding low-star reviews in a way that drives high-star ratings can increase sales in the short run.
However, that will also lead to more returns. Which will mean a reduction in sales in the long run. And these days, customers see through those tactics anyway. They’ll simply take their business to a brand that shows both positives and negatives.
Identify the reviewer
Another useful tip for ensuring quality is to identify the reviewer. What’s their name, location, and are they independent or an employee? Offering this level of detail boosts the credibility of the review and helps to assure prospective customers that your brand isn’t keeping secrets or spreading disinformation.
You can also add “verified purchase” badges to UGC. These show potential customers that the review came from a real person, who actually bought the product.
Disclose payments and biases
Sponsored content is common. That’s nothing new. Especially on Instagram and Tiktok. But content creators and influencers have to make it clear when they’re being paid for a promotion. They can be penalized if they don’t label that content as an ad. And so can you.
So make sure your audience is fully aware if a creator is being paid for a post or not. Yes, this may slightly damage the customer’s perception of the product, but it will be much less damaging than if you don’t disclose it.
Besides, prospective customers will appreciate your brand’s transparency and be more likely to trust other reviews.
We’ve explored what quality UGC is and the importance of UGC moderation. To learn more on this topic, watch our on-demand webinar, The audit your UGC program needs.
To learn more about how to improve security, data privacy and consumer trust, read Annex Cloud’s Best Practices Guide.