Social media marketing and other forms of online marketing have forever changed the way businesses implement their sales and marketing efforts.Internet forums and social networking websites have opened new frontiers for organisation to connect with their customers. According to figures from Hitwise, Australia, forum usage and social networking have grown by 36.1 percent in 2010 as compared to the figures from the previous year. Used correctly these internet forums can augment your social media marketing efforts. However with the huge growth of internet forums, issues such as spam, trolls, derailing and irrelevant comments also reared their ugly heads. This is where forum moderation comes into play. Forum moderation helps to keep online forums clean and relevant as well as enjoyable. Here in this article we will look at the various aspects of forums and forum moderation as part of your social media marketing efforts.
Forums and Forum Moderation as a Social Media Marketing Tool
Forums and forum moderation can prove to be great social media marketing tools for businesses and companies. The basic idea behind using forums as a social media marketing tool is that eventually customers of a company will need a place where they can come together and discuss information. This setup may include sections like comments, complaints and advice. However for a company to actually benefit from forums, it is important that it occurs in an environment where free speech and control are balanced. Forum moderation takes care of this aspect of and keeps things under control while still allowing for legitimate criticism.
Apart from that, forums and forum moderation can also play a role for promoting your company’s website. Usually forums allow you to attach signatures to posts. These can be used to attach texts as well as hyperlinks to specific SEO optimised websites. However, the post must be legitimate and relevant to the thread’s topic.
Social Media Marketing: What Does Forum Moderation Involve?
Forum moderation involves keeping a watch over the forum and enforcing forum policies and rules. Forum moderation as a social media marketing tool can also be used to answer questions and settle disputes among members. Forum moderators have access to all threads and posts. Based on the forum rules and regulations and end user agreements, moderators can delete or modify posts (abusive posts and trolls) which violate the forum’s regulations and also ban or suspend non complying members and spammers. Abusive posts and spam comments are detrimental to the success of your online community which is why forum moderation is so important. For instance, if the forum discussion’s tone moves towards personal attacks or turns hostile, the moderator has the ability to prevent heated exchanges by freezing the discussion. He may also hide those posts which he feels are unworthy of any further discussion.
However, one important thing to keep in mind when moderating forums is that one should maintain discretion. Many forum moderators might ban members under suspicions of spamming delete posts they disagree with without doing any research or checks. This is however a mistake. Forum moderation when done incorrectly may prove to be worse for your social media marketing and brand management efforts than no moderation. Overzealous moderation may result in forum members feeling angry and alienated when they see their accounts or posts deleted for no apparent reason. A forum relies on the members, so before taking any action moderators must make sure they are taking an informed decision.
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