When communities and moderators collide on social media channels, it’s one person’s style against the other with no hard or fast rules. Nurturing a social media community takes gentle enforcement with just enough engagement to attract the lurkers and a welcoming gesture every now and again to keep those a bit shy engaging.
Google+ Communities spawned a fire storm last week when everyone flocked (yes we did, albeit there were a handful of naysayers and bah-humbuggers) to either launch or join a community. (This is your own very special invite to join my Bloggers Unite! Google+ Community.)
When groups, chats, or communities have one moderator, it’s simple. No one steps on one another’s toes; no one has to ask permission or forgiveness…it’s just one style and no one else. When there are two or three or more moderators, what are the rules? There are none; you go by instinct, yet it may be valuable to have a conversation about:
- Daily question of the day—should you take turns or the one in the earliest time zone engages in the morning?
- How fast should a moderator remark on a comment by a community member?
- What should be the tone of the comments – formal, friendly or a combo of both?
- Should both moderators read and remark on all the posts or can the team divide and conquer?
- How long and engaged should comments be from moderators?
I have a suspicion that no moderating team on Google+ has had any such discussion, and that’s OK. Everyone is testing and feeling their way because as said up top – there are no hard or fast rules.
Let instinct guide you, and this is what you may get for the first rule book:
- In the morning, do ask a question of the day to try and engage the community. Hopefully, someone will share experiences to kick start comments.
- When a new commenter posts an article, link or content, give it a bit of time before immediately commenting. No need to pounce on someone right away.
- Everyone should try to read new posts by folks and make a quick comment about content.
- When time is of the essence, go ahead and use the +1 as acknowledgment. At least the person posting knows someone is paying attention.
- There is no need to put forth the expectation that every single item posted will get a response; if it’s poor quality or goes against the grain of the community, then a moderator shouldn’t necessarily promote that.
- If a post feels like spam, it probably is…moderators need to take action, especially if it’s blatant.
- Banter is perfect, but there is a time, place and frequency for it. It’s up to the moderators to elevate a post to LOL status, or keep it on the down low and move on to the next comment.
- When new folks comment, and someone strongly disagrees, it’s up to the moderator to bring balance to the discussion. One thing to avoid is blatant disrespect of community members.
- One thing about Google+ Communities (and Google+), anyone can join a community; groups are not locked unless moderators designate it as a gated community. There is likely to be spam and a bit of heckling; moderators need to be on guard for that and protect the integrity of the community as best as possible.
- Every now and again, moderators should welcome new members and share the rules and tonality of the group. Each Google+ Community has a different tone, and it’s easily apparent in comments and posts throughout the stream.
- If moderators see the stream taking a nose dive, they ought to jump in and balance with neutral language to ensure everyone remains positive.
This is my instinctual nurturing of a social media group…who has more experience and can lend some actuals?