10 Best Practices When Moderating Online Communities

Published Apr 29, 2021

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Have an online community, discussion group, forum, or bulletin board that you are moderating? Below are some quick tips that will help you to optimize engagement and enhance your moderating abilities, especially when using live discussions.

  1. Pre-plan: Pre-plan or create a calendar/draft of questions, surveys, touchpoints, topics that you want to have answered. It’ll make it easier for you when it comes time to post topics. Touchpoints can include invitation emails, welcome posts, and reminder emails. 
  2. Be clear: Fill the virtual distance with clarity. Specify the duration for the community, reward logic, and make sure the last topic of each day introduces the tasks for the coming events. Keep topic descriptions short, explain exactly what participants need to do.
  3. Introduce yourself: Answer the topic questions yourself. Introduce yourself, share details about yourself.
  4. Use conversational language: Talk to these participants like you are talking to new acquaintances. They are going to be your new friends for the duration of the event. Be casual but not too casual. Don’t use big words or market research language.
  5. Give thanks: Like each comment made using the “thumb” button, and also thank each participant within the first few topics. Use their username. Think about how special you might feel when a higher-up in your company calls you out on a great job you did, or a teacher in elementary school who gave you a gold star. That’s how these members feel when you recognize them. A simple thank you goes a long way. Acknowledgment is key.
  6. Be present and respond to participants and recognize certain users for their efforts on the first day: Remember you are not a silent observer. If you want your community to be lively and insightful, you should be present on a regular basis. Let username1 know that he/she made a good point and that you’ve never thought of that before, or how that one point is going to change the way you see your brand. Interact with the whole group and one-to-one.
  7. Remove fluff comments: Prepare for some random off-topic comments to keep the flow of the conversation focused.
  8. Add media: Adding images, video, thumbs, and surveys into the topic are a great way to mix it up and keep it interesting for the participant.
  9. Ask for feedback: How are we doing? What do you like about these topics? What do you enjoy most about this event? What have you learned?
  10. Announce new topics within topics: When a new topic opens, the moderator should also announce it in the previous Topic.
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