Try These 6 Steps to Master Community Moderation

Moderators can make or break an online community! Here are a few tips from moderating communities of thousands of people across different platforms

Online communities are powerful ways to connect, learn, and grow with like-minded people. But they also require careful management and moderation to ensure a positive and productive experience for everyone. As a moderator of several online communities with thousands of members across different platforms (Pensil, Facebook, Slack, Clubhouse), I have learned some valuable tips and tricks that I want to share with you. Whether you are a community owner, manager, or moderator, these tips will help you create and maintain a thriving online community.

What Is an Online Community and Why Is It Important?

An online community is a group of people who share a common interest, goal, or passion and interact with each other online. Online communities can be based on hobbies, professions, causes, lifestyles, or anything else that brings people together. Some examples of online communities are:

  • A book club that meets on Pensil to discuss their favorite books and authors
  • A fitness group that shares their workouts and progress on Facebook
  • A podcast fan club that chats and listens to episodes on Clubhouse

Online communities are important because they provide a sense of belonging, support, and connection for their members. They also offer opportunities for learning, networking, and collaboration. Online communities can help you:

  • Meet new people who share your interests and values
  • Learn new skills and gain new insights from experts and peers
  • Showcase your expertise and build your reputation
  • Grow your audience and reach potential customers
  • Create a loyal and engaged fan base

How to Manage Your Online Community Effectively

Managing an online community is not an easy task. It requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. You have to deal with different personalities, expectations, and opinions. You have to keep your community active, engaged, and civil. You have to balance the needs of your members and your own goals. Here are some tips on how to manage your online community effectively:

1. Define your community’s purpose and values

Before you start your online community, you should have a clear idea of what your community is about and what you want to achieve with it. You should also establish your community’s values and norms, such as what kind of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable, what kind of content is relevant and irrelevant, and what kind of tone and language is appropriate and inappropriate. You should communicate your community’s purpose and values to your members and remind them of them regularly.

2. Choose the right platform and tools for your community

Depending on your community’s size, topic, and goals, you may want to use different platforms and tools to host and manage your community. For example, if you want to create a community around a specific topic or niche, you may want to use Pensil, which is a platform that allows you to create and join communities based on your interests. If you want to create a community around a broader topic or audience, you may want to use Facebook, which is a platform that has a large and diverse user base. If you want to create a community around audio content, you may want to use Clubhouse, which is a platform that lets you host and join live audio conversations. You should also consider the tools that you need to manage your community, such as analytics, moderation, communication, and feedback tools.

3. Recruit and train your moderators

Moderators are the people who help you run and oversee your community. They are responsible for enforcing your community’s rules, resolving conflicts, answering questions, and facilitating discussions. Moderators are essential for maintaining the quality and safety of your community. You should recruit and train your moderators carefully, as they represent your community and your brand. You should look for moderators who are:

  • Passionate and knowledgeable about your community’s topic
  • Active and engaged in your community
  • Friendly and respectful to your members
  • Fair and consistent in applying your community’s rules
  • Responsive and helpful in addressing your members’ issues
  • You should also provide your moderators with clear guidelines and expectations, regular feedback and recognition, and adequate support and resources.

4. Create and share valuable content for your community

Content is the fuel that drives your community. Content is what attracts, educates, and entertains your members. Content is what sparks conversations, debates, and collaborations. Content is what builds trust, loyalty, and advocacy. You should create and share valuable content for your community, such as:

  • Blog posts, articles, or newsletters that provide useful information, insights, or tips
  • Podcasts, videos, or webinars that showcase your expertise, stories, or opinions
  • E-books, guides, or courses that teach your members new skills or knowledge
  • Quizzes, polls, or surveys that engage your members and collect their feedback
  • Contests, giveaways, or challenges that reward your members and encourage participation
  • You should also encourage your members to create and share their own content, such as:
  • Questions, answers, or comments that initiate or contribute to discussions
  • Reviews, testimonials, or case studies that demonstrate your community’s value or impact
  • Photos, videos, or stories that showcase your community’s culture or achievements
  • Suggestions, ideas, or feedback that help you improve your community or product

5. Engage and interact with your members regularly

Engagement is the key to keeping your community alive and growing. Engagement is what makes your members feel valued, heard, and connected. Engagement is what fosters relationships, trust, and loyalty. You should engage and interact with your members regularly, such as:

  • Welcoming new members and introducing them to your community
  • Acknowledging and thanking your members for their contributions
  • Replying and reacting to your members’ comments and messages
  • Asking and answering your members’ questions and concerns
  • Praising and highlighting your members’ achievements and successes
  • Celebrating and commemorating your community’s milestones and events
  • You should also create and join opportunities for your members to engage and interact with each other, such as:
  • Hosting and attending live events, such as webinars, workshops, or meetups
  • Creating and joining subgroups, such as interest groups, local groups, or mastermind groups
  • Starting and joining projects, such as collaborations, partnerships, or campaigns
  • Inviting and referring your members to other relevant communities or resources
👉 Actionable Tip

Your moderation guide should answer questions such as:

  • Does everything need a response, or should you leave some things to the community?
  • What should they do with support questions?
  • What your crisis and de-escalation procedures are.
  • Examples of what types of posts and language are acceptable, and what aren’t.

6. Create contingency plans

Even the best community manager won’t be able to anticipate every single issue that may arise in the community — but they can still think a few steps ahead.

👉 Actionable Tip To do so, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are some things that could go wrong? For example, if you’re managing a community of gamers, there’s a chance you’ll be on the front lines if the game crashes.
  • What is the best way to deal with them? What would your members want in this scenario? Likely reassurance that your team is aware and is working as fast as they can to fix it.
  • Whose help would you need? Your community might be the first place someone reports the issue. Which stakeholders do you need to contact immediately to let them know of the problem? And who is the best person to keep you updated on the fix as they work?

👉 Practical Tip:Develop a formal application for potential team members, clearly outlining responsibilities, time commitments, and, if applicable, compensation details. Ensure transparency about available resources, training, and compensation. Noele suggests caution with volunteer moderation, particularly for monetized communities, favoring compensation for contracted moderation work. Check legal implications to avoid unintentional employment relationships.

Related Posts