Community management: How to moderate your online community

• August 3, 2020
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he online community has the potential to generate sales, build trust and improve loyalty of the brand. But the crux of the matter here is non-profit as community is about interacting with your existing customers and prospects and building relationships.

When we talk about the factors that the success of a virtual community depends on, there are many but one crucial factor is the community moderator.

As a community manager, you may sometimes have to play this role on your virtual platform. Being a moderator is a tightrope walk Ad you will need to maintain order while encouraging fruitful community engagement.

To get you understand better, we can broadly classify moderators into three types:

  1. The control freak: One who wants to have a say in everything happening in the group and wants to make his/her presence felt at all times.
  2. The hands-off moderator: These moderators are not a part of the day-day happenings of their communities. They are the occasional visitors who peep in to see what is happening and take a back seat.
  3. The stabiliser: These moderators have a balanced approach and are involved in the functioning of their communities just enough. They are in-sync with members and discussions but know where to draw the line.

No prize for guessing the ideal type of moderator! It is indeed the Stable moderator. Such moderators can raise a community well and make  it active, value-driven and engaged. This blog focuses on key points which will help you ace the ideal moderating style. 

Effective ways to moderate your online community

  1. Develop guidelines: Having guidelines for the functioning of your community is very important. In the home page of your community clearly state the rules and also mail the same to all new members.

    These rules can focus on the best practices, terms & conditions and the purpose of the group. Detailing these helps set the right expectation for the members.

    This communication can also include the consequences if members are found flouting rules or indulging in “un-community” practices.
  1. Facilitate discussions: A virtual community thrives when there are ample discussions and information exchange. As the moderator, you will have to facilitate the same. Introduce threads at regular intervals that will seek responses from your members. Also, share innovations, recent news or trends based on the interest of your group members.

    As a facilitator, you could also organise online conferences or summits at regular intervals. For such virtual events, you could invite expert speakers or community leaders to share information. Such events will be a change from routine interactions and will be a definite value addition for group members.

  2. Scatter and centralise discussions: Many-a-times we see that certain threads or chat spaces in communities are overflooded with messages whereas on some threads the discussions are minimal.

    As the moderator, you can easily manage the discussion traffic by creating sub-groups wherever needed. This way, information for a particular topic will be available in one space. Similarly, you can delete threads and groups where the discussion is minimal.

    By making it a part of your daily routine, you will achieve an online community that will give it a touch of reader-friendly look.

"Monitor, engage and be transparent. These have always been the keys to success in the digital space-Dallas Lawrence."

Monitor, engage and be transparent. These have always been the keys to success in the digital space-Dallas Lawrence.

  1. Community policing: A moderator has to be the disciplinarian. You will have to delete posts and sometimes even remove people from your community who you think don’t belong here. Policing may seem irrelevant to some, but it is important so that you have a clean community free from spammers and notorious individuals.

    However, policing can take a toll if the moderator has to do it all by themselves. So, involve your members. You could ask active and older members to help you with the policing aspect. They can be asked to flag posts, downvote comments and even be asked to identify members who are bothersome or worrying.

    Member participation plays the dual role of increasing the sense of belongingness and responsibility in them. It also reduces the workload for you.


Implementing the suggestions mentioned above is not difficult. But to do them effectively, you will have to stay up-to-date with the happenings of the community as well as industry. 

A senior business leader Dallas Lawrence says, “Monitor, engage and be transparent. These have always been the keys to success in the digital space.” This quote sums up the essence of being an effective moderator and creating a vibrant online community. 

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