Five tips for efficiently moderating an online insigths community

Redacción 5m of reading

In a previous WAT Research Tip, we discussed the key elements to consider when recruiting participants for an online community. This time, we provide you with the keys to efficiently moderate your community and make the most of this qualitative methodology.

At We Are Testers, we are experts in recruiting, managing, and extracting insights from online communities using our consumer panel and community management software platform

We have set up and managed over 100 online communities in recent years, and this experience has provided us with some valuable insights that we share with you below.

Tips on How to Moderate an Online Community

We summarize in five tips how to efficiently moderate an online community to get the most out of it and ensure it is rich in data and beneficial for your research.

1 Introduce Yourself by Setting an Example

Your introduction will be the participants’ first contact with the community, so it is crucial to establish some standards that should guide the contributions within the community.

As a moderator, you want the information provided by participants to be comprehensive, relevant, and well-structured. Therefore, your introduction should meet these criteria.

Avoid introducing yourself with few words and without relevant information.

Write a lengthy introduction that provides interesting information about you. This will help set the expectations for the participants’ contributions within the community.

If you plan to have activities in your online community where participants will need to upload videos or photos, set an example. Introduce yourself with a video, demonstrate that you are also willing to «expose» yourself, and be the first to break that barrier.

2 Initially Inform About the Objectives of Your Online Community

Although participants are informed about the duration and intensity of the community during the recruitment process, it is essential that the moderator reiterates the basic operating details of the community at the beginning: the days it will be active, the number of activities to be conducted (even if it’s approximate), and the estimated time required to complete each activity.

Additionally, always inform participants about the motivations behind starting the community

Explain what the brand behind it aims to achieve, why it is essential to gather specific market information, and the significance of participants’ opinions in influencing the brand’s business decisions.
However, be careful not to provide information that compromises confidentiality or introduces bias into the opinions collected in the online community.

By doing this, you will generate better engagement from the start and higher information quality.

3 The Importance of the First Activity

If we talked about the importance of the introduction earlier, something similar applies to the first activity. It is important to establish from the beginning what type of contributions you are seeking.

Giving a lot of feedback to community members in the first activity is crucial. Express gratitude for their participation. Show that you listen to them, that you are very interested in their opinions. Redirect contributions that do not meet the standard of information quality you are looking for. Let them know they need to provide more information.

Community members should understand that the activity does not end for them after they have participated. They need to stay engaged because you might ask them further questions.

Encourage them to engage in discussions with each other by mentioning them.

If you can set optimal information quality standards from the beginning, you will save a lot of moderation efforts in subsequent activities.

4 Allocate Sufficient Time for Your Community

Properly estimate the amount of time you need to dedicate to moderating your community

Keep in mind that for a community of 25-30 members, you will need, depending on its intensity, around 2-3 hours of daily work. You must be consistent. Moderate every day. 

Do not let other tasks distract you from your online community. 

Most participants usually access the community mainly in the afternoon. Adapt your schedule to that of your community. If possible, dedicate more moderation time from 6 pm onwards. Ideally, spend one-third of the time in the morning and two-thirds in the afternoon.

5 Leverage Software Tools

Make the most of the options provided by the online community platform you are using.

Understand all the tools at your disposal and utilize them to the fullest. Any assistance is welcome in facilitating moderation and analysis.

Although you may feel more comfortable using a particular type of activity, it is advisable to vary the types of activities you use (as long as they align with the information objectives you have for each activity). Try to maximize the platform’s capabilities.

When it comes to platform resources, it is very useful and effective if the platform offers individual chat with participants (a way to communicate with them individually outside of activities) and personalized email sending directly from the platform. These resources will help you promote interaction.

Additionally, including video call activities allows for more in-depth discussions, especially for participants with opinions that differ significantly from the rest or are more relevant than the majority’s. You can set up in-depth interviews or mini-focus groups directly from the platform to gather more relevant insights.

It’s essential that the platform provider offers technical support throughout the duration of your online community. They will assist you if you have any questions about creating a specific type of activity or resolving any technical issues that may arise.

This way, you can focus better on your moderation task and delegate technical aspects to the software provider.

 

In conclusion, establish the desired level of response quality from the beginning, maintain consistent moderation throughout the community’s duration, and rely on a professional platform with technical support.

 

Good luck with your upcoming online communities, and stay tuned for our Research Tips!

Update date 22 December, 2023

Get in touch with our experts and discover how to take your research further.

Contact