Community Management: How To Handle Toxic Members/Users?

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Community Management

As you grow your online community, you’ll come across the fact that you’ll face the need to deal with certain problematic members regardless of the industry. Although this might be a small group of members, they turn out to be maliciously vocal. As a community owner or business, you must manage these users and get them to remain within your brand policies as much as possible. Being professional in your approach can help you retain your brand image and mitigate damage to your reputation.

Viafoura has significant experience with community management, and they further explain how community owners can handle toxic members. You can keep your audience and your community members satisfied following the right path.

Why Should You Handle Toxic Users With Professionalism?

Toxic community members can degrade your brand image, no matter how you approach them. However, you can adopt a diplomatic stance to tackle these members’ challenges and preserve your reputation.

Often, a small community of problem-makers becomes loud enough to discourage other members from participating in your community. Being professional in your approach can prevent this damage to your community.

Dealing with toxic community members calls for expertise. Working in close collaboration with a team of experts, you can sort out the issues. When these community members start making trouble, they lead to a series of potential dangers to your platform. This includes:

  • Creating disturbance to other members, who might withdraw from your community
  • Generating a level of toxicity to render your online environment unproductive
  • Other members might be concerned about your competence to tackle the miscreants
  • Your community page would host brawls in the public
  • You might end up losing loyal members who might have served as your ambassadors
  • New members might deliberately keep away from your platform

However, you can efficiently weed out these toxic members with professional moderation and community management experts around.

How To Deal With Toxic Community Members?

Here are certain guidelines to help you handle toxicity and moderation within your community.

1. Establish A Model For Appropriate Behavior

You need to outline the behavior you seek from your community members. Establish a model others can follow, doing away with the negativity at the outset. Also, the way you reply to others should inspire your community members to adopt the behavior.

Make sure that all your moderators are well-trained and polite in their approach. A positive behavior from your end should inspire your community members to replicate the same.

2. Understanding Toxic Comments Or Posts

Moderators can easily identify toxic posts by their tone or content. Often, they can pick up on cues beyond foul language that don’t live up to your community standards. Besides, toxicity finds its reflection in the tone used by the members.

Once you go through these posts, you can determine whether the member has some genuine grievance or is simply trolling. If the demand is genuine, you can try and resolve it. However, every community has some members who are simply trouble-makers, and you need to identify and take measures against them as soon as you can.

3. Sending A Personal Note

Once you have identified the problem-makers, try resolving the issue through personal interactions. You might consider sending them a private note and try to look into their concern.

However, if the person has already crossed their barrier, you might also privately remind them of the consequences. If a genuine member had posted something wrong at the heat of the moment, they might try and rectify themselves.

4. Send Warnings

If you notice that the person continues to defy your community guidelines, you need to approach the person with a firm yet friendly warning. Professional community managers can draft effective messages that uphold the company’s professionalism.

Moreover, you need to show a certain degree of authority when you warn your members. Since you had personally requested the member to mend ways in the past, you can go public with these warnings. This would also reflect your responsibility to other members of your community.

5. Ban the Member

Now that you have been methodical in dealing with wayward members, don’t hesitate to ban them if the situation comes to it. Never allow toxic members to tarnish the atmosphere of your community. Ultimately, you need to be responsible for upholding the platform’s integrity. Other members should not get the feeling that your platform is an acceptable place to be toxic or rude.

While banning the member should be a last resort, it helps to justify the reason for the ban with a statement alongside evidence. This shows that you’re operating within your guidelines and offering fair judgment to other members of your community.

Should You Delete Posts or Comments?

Community managers need to be tactical while deleting posts or comments. Deleting user-generated content should not be your priority. If you spot something that goes against your standards, you need to determine its potential for causing problems and issues.

In case you find that an offender has posted something related to violence, hate speech, sexism, or something detrimental to your interest, you need to be prompt while deleting it and taking action against the poster.

However, deleting comments without explanation can send the wrong message to the members, so to prevent the idea that you’re restricting their ability to share their opinions, you need to provide a clear reason for your actions and explain why the post did not meet the standards of your community.

Endnote

Successful brands work closely with professional community managers and moderation teams to eliminate the presence of malicious members. After all, it makes sense to utilize and deploy advanced tools and mechanisms to restore a healthy environment in your community.

But remember that without a professional approach, you might end up spreading the wrong idea about your brand image, and it doesn’t make sense to waste your productive hours dealing with toxic members one by one. Considering these challenges, it’s a good idea to implement a moderation system and guidelines that are enforced by a well-trained moderation team.