You’ve got a forum or a Facebook Group or some sort of social media platform that is keeping you super busy. So what do you do? You ask a couple of your most loyal members or followers to act as moderators for you.
Or maybe one of them even volunteers. “Hey there, I’m on this forum all the time and I know you’re busy… how about I act as a moderator to help you out?”
Wow, that’s awesome, right?
You get free help from one of your biggest fans – someone who knows your stuff and wants to help you tell the world about you and your products.
Except sometimes these helpful moderators are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, ready to take you down, get you banned and even put you into legal trouble.
Yes, I know I sound like a crazy, paranoid doomsayer, but this really happens. In fact, it costs companies millions or possibly even billions of dollars a year in lost revenue.
Take the case of Bob’s* Facebook Group account. Bob runs his own online marketing business, teaching people how to use social media to get new customers.
Bob is a social media marketing expert, and the last person you think would lose his business because of a social media marketing mistake. But that’s essentially what happened.
Bob sold his highly acclaimed $1,997 social media marketing course to someone we’ll can Suzie. Suzie turned out to be something of a pain, pestering Bob several times a day with questions and demanding far more attention than any of his other 300 students combined.
Rather than watch the course and implement what Bob taught, Suzie seemed to think she was entitled to one-on-one teaching 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Essentially, there was no pleasing her. Exasperated, Bob refunded her money and politely told her that the course was not for her.
Suzie was furious. She sent out numerous messages on social media telling anyone who would listen that Bob was a fraud, his course was a waste of money and so forth. But apparently this wasn’t enough for her.
Unbeknownst to Bob, she joined his Facebook Group with an entirely different identity than her own. Keep in mind that his Facebook Group was how Bob communicated with everyone who purchased the $1,997 course.
This identity seemed very friendly and helpful towards Bob and everyone else in the group, so much so that Bob eventually made this other identity a Group moderator. And once she had moderator status, she immediately began subtly undermining Bob and his social media course. She managed to personally contact everyone in the group and lure many of them to her own Group while gaining their confidence.
Long story short, she used her authority as Bob’s moderator as well as her authority within her own Facebook Group to cast doubt on Bob and his course. Refunds began skyrocketing and new sales plummeted. Her final act was to make several posts that were completely against Facebook’s terms of service, thereby getting Bob’s Facebook Group and Bob himself banned from Facebook.
Bob has asked Facebook to investigate and hopes to restore his ability to be on Facebook but restoring his good name and reputation will take a great deal more than that. By becoming one of his Facebook Group moderators, this woman managed to virtually destroy Bob’s business.
And this is not an isolated instance, either. I’ve heard horror tales of social media moderators doing things that created lawsuits, lost sales and put businesses in trouble with government agencies.
If and when you allow anyone else to have moderator control on any of your social media type accounts, you need to KNOW who they are and that you can trust them, because it only takes one moderator from hell to potentially ruin everything you’ve built.
*I changed Bob’s name because the poor guy’s been through enough already.