A couple years ago, I worked in eCommerce for circuitcity.com, and part of my job was editing, approving and denying product reviews submitted by customers. It was a laborious, boring job that was only entertaining when some sociopath went on a 1,200-word a rant somehow connecting surge protectors and the Nazi Party. But along the way, I picked up some useful social commerce nuggets for both consumers and the companies making user-generated content possible. And I thought IâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢d share. Here are a few of those lessons:
âˆšÃ‡Â¬âˆ‘ Look out for the rogue business effect: In my time as a social commerce editor, I found more phony reviews submitted by companies we worked with than by bored end users. And these posters usually werenâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t very good at passing off bogus product reviews as the legit thing. The use of corporate buzzwords was usually a good giveaway.
âˆšÃ‡Â¬âˆ‘ Offer realistic expectations for content publication: Are your ratings and reviews published and instantaneously when the user clicks âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬OK,âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ or do they need to be approved and pushed by an editor at his or her leisure. Be sure to manage this expectation up front, otherwise youâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢ll just create awkward confusion when you had positive intentions for creating an open dialogue.
âˆšÃ‡Â¬âˆ‘ DonâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t make it petty: If you make a negative post more focused on the checkout personâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢s poor-fitting stretch pants than the faulty product you purchased, editors may assume your motives for posting may be above and beyond simply reviewing a product or service. They may assume it was an ex-girlfriend, a former boss or a Dallas Cowboys fan.
âˆšÃ‡Â¬âˆ‘ Be specific on specifics: If youâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢re mentioning a specific price point, product or service detail, give as much detail as possible. Social commerce editors double as fact checkers, and theyâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢ll be wary of publishing info that might be erroneous, especially if it makes their business look bad. For example, if youâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢re listing the price of an autographed âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬High School MusicalâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ lunchbox, be sure to mention when and where you got it âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ãº and if you took advantage of any special savings or discounts.
âˆšÃ‡Â¬âˆ‘ Be PG-13. This sounds like a no-brainer, but even if you place one ripe-to-be-edited F-bomb in the beginning of a well reasoned critique, the entire thing will likely be deleted rather than edited and published. ThatâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢s because editors are scared that even if they go over a review three times, they still donâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t trust thereâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢s not another hidden curse in there somewhere. And at the end of the day âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ãº itâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢s their butts (and paychecks) on the line.