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Moderating Nearly 20,000 Social Items on Donald Trump’s Indictment

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On Thursday, March 30th, news of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s incoming indictment broke across the internet. Conversation volume across each of our client accounts drove through the roof. Due to the heightened polarity around Donald Trump’s media presence, ICUC deemed this spike a conversation volume crisis.

In these instances, the two most important components of preparedness are scalability and flexibility. We ask our internal teams, and our client partners: how can we best cover your brand in the wake of changing waves without losing quality?

First, peak news volume does not always mean a crisis. Second, any peak volume requires all hands-on deck. We’ve seen big news days before. The infamous Slow News Day drove numbers between 7k-8k comments. Big political, cultural, or celebrity stories often double that. The last U.S. Presidential election in November 2020 saw nearly 16 thousand comments on the day of the election, November 3rd.

But Trump’s indictment? On Thursday, March 30th, news of the indictment elicited almost 20,000 items, the biggest news day we’ve seen in years. Read below to see our process.

THE CHALLENGE

Trump’s Indictment Day​​

Reports across all clients of the incoming indictment of Donald Trump drove volume through the roof.

At the time of the announcement at 4:30pm CST the team had managed about 5,500 comments, a relatively normal day for that point.

By midnight CST that number had ballooned to 18.1k, nearly twice the comments of a slower news day in less than 8 hours, driven heavily by the number of major news publications pushes stories around the event. Washington Post (client) added 14 stories alone.

Higher volume stories mean more online visibility in general. So, any move by a brand within the social sphere — posting scheduled content in-feed, responding to customer comments or reviews, or contributing to indictment conversation — holds more potential danger for the brand, with more opportunity for trolls or bad actors to try and shake things up for the sake of doing so.

How do we manage the higher volume without losing quality on content, commentary, engagement, and responses?

THE SOLUTION

All Hands-on Deck​

When this happens the two questions are how to ensure the content is cleared within our client’s SLA (service level agreement) but more importantly, that it’s cleared accurately.

ICUC brought in extra hands, distributed and escalated the work intelligently, and supported each Content Specialist to stay focused with a standby on call.

More experienced hands: ICUC has a 24/7 staff based internationally, which means always-on social media experts on hand. We’ve built our decentralized teams across time zones and 53+ languages, so each extra hand can step in autonomously, and instantly, to help manage the extra volume.

Client communication: Our streamlined communication channels with our client teams ensure we can alert them swiftly of incoming stories, pressing issues, or hotspots of trouble to further manage their editorial choices. Having a 24/7 team with suitable tech is particularly effective on days with max volume.

Management support: From the highest leadership at ICUC down to the newest employees, we focus on the wellbeing of our staff first and foremost — whether that looks like supplying more hands to prevent content overload, or assuring employees have teammates to take over while they step away from often chaotic, tragic, or disrupting online conversations. Each CS member and manager work together to discuss capabilities and limitations, and act according to everyone’s unique mental health.

THE RESULTS

Pristine Quality after a Tidal Wave Comments

ICUC cleared every comment within SLA, with no loss in quality assurance and accuracy. Our clients’ social media channel pages were pristine during the highest visibility event we’ve seen in years.

Average News Day
10k

COMMENTS

Thursday 30th March

18k

COMMENTS

By midnight CST

5.5k

COMMENTS

Up to 4:30pm CST

12.6k

COMMENTS

4:30pm CST – Midnight

We study these news cycles on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis, and know that this is the calm before the storm — this story will no doubt pick up again as the legal process rolls on for Donald Trump. Thanks to the systems we have in place, our clients can be confident we have them covered.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette