How software partners approach onboarding

A partnership with your solutions provider has a number of benefits. First and foremost, a partnership means your solutions provider has a vested interest in your success. You work together to problem solve proactively and create innovative solutions. Like any relationship, starting on the right foot helps build the foundation to grow from.

Onboarding is more than just a kick-off call. It means having a process in place for you to deeply understand the technology, cross-train throughout the organization, and have access to continued support via workshops, training, technical updates and, most importantly, a roadmap to growth. We’ll explore eight essential elements Viafoura has to create a successful onboarding process.

Eight essential elements to successfully onboard new technology

There is no one-size-fits-all technology onboarding process. It will vary based on the extent of the solution being implemented. Ultimately, we find the best onboarding process and experience is the one our partners need and want. Here are eight essential elements necessary for a seamless onboarding experience.

A kick-off call

This initial call involves the appropriate internal cross functional team members from both the partner and Viafoura. For our partners, this includes stakeholders from moderation, editorial, and data teams (i.e., the people who will be implementing, using, and extracting insights from our solution). At Viafoura, we also use this time to understand  what you’re looking to achieve short term, and what long-term success looks like. This is the foundation building of the entire onboarding process. Without an understanding of the goals, how are we to keep track of our progress?

Change-management support

From the outset, we make sure to be a part of your change-management discussions to help promote organizational understanding of how the tools work and the overall value our solution brings. At Viafoura, we believe it’s imperative that cross functional teams understand the value the solution will bring to their day-to-day operations. Typically, we see this as multiple days of training for various departments to demonstrate the value through industry benchmarks, and case studies.

Weekly check-ins

Progress calls are an obvious part of onboarding, you need to have a consistent cadence of check-ins to understand how you’re tracking against your goals for implementation. At Viafoura, we call these discovery calls. We involve both a dedicated onboarder and a dedicated technical resource. This is the team who inspect the code, examine the development environment, work through integrations, and answer any questions. This ensures you have a seamless transition on go-live.

Technical audit

Before going live, we conduct a thorough technical audit and regression testing to make sure everything is working as it should. Once the audit is complete, everyone can feel confident to set the go-live date.

A comprehensive go-live strategy

We work closely with our partners to create an in-depth go-live strategy. This includes a deep understanding of the various stakeholders and their responsibilities for go-live, how to QA during the go-live and which resources are available in case of any bugs, issues or fixes. The reality is, no matter how in-depth implementation is, there are times when a very specific scenario is not considered and will need to be addressed on go-live day. Viafoura has dedicated resources available on go-live to act quickly in those situations.

Ongoing consultations with the moderation, editorial, and data teams

At Viafoura, part of our onboarding process includes meeting with the moderation, editorial and data teams before going live to understand daily operations, routines, and KPIs. We use this information to create customized engagement playbooks for each of the teams, with tailored tips and best practices. Once the software goes live, we work with the cross functional teams every week to ensure they are utilizing the solution in the best ways possible to reach their goals. User adoption with new technology is a serious hurdle in the onboarding process. We provide a path for user adoption that includes training, gamification and resource allocation so your team is covered and feels confident in learning to use the solution.

Feedback on the onboarding process

Once the onboarding process is complete, we want to know about your experience. We have a vested interest in our partners success and we want our partners to know early on that the lines of communication are open. We feel that building this into our onboarding process translates into our ongoing relationship with our partners.

Ongoing support

Once the software goes live, our responsibilities do not end there. The reality is that onboarding is an ongoing, iterative process. At Viafoura, our Customer Success Managers facilitate regular check-ins, executive business reviews, training sessions as needed and proactive notifications on new products and capabilities. The focus is to ensure ongoing customer technical and business success and the strength of our partnership.


To create engaging customer experiences and deliver business results, it’s important for media companies and their software partners’ strategic goals to be in lockstep. The solution provider you choose should actively build confidence and trust by focusing both on the human and technical aspects of adopting a new technology. They should listen to you, understand your objectives, and be invested in your success. At Viafoura, our customers’ business objectives are our business objectives. As a result, onboarding does not end when the software goes live. It’s the beginning of a long-term partnership.

The Twitter takeover — another reason to build engaged and active communities on your owned and operated properties

Monday April 25th, 2022, Twitter’s board accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to buy the social media company and take it private. The announcement ends what can only be called a weeks-long media firestorm as Musk offered to buy the company for $44 billion. Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 for each share of common stock — a significant premium over the stock’s price from just months earlier.

Musk has often referred to himself as a “free speech supporter” and has been a loud critic of content moderation policies put in place by organizations, like Twitter, to stem the flow of misinformation, enforce authenticity and prevent harassment.

Musk also seems to believe that he’s advancing the free speech movement by taking over the social platform. For instance, he claims that he wants “to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”

Generally, the news has raised eyebrows.

Between Musk’s recent statements and the implied return of users currently banned from the platform, many believe he’s bound to run into conflict with multiple regulators. Now, Thierry Breton, the European Union’s commissioner for the internal market, has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must follow the rules on moderating illegal and harmful content online.

What does this mean to publishers dependent on social media platforms like Twitter? According to Musk, he plans to have less content moderation on Twitter. This means that publishers will soon be at the mercy of his social media strategies, which will be based on his own definition of truthful or accurate news and a free-sharing audience.

The bottom line is that publishers must be in control of their community guidelines and content moderation. In other words, they need to be in a position where they can protect against misinformation and personal attacks on their journalists.

For this reason, publishers need to invest in building their communities and audience conversations away from social media. After all, there’s no better way to keep audience engagement where it belongs — directly on publisher-owned websites!

Many digital publishers have already started moving to adopt on-site engagement strategies and solutions, including real-time conversations and live Q&As, to grow audiences, gather first-party data and ultimately drive sustainable monetization. However, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter has highlighted the need to accelerate that strategy.

Rest assured that wherever Twitter goes from here, Viafoura will be ready to clear you a path for building an engaged and safe online community.

4 ways to know if the comment moderation solution you need is also aligned with your editorial brand

Choosing the right moderation solution can be challenging, and many organizations find that their current moderation solution isn’t up to the standards of their brand. When your comment moderation solution is not aligned with your brand, it reflects poorly on you and alienates your user community. 

If you want to build a thriving brand, you need to offer an exceptional experience for your audience. That means not settling for mediocre moderation and having a community engagement solution with a full suite of tools at your disposal to moderate your community, including shadow banning, IP lookup, troll management, likes, and follows. 

A comment moderation solution that’s truly aligned with your brand doesn’t just seamlessly blend in with your environment; it also reflects your brand’s value and enhances your business.

Research shows that when you implement engagement solutions across your platform, anonymous users spend more time on your site and become 25.4 times more likely to convert. 

This article will examine some of the core features and attributes of an on-brand moderation solution that can protect your community, your newsroom, and your brand as you grow over the long term. 

1. Predictive analytics

Using a solution with predictive analytics is vital for gaining better insights into your community, so you know and understand what matters to them most. Without it, your content strategy will be based on guesswork. 

Your ability to offer relevant content and experiences to users will determine the strength of your brand. If you’re a brand that offers up-to-the-minute coverage on topics that interest users, they’re going to engage with your brand more than they would if you offer them stories that are better suited to another target audience.

2. Are you working with a vendor or a partner?

If you’re looking for a solution that has the capacity to evolve with your brand long-term, then you need to ensure you’re working with a partner rather than a vendor. While a vendor will place ads across digital assets to maximize your online visibility and offer revenue share, they will treat you as more of a financial investment than a client.  

A true partner will work alongside you on a SaaS payment model to help you innovate new strategies that drive registrations, and acquire unique user data that allows you to enhance your brand and the way you serve customers.

Group of celebrating business partners

3. Automated moderation

When building a user community on your website, you need to have a strategy to deal with toxicity if you want to protect your users and your brand. Failure to moderate toxic comments can be extremely damaging to your organization’s reputation. 

For instance, Twitter’s inability to deal with hateful comments has damaged the organization’s brand by having users call the platform out for being a haven for toxicity, with Amnesty International going as far as branding the site “a toxic place for women.” 

As a result, it’s essential to have a chat room with automated moderation to ensure that you can keep the conversation free of abuse, harassment, hate, and uncivil comments in real-time.

It’s important to remember that a quality moderation solution isn’t a banned word list; it’s a complete AI-driven solution with semantic moderation that can infer the intent and meaning of uncivil comments independently.

4. First-party data collection

Any effective community engagement and moderation solution should have the ability to gather first-party data. 

Deploying an engagement tool that can collect first-party data is vital to making sure that you can develop detailed insights into your audience, which you can use to offer personalized content recommendations and news feeds that keep them engaged. 

For example, simply offering your users a personalized news feed can help you generate 3.15 more page views.

By collecting first-party data, you can identify what topics users are interested in, what authors they’re most likely to follow, and recommend pieces that are not just likely to engage them on the site but that are also going to interest them.

Elevating your brand with comment moderation

A comment moderation solution that is aligned with your brand will elevate the user experience and make your audience trust you even more. 

Features like AI-driven predictive analytics, first-party data collection and automated moderation give you a strong foundation to start building a safe and thriving user community.

Anything less, and you run the risk of offering a poorly optimized, irrelevant, and toxic community experience for your users and your journalists. 

The difference between a vendor and a partner, and how this translates into sustainable audience growth

Many organizations that try to build their own user community run into the same problem; they pick a vendor rather than a trusted partner. It’s a mistake that means they don’t feel valued as a customer, while the vendor doesn’t care about their business outcomes. 

If you want to achieve sustainable audience growth, you need a community engagement partner that can help you to optimize engagement and value exchange moments you have with your community. 

That means your partner should work alongside you to provide strategic recommendations that directly enhance your business and offer regular workshops, quarterly business reviews (QBRs), technical walkthroughs, and moderation sessions to collaborate with you to fine-tune your product roadmap. 

This article will examine the difference between a vendor and a partner, and the strategic advantages the latter can bring. 

The key difference between a vendor and partner

When it comes to building your audience, the key difference is that a vendor isn’t directly invested in your business success and merely plays a passive role serving you as a customer, whereas a partner takes an active role in helping to enhance your organization so that your audience can grow.

Unfortunately, most software vendors in this space employ a revenue share model, where they will put ad placements across a digital property and then offer a payout. 

The problem with this approach is that it pigeonholes you in terms of how you’re viewed as a partner. Many vendors will treat you as a commercial deal and focus more on commercial ROI, relying on how many ad placements you’re running and your overall viewability.

Revenue share can help you increase revenue over the short-term, but does so at the cost of tying your business into a commercial model and hampering your decision-making so that you don’t have access to the collaboration you need to build an effective long-term audience growth strategy. 

A true partner addresses the limitations of the revenue share model by also offering a SaaS payment model you can use to develop an ongoing partnership with a trusted party, whose core business strategy is about helping you drive registrations and acquire unique data you’ve never seen before.

How can a partner impact sustainable audience growth?

A growth-oriented partner can significantly increase your sustainable audience growth by clearly defining organizational Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). 

These OKRs enable you to set realistic and attainable performance targets to meet, such as doubling conversation rates, subscription rates, or unique visitors across digital properties. 

It’s a methodology that isn’t focused on product delivery but instead on how the deployed solutions impact the customer’s business outcomes. The goal isn’t just to sell a product but also to implement it and to help the organization leverage that technology to grow long-term. 

One of the benefits of working with a partner is that you can gain access to valuable growth insights you might miss. For instance, they might recommend that you use push notifications on your site to increase click-through rates by up to 27.6%. 

It’s worth noting that a partner also helps to support you through the post-implementation process, providing continuous care and support even after the initial deployment of the solution to ensure that you’re in a position to generate consistent returns.

Partners shaking hands

How to know if your vendor isn’t a partner

One of the main signs that your vendor isn’t a partner is if you don’t have a single point of contact for your account. If there’s a waterfall between you and the vendor, then you can’t have an effective two-way dialogue on how to improve your value exchange. 

A true partner would review progress periodically with key stakeholders in your organization, every three to six months, depending on your needs to ensure you’re on target to meet your enterprise’s goals. 

They would also be willing to answer any questions that you have promptly and provide you with ample opportunities to share your feedback on the overall effectiveness of the service. 

You should also watch out to see if your vendor is focusing on celebrating wins rather than recommending potential improvements you could make to enhance your business continuously. 

Avoid vendors, seek out partners

A true software partner doesn’t just help with implementation and onboarding; they customize the solution to fit your long-term needs and are there for you every step of the way. 

If you and your partner aren’t strategically aligned with your mission and vision, then it’s going to be an uphill battle to achieve your business goals. So if you want the best opportunity for success in 2022, avoid working with vendors and seek out a trusted partner instead. 

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