June 27, 2018
If you think that owned media is enough to help you acquire your customer’s trust, compliance, and engagement, then you have yet to fully grasp the real advantages presented by user-generated content. Brand-owned media or content has the tendency to be product-focused, technical and subjectively in favor of your business alone. As a consequence, your brand becomes tied down by one-way interactions and you lose the opportunity to build credibility for your business.
What really speaks to the majority of customers now is user-generated content (UGC). This is a form of content that your business earns either as a result of your SEO strategies or when you deliver something positive or negative. It is what happens when your brand does something that compels your audience to create content about you. UGC can be in the form of testimonials, reviews, recommendations, images, or blogs.
Why is UGC important?
User-generated content has dramatically helped change the pace of content marketing for several businesses. Compared to other forms of media, UGC is 35% more memorable and 20% more influential. When employed correctly, it can serve as a great means to build awareness for your brand and cultivate deeper trust from your customers. This particular type of content is warmly received by millennials since they highly value the opinion of their peers when it comes to choosing products or services to avail. In fact, 30% of all the 18 hours millennials spend daily on print and online media goes to browsing user-generated content.
Other benefits of user-generated content include:
• Allows business owners to gauge the distinct culture and behavior of their audience
• Boosts customer satisfaction, brand credibility, and site engagement
• Helps build a community that serves as a more affordable resource that cannot be replicated
• Increases the likelihood of conversions while effectively pushing for your website’s higher ranking and visibility on search engines
• Effectively turns your website into a source of relevant, experience-based information related to the kind of services or products you are offering
Venturing outside of content that you have 100% control over means modifying your content moderation services to leverage the full advantage of content produced by your audience.
The reception of people to user-generated content is massive. As such, when you do utilize content submitted by your audience to your brand’s advantage, it is necessary for you to implement certain content and image moderation practices. Doing so ensures that all content written about your brand is well-balanced and aptly monitored.
1. Filter relevancy and consistency— The first step to assimilating your current methods of moderation for audience-generated visual and written content is to check whether it contains details that are innovative, original, has consistently good quality, and is significantly related to your brand. Every piece of content a user produces on your website or social media channels automatically becomes a branded user-generated content; thus, you need to make every detail count.
2. Create balance— Usually, end-users who post user-generated content do so with the intention of gaining recognition and using it as a way to express their thoughts and opinions. When you do feature and moderate content from your audience, give them due credit while being mindful of the risks posted by heavily opinionated blogs or reviews. At times, you might need to pause and assess whether a particular customer’s outlook reflects and upholds the views of your brand or not.
3. Acquire legal rights— Bear in mind that copyright plays a crucial role when using UGC as a marketing tool for your business. By securing the permission of your audience to use their original content, you will gain better rewards for your ad campaigns and establish better rapport with your customers.
5. Give rewards— Providing incentives to end-users who actively participate in sharing product or service-related content will increase the likelihood of them posting information or opinions that provide constructive feedback for your brand. The more customers who are willing to help you in your growth, branding and audience reach, the more you can maximize your content and image moderation policies.
There are other practices you can apply to ensure that content and images generated by your users on behalf of your brand comply with your moderation guidelines. These are:
• Campaigns— Running campaigns related to promoting your products and services is a great way to encourage your audience to post UGC and have a less hassling time implementing your content moderation services. Try using brand hash tags that drive focus to your product. You can use your company name, a particular product you sell, or a unique name designed for your specific campaign. When customers post pictures or status updates featuring your services, they can use the hash tag to easily drive the traffic back to your brand.
• Contests— The value of contests is that they let you take full advantage of customer competency. Competence makes customers put their best foot forward and really commit to helping you build your brand. Try contests that will make your audience think about the content they will post. Ask them to pitch their ideas on specific changes you want to apply to your products or branding. Make sure you give them great rewards for their participation, too.
• Events— Whether online or offline, holding social events for your business’ online community strengthens your network of supporters. Brand-related social events are great ways to exchange insights and gain direct feedback from your audience. It provides the opportunity to encourage greater participation on their part, and this is something you can put to good use. In the long run, you can have customers take part in moderating content submitted by their fellow users through reactive moderation.
• Feature your customers— Here’s an effective way to maximize your image moderation for UGCs. Thanks to the power of social media, higher customer engagement has been exhibited on UGCs with images or visual details. Instagram is one good example. By allowing or pushing customers to submit images featuring your brand, you are also projecting higher reliability and usability of your services to a wider audience. Promoting your audience also breeds deeper loyalty, and a greater assurance of gauging their support.
Brand marketing is no easy feat—imagine if it is you alone who says that your products are good and effective. It will not be as convincing as when other people and fellow users claim it. At the same time, you also need to boost your content moderation services and image moderation policies to continue protecting your brand from any risks that come with giving UGCs a green light. Ultimately, the bottom line is you create a fine line of understanding and agreement with your customers when it comes to promoting your products and services.
Christine Pelien currently works as one of the content writers for New Media Services, an outsourcing company based in Australia and the Philippines. She has written landing page content and blogs for various types of businesses and corporate demands to help market their services and products effectively to their target audience.