As we discussed in our previous blog on user-generated content (UGC), this tactic can be an incredibly powerful way to maximize your reach, influence and exposure. The key to executing a successful UGC strategy lies in understanding and avoiding a few potential pitfalls. Let’s take a look at how we can successfully overcome them for excellent results.
Through social media posts and videos to blogs, podcasts and more, the marketing world is embracing UGC.
Many brands are using it to their advantage by engaging with the content, sharing it through various marketing mediums (think social platforms and email newsletters), and utilizing it in their advertisements.
For all intents and purposes, it almost seems UGC has become a way to harness the power of word of mouth marketing… without needing face-to-face interactions with customers and clients.
Instead, the cultivation of organically (and sometimes paid) created content from real users does the talking for you.
With the impressive amount of UGC benefits, it begs the question: is there downside to UGC? Like any other type of marketing or content creation, there are a few. But with the right action steps, you can strategically overcome these pitfalls to maximize your UGC success.
Possible Downsides of UGC
Most UGC is organically created by users, customers, clients, employees and other brand advocates. This means the creators have most of the control and, as such, companies may occasionally be subject to negative content.
Negative reviews, testimonials, social media posts and blog posts are certainly a risk associated with embracing UGC.
However, while you may instinctively rush to remove the negative content (if you have the opportunity to do so), we recommend if it’s appropriate, that you keep most of it published.
This provides valuable feedback, increases your authenticity and can help amplify the sincerity of positive content. You may possibly learn something about your brand positioning, or product offering.
How to Address Negative UGC
Use negative content as an opportunity to reconnect with your audience. Show them you’re not afraid to listen to customer feedback and acknowledge their user experience. Ask them what you could do better, and make the necessary changes if you feel it’s important to do so.
Being open to negative feedback illustrates to your prospective customers that your brand cares about their well-being and is always willing to improve and learn.
UGC Can Be Anonymous
In some cases, anonymous users or fake profiles may publish negative content, such as comments, reviews and social media posts.
On social media platforms, these people are often labeled as “trolls” and, without context, the content can be harmful. This can put your real, hard-earned reputation and positive content at risk, as it could cause others to second guess its authenticity.
How to Address Anonymously-Posted Content
If this happens, it can sometimes be hard to address because you don’t know who they are or even if they’re a real customer, or user.
While there’s not much you can do about anonymous users or fake profiles posting negative content, you can attempt to verify their identities, reply in a constructive way or create steps to have customers verified before publishing content (this often works best with product or service reviews on your website or an e-commerce platform).
For more information regarding the legalities of removing harmful or damaging content, take a look at this blog from Kohrman Jackson & Krantz.
Monitoring Can Be Time-Consuming
Consistently monitoring UGC can be incredibly time-consuming, especially for large brands with huge audiences that consistently create and provide reviews, testimonials, blogs, social posts and other forms of content.
However, foregoing regular monitoring can be a major oversight, as unaddressed negative content may be left to fester and spread, which could lead to a major PR mess.
How to Optimize UGC Monitoring
You need to keep an eye on your brand’s online presence, activities and audience engagement. In some cases, this may mean hiring a new team member as an online community brand manager.
You’ll find the benefits of content moderation and management far outweigh the cons, as you can keep spam content to a minimum while upholding your brand reputation and authenticity.
UGC is a Legal Labyrinth
As mentioned above, one of the major disadvantages of UGC is that you have little control over what content is being created. This also comes along with several legal issues that you need to be aware of when integrating UGC into your marketing strategy.
Though your brand may be tagged in a social post, associated with specific branded hashtags or featured in customer photos, you do not have the right to use that content as you please. The sole owner of that content rests with its original creator.
How to Navigate UGC Legalities
Before sharing and publishing UGC on your website, social feeds, email newsletters and other forms of marketing mediums, you must obtain explicit permission from the content owner.
This could be as simple as getting a “yes” to the question, “can we share this content on our marketing channels?”
And don’t forget—if you share on social media, it’s best practice to give credit to the original creator. This also benefits your brand by creating a sense of community and inclusion, prompting other customers, users and clients to share their experience.
Amplifying Your Marketing Strategy with UGC
Take your marketing potential to the next level with UGC. The Giant Voices digital marketing team is experienced in helping brands get the most out of UGC, including content moderation and management, implementation and optimization.
Contact us when you’re ready to improve your digital marketing strategies.