User-generated content is an effective way to improve community engagement with your brand. Whether you’re looking to increase blog traffic, expand your social media presence or enhance your discussion forums, user-generated content gives you inexpensive content while building brand engagement. But how do you increase engagement while maintaining brand consistency and avoiding copyright infringement? Here’s how you can optimize your user-generated content marketing.
What Is User-Generated Content?
What best distinguishes user-generated content from professional content is the nature of the contributor’s relationship with the brand. User-generated content is where users promote your brand rather than the company promoting itself. This could be blog posts, pictures, videos, testimonials, Facebook post, tweets or any other content contribution.
User-generated content is content created by unpaid contributors, but this definition is open to interpretation. If you hold a contest where users get a prize for their content, then they are technically being paid. User-generated content could also be defined as content generated outside normal professional routes. Again, though, there is some ambiguity. Unpaid professionals sometimes contribute to build their portfolios and the normal professional routes are dissipating with new freelancing mediums. But one thing remains true: user-generated content is an excellent way to promote your brand, if utilized effectively.
How to Power Your User-Generated Content Campaigns
This can be a nightmare for marketers and publishers; you create a huge campaign for your users but it’s mostly ignored. There could be a few different reasons for this like a general lack of a community or low interest in the campaign.
The best way to avoid low engagement on your first user-generated content campaign is to incentivize. The most successful campaigns are those that give users something valuable. One great incentive is a contest with a prize. Gift something useful to the user and engagement – as well as quality – will increase. Also, giveaways and contests are more likely to be shared.
User-generated content encourages more engagement so you should also make it as easy as possible for campaign participants to engage with your brand. Making them send huge email attachments is not a great incentive for engagement and could hamper your campaign. Digital asset management systems like Cumulus offer the option to send out upload links to a specific group so they can just drag-and-drop into the system. That way, you’ll have the content right where you need it with few hurtles.
Maintain Brand Consistency
Everyone in your company should understand and easily articulate your brand story. They should have access to the brand guide and refer to it regularly. But how to do you ensure externals, like user-generated content contributors, have access to the brand guidelines?
The best way to maintain brand consistency with user-generated content is to make your brand guide simple, clear and public. Ensure it contains your brand tonality and style. Create a digital portal and review it on a consistent basis. That way, your user-generated content will stay consistent to the brand throughout changes.
Pay Attention to Copyrighting
When a company purchases an image from a stock photo provider, they receive a license with specific instructions on when, where and how they can use it. But a contributor might just search for images and post what they find without first considering copyright infringement and what could happen if its violated.
The best way to avoid copyright infringement from user-generated or professional content is to understand the ins and outs of digital rights management and make the essentials known to your contributors. That way employees and users who post your images on your site or social media channels can clearly see when and how they may use that image.
A solid digital asset management system is part of good digital rights management for companies. For more information on how you can protect your company from copyright infringement, check out our digital rights management white paper.
Facilitate Content Quality Processes
Not every fan of your brand will be a talented writer or photographer. If you decide to post poor-quality pictures or texts on your site, you can harm your brand image and hurt your ranking on search engines. You also open those users who decided to engage to criticism from the community.
Quality control is the key to ensuring your brand is protected while allowing users to post on your channels. Make clear community guidelines for content and link to them in your campaigns. Also, in the campaign brief, make sure you tell users that their content is subject to editing. That way you can keep the bulk of the content while maintaining brand quality standards.
Make Your Next User-Generated Content Campaign
There are many user-generated content problems, but if you follow some of these simple guidelines you can increase engagement while protecting your company and brand. Good luck to you in your quest for a better-engaged community.