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 there are drawbacks. Here’s how you can avoid user-generated content problems.
What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content can be defined as content created by unpaid contributors, but there is some ambiguity. 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 the normal professional routes. But again, this is open to interpretation. Unpaid professionals sometimes contribute to build their portfolios and normal professional routes are dissipating with new freelancing mediums.
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 in blog posts, pictures, videos, testimonials, Facebook post, tweets and anything else. This is an efficient and effective way to promote your brand, but there are some pitfalls.
User-Generated Content Drawbacks
Your company can run into some serious issues when it opens its channels for users to generate their own content. Below are the three problems with user-generated content and how you can avoid them.
1. Images Infringe Upon Copyrights
This is the most problematic issue for companies because it can expose them to costly legal actions. When a company purchases an image, they receive a license with specific instructions on when, where and how they can use it. But a user will often just search for an image in the Internet and post it without considering copyright infringement.
An excellent way to avoid copyright infringement from user-generated or professional content is to integrate a digital asset management system into your content creation processes. That way anyone – employee or not – who posts 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 Digital Rights Management: A Guide for Business.
2. Content Is Low Quality
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.
By using digital asset management, you can set up the necessary approval workflows to apply quality control in your daily work routine.
3. Engagement Is Low
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.
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.
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