The Do’s and Don’ts of User Generated Content

The impact of user generated content is clear, but what may not be as clear is how to properly gather and leverage customer content. Having a plan in place for collecting and sharing UGC helps paint an accurate picture of the shopping experience by providing insight in ways marketing and sales materials often can’t. Knowing the best practices for collecting and managing UGC can have a profound impact on a brand or retailer’s reputation, too. Some of the do’s and don’ts of user generated content include: 

  • Making UGC Participation Fun 
    Creating an environment where shoppers are eager to share content is ideal for brands and retailers. When retailers make contributing to user generated content efforts fun, it benefits retailers in a handful of ways including enhancing your social media content and creating a community of customers who routinely look forward to shopping with retailers before sharing their experience with them. Making the process of sharing user generated content fun, easy and something customers look forward to doing doesn’t have to be complicated. 
     
    Some examples of ways retailers can make the process of UGC collection fun may include creating witty, creative hashtags encouraging customers to share content or offering to feature some of the best customer content across other marketing platforms. Managing user generated content is just as important as collecting it. As retailers collect UGC, making sure they have the resources in place to secure the necessary permissions for sharing the content should be a top priority. 

  • Getting Permission 
    Given all of the responsibilities that go into successfully managing UGC, it’s important to make sure going through the steps to get proper permission doesn’t fall to the wayside. Imagine being a retailer and seeing a different merchant passing photos you’ve shared on social media platforms as their own without asking you first. It’s likely that you probably wouldn’t be too happy with that merchant in this scenario. Ensuring that you have the necessary permission helps make sure similar situations are avoided. 
     
    Retailers who plan on emphasizing UGC should have a solution in place that addresses privacy concerns, along with permissions. Without it, retailers run the risk of losing the trust they’ve worked hard to gain from their shoppers. Ensuring that the proper steps have been taken to avoid any confusion when it comes to the content customers share is one of the main steps to helping create a situation where customers can’t wait to share their content and see the content that other shoppers are sharing. 
     
  • Using UGC to Build a Community of Loyal Shoppers 
    Turning shoppers who regularly contribute user generated content into a community of experts about the products or brands they love has immense benefits for everyone involved. Aside from placing the thoughts and feelings of customers to the forefront of the conversation, user generated content can provide insight into a brand’s core values and beliefs. Openly displaying those core values through the content of customers helps clearly define the target audience to shoppers who may not be sure if a certain brand or retailer is for them or not. 
     
    The path to earning the trust of new customers becomes longer without user generated content. Properly vetting customer content is one of the biggest responsibilities that comes with managing a successful UGC strategy. Doing so can help prevent false or misleading claims about a shopping experience from being shared, which could have a negative effect on a brand’s reputation. 
     
  • Don’t Use Fabricated or Inauthentic Content 
    Although it may seem obvious that fake customer content does more harm than good, there’s still temptation for some nefarious characters to go that route. Studies show just over half of online shoppers will choose against shopping with a retailer that has fake reviews. Can you imagine losing all of your goodwill you’ve worked so hard to build with shoppers all over posting a fake review? Customers are smart and can tell when someone’s trying to pull the wool over their eyes, so using false content can be a recipe for disaster in the long run. 
     
    The process of beginning to collect user generated content can seem daunting, especially if you haven’t done so before. The best way to begin gathering content from customers is simply to ask. As more content starts to come in from customers, the process of asking for it is likely to get easier as time goes on. 

  • Don’t Be Shy About Asking for UGC 
    Ever hear the saying about a closed mouth not getting fed? The same concept holds true when it comes to collecting user generated content. Even though it probably goes without being said, there’s more than one way to go about asking for user generated content. For some businesses, a post-purchase survey may suffice while others may benefit from offering customers engagement on social media in exchange for their content. A great way to get comfortable and confident asking customers for content is by ensuring you have a plan for how to get the content you desire from shoppers. 
     
    Having the right solution in place for getting content from customers is one of the most vital aspects of constructing a successful user generated content strategy. No one wants to have their requests for UGC to get turned down, which is why having a plan in place is vital when it comes to successfully gathering customer content. Having a well mapped out strategy for gathering UGC leads to soliciting reviews in a way that doesn’t come off as inauthentic or annoying which is something everyone wants to avoid. 

  • Don’t Spam Customers for UGC 
    There’s not much that ruins the online experience for customers more than spam. Luckily there are a number of solutions available for retailers to choose from that won’t turn customers away. Take post purchase surveys for example. People would only receive emails asking for reviews upon receiving their product as opposed to receiving multiple emails before their order even arrives. Doing the latter could not only discourage shoppers from submitting their content, but make customers avoid interacting with a retailer or brand entirely. Research shows 55% of shoppers send emails from brands into the spam folder upon being overwhelmed by too many emails. 

    Creating a strong UGC strategy has long term lasting effects on the experience of consumers. Finding a partner who has the resources available for making the most of customer content should be one of the first steps of developing a UGC strategy. Curious about what resources are available that can make achieving UGC goals more attainable? Schedule a demo to learn more from one of our experts on the subject today.  

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