How User-Generated Content Can Improve Your Brand's Credibility


September 12, 2018

Written by

Stephanie Walker

Marketing has always been part of every business strategy. Most of its process is all about sharing an honest opinion — and enabling your customers to share their thoughts is the best way to effectively drive user-generated content (UGC). It is a major element for an effective content marketing strategy for most product, brand or company. When driving higher end-user participation, businesses are required to monitor any kind of content submissions through content moderation services as a way of protecting both their customers and reputation.

Whether your business is at the starting point of trying to build an audience or you are an existing brand working on establishing a solid base of loyal customers, it is essential to fully comprehend the value of audience input in your online communities. Given that UGC can either build or destroy a brand’s reputation, understanding its influence in branding, audience engagement and generating revenue is a must

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content refers to any form of online content such as pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, discussions and blog posts that contains genuine opinion from users and promotes an online brand rather than the business itself. Compared to traditional brand marketing, people put more trust and confidence in member reviews, comments and shared experiences than they do self-promotions from businesses.

To help you understand its function, listed below are the roles of UGC in making your brand more credible:

Increase Brand Awareness

Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand that provides trustworthy experiences to their users. UGC contributes to introducing your brand and products to a wider audience. When users create an authentic content that speaks about your brand, more people will be aware that your products and services exist, thus, giving your business more exposure.  

According to the worldwide survey conducted by Nielsen Company, 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know while 70% get their certainty from reviews posted by online users. This only shows how businesses benefit from their customers’ genuine feedback.

Multiple User-generated content icon

Boost Social Endorsements

Enabling a UGC campaign on social media strengthens your business’ credibility, builds your customers’ trust and brings your brand’s promises into perspective. This serves as an excellent social proof, especially for your potential customers and site visitors. Your brand can hold social activities such as custom hashtags, photo or video contests, and questions for discussions. When paired with efficient content moderation, these types of activities push for stronger and more effective customer recommendation to other people along with a safer online environment for all your end-users. It is important to respond to user content. Once your social media platforms have asked for people’s input, your brand needs to acknowledge their efforts. This will result in more meaningful interaction and encourages other users to share their thoughts.

As Sprout Social’s report shows, 75% of people are likely to share good experience through their own profile. In addition, a study by Reevoo presents that 61% of people become more engaged with an advertisement if it contained content created by fellow community members.

UGC Boosting Social Media Endorsements

Incorporates Trustworthy Content

Consumers trust user content more than regular brand content. It is authentic, honest, and prioritizes informing fellow customers over pitching sales.

Majority of consumers trust their friends when it comes to making a purchasing decision. The opinion created by people who support your brand is seen as unbiased and genuine. As a matter of fact, 47% of millennials and 36% of baby boomers trust user-generated content; whereas 25% of both demographics say they trust brand content.

User-generated visuals are racking up a huge percentage of customer trust as well. 72% of shoppers are influenced by Instagram photos of a product. YouTube videos uploaded by members get 10x more views than branded content.

When a satisfied customer tells others about a great experience they had with their trusted brand, it then provides social proof that supports your credibility.

User generating content on a messaging icon

How can brands make the most out of user-generated content?

Now that you have a better idea as to the core roles of UGC in your overall branding, it is likewise necessary to know how you can employ content produced by your end-users to your full advantage.  

Maximize audience participation

Since it is produced by your end-users, it makes sense that you allow your customers to bask in the spotlight. Customers put more trust in the opinions and feedback of their fellow consumers. If you’re a new restaurant or brand in town, it would be best to rely on customer reviews and feedback to help build your business. Providing end-users the opportunity to talk and discuss in behalf of your brand through featuring their queries, photos, reviews, and videos effectively boost their involvement in growing both your business and your client base. 

Contests and Endorsements

Using contests and endorsements allows you to reach out to your target demographic more directly. Encourage your audience to endorse your services by using keyword-specific hashtags. Create online contests that require your audience to post pictures, videos, or a status update depicting your product and services. This way, there is a higher chance of gaining more digital visibility while driving better engagement from your customers. 

Engage, engage, engage!

Most business owners fail to understand that banking on UGC does not mean engaging customers in conversations only when you are running a promotion or when they are making a purchase on your site. Build lasting relationships with your end-users by exerting effort in really getting to know them. Make your customers feel that you treat and value them as people, and not just as sources of revenue for your business. Actively engaging with your audience likewise gives customers the impression that your brand is open to hearing out their feedback and constructive criticism. 

While content generated by users is both necessary and useful, consistent UGC moderation should still be practiced.

Yes, user-generated content is highly beneficial for your business. However, the type of content posted by your audience can be unpredictable. If you are not careful enough, you might be making your brand and your end-users more susceptible to damaging and offensive content. Among the contents that you need to look out for include spam, fake news or false information, images and videos promoting abuse and violence of any kind, terrorism, pornography, nudity, drugs, extremism, trolls, and scams. Posts that violate your online community’s guidelines should also be given immediate attention. 
Below are some examples on how you can implement UGC moderation: 

Get your community involved

Employing the participation of your community members in monitoring user posts allows you to maximize your manpower for moderation. You can assign community managers or moderators who will be in charge of checking member posts before it gets published and available to the community. When members are aware that their posts will undergo reviewing, the usual reaction is to follow community guidelines and refrain from posting content that may be offensive or highly controversial to their fellow members. The only downside to employing community moderation is that it can be time to consume and slow down real-time interaction. 

Consider content type

As end-user participation is given more importance in building a brand and enhancing its reputation, UGC’s are drastically evolving into more than just a simple comment, review, or forum post. Currently, there are different types of UGC’s and it is vital to understand the purposes of each. After all, it is not ideal to allow all forms of customer-produced content on your website. Instead, choosing the content that best suits your marketing and outreach strategies will help make UGC moderation more manageable. 

That said, when creating a guideline for user-generated posts, consider how moderation would differentiate in terms of reviewing text-based content from images and video content. With text, the efficiency of assigning keywords that help determine permissible content from those that do not depend on whether AI or human moderators will be used. Moderation in the form of bots tends to lack flexibility in terms of analyzing the context of the content. Meanwhile, human moderators are more capable of determining whether user posts are intentionally offensive or not.

If you allow guest blogging on your website, you can assign moderators to conduct a quality analysis on the submitted articles. You can likewise focus on monitoring user comments and ensuring members post constructive feedback and stay on the topic being discussed. When moderating images and videos, the focus is on graphics and footages portraying offensive and explicit themes.  

Explore different forms of moderation

Moderation comes in different forms, and choosing the best one for your online branding depends upon the following: 

  • Your digital branding’s core goals 
  • The people who comprise your online community 
  • The type of online communities you have for your business 

You can choose to employ pre or post-moderation, use a rating system for monitoring content, or rely on a combination of automated (AI) and manual (human) moderation. Whatever type of moderation you opt to use for your brand, make sure it balances your overall digital marketing strategy and highlights the demands and unique culture of your online community. When user-generated content and content moderation services are leveraged properly, your business will surely maximize the functions and advantages of UGC’s while ultimately making your brand more credible.

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