Collaboration is the fuel that drives successful organisations to reach their business goals. This applies not only on an internal level between colleagues and co-workers, but also to the wider organisational community that supports your business, like your customers.
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the ways in which a collaborative relationship can be fostered to the benefit of the organisation and the customer. In fact, more and more businesses are realising that their customers have powerful stories to tell, and that by giving them a digital platform to share their brand experiences, they can unlock a multitude of benefits.
Not only is UGC a great way for organisations to source valuable free content, it can also build trust in your brand, increase reach and engagement, and strengthen your organisational community, allowing customers to connect through shared experiences.
At Publisher’s Toolbox collaboration is a cornerstone of our business philosophy and we endeavour to make products that bring digital communities closer together. Through our journey in developing MojoReporter, our mobile media-sharing app, we’ve identified six essential components to consider when choosing a UGC platform.
COMMUNITY GENERATED CONTENT
More than 86% of businesses are using community generated content as part of their marketing strategy
Community content gets 8x more engagement
A combination of user and professional content increases engagement by 28%
Statistics courtesy of socialtoaster.com
Does your platform allow users to provide content via their mobile devices? Do they need to undertake a multitude of steps to use it? Is the platform difficult to use or technical, and will it require your marketing team to undergo training to manage the inflow and recall of media? Chances are if you answered yes to any of these, your UGC campaign will fail. Functionality is the key to your platform’s long-term success, and must allow the user to interact with you easily, quickly and seamlessly. For the organisation, it is also worth considering whether the platform has a free entry-level option, which will assist you in getting to know the product to make an informed decision, without having to undergo a long-winded registration and set-up process.
If you have an existing Android or iOS app, can your UGC platform’s full scope and range of functionality be integrated without costly redesign or extended development? If not, can the look and feel of your UGC platform be configured to align with your brand identity? This is an important factor to consider for businesses who want to build digital communities and understand the value of providing a consistent brand experience for their users.
This is the big one. Social media is a great way for businesses to engage with their communities. And yes, social channels are an incredibly easy way for customers to share their brand experiences, either through reviews, videos, pictures, and more.
By bringing your UGC platform into your own private, branded mobile application, you can control the message and ensure ownership and exclusivity of incoming content
But for the organisation, what protection is there for your media rights? How do you take ownership of all this valuable community-generated media? By bringing your UGC platform into your own private, branded mobile application, you can control the message and ensure ownership and exclusivity of incoming content.
Collecting content is one thing, but to maximise its value you need an asset management system to centrally store and manage all of your incoming digital media. Again, with the potential for multiple users of the system, workflow simplicity should be a key consideration. Whichever platform you decide on, it should be tightly integrated into your preferred CMS platform – WordPress for example – to allow for quick and easy publishing to multiple digital platforms
The vagaries of internet connectivity and high data costs are another important and often overlooked element to consider when it comes to deciding on your ideal UGC media-sharing platform. When making your choice, find out if your favoured platform provides compression for all media types, to ensure users can upload their digital media quickly and easily from any location, even if it happens to be the middle of nowhere.
Now that you’ve got your hands on all of this valuable and exciting UGC, you’re going to want to share it, sometimes immediately, to a variety of different platforms – your social channels or website for example – to be viewed on a variety of different devices. To provide your users with a high-quality playback experience, make sure your UGC platform transcodes submitted videos into multiple formats for post-production streaming and/or download.
Interested in UGC?
If you would like to start incorporating user generated content into your marketing strategy and are looking for a partner to help you put the right platforms in place, check out our digital-media sharing tool, MojoReporter.