User-generated content (UGC) pertains to any online content that is produced and shared by end users (which can be viewed, consumed, and shared by other users) of a website or an online service. Also known as consumer-generated media, UGC is generally considered a form of conversational and engagement media as it leads toward initiating a conversation or expressing an opinion/thought. Some forms of UGC include images, videos, status updates, infographics, comments, blog posts, and discussions.
How can you use UGC to your advantage? If properly moderated, UGC can be a most powerful marketing tool. To implement a successful UGC moderation strategy, here are the things that you need to take into careful consideration:
Who is your audience? What are they concerned about? What are their vulnerabilities and needs? These are the first things that you need to determine when creating a content moderation campaign. You will need to balance audience profile with your brand’s voice so you can determine where to draw the line and narrow your target.
Make sure to allot some budget for content moderation - not just for the planning and implementation of your marketing campaign, but to make sure you balance your campaign continuously with the safety of your users.
For moderators to be efficient, you need to spend a lot of time on your guidelines, and determine what kind of content is appropriate and inappropriate for your site. Also, be ready for any adjustments to your moderation criteria when your campaign begins.
Consider your expected/intended volume of UGC on your site. Are you expecting a surge in volume? How big is the surge you are expecting? To come up with more realistic goals, you should look at your current metrics.
There may be certain times of the day when the volume of UGC on your site is at its highest. Those are the times you need moderation most. To determine your peak UGC time, if any, you have to know when you can expect to receive content from your audience.
Moderating content takes time, yet, you need to consider the impact of the time span on your budget. If you want a faster turnaround, you may need a larger moderation team and, of course, a larger budget.
If you are going to use pre-moderation, for example, you need to find out how much time you are willing to allow to pass before having UGC live on your site. As for users, they are expecting to see their content posted as soon as possible. You may want to meet user expectations but, of course, it depends on your budget and human resources.
When moderating UGC, businesses/brands should carefully consider how they will control the influx of content without limiting user creativity or affecting their campaign negatively in any other way.