The use of “influencers” on social media and the sharing of user-generated content (UGC) isn’t a new thing in social media marketing. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to generate excitement and curiosity about your brand.
The best reviews are always those from real users, and the best advertising is the one you didn’t have to create: Those are social media marketing golden rules.
The implementation of user-generated content however, is rife with some potential troubles, especially when added to your own website.
A lot of businesses can operate under the idea that the average social media user is okay with the sharing of their content. While some of them will be, you run the risk of crossing an invisible line with someone who then generates negative press about you and/or your company. And of course, there is always the possibility of litigation.
Some insurance companies aren’t taking UGC into account, even today, while others will certainly ask whether you’re using it (and will charge you accordingly). This could impact your business insurance rate and potentially your Errors & Omissions rate.
It’s in your best interest to be above board on user-generated content and it always begins with the first step – asking for permission. How you ask for permission depends on the medium, but be sure to get a DM, email, tweet, or something that clearly shows the content creator giving you the right to use that image (and document that permission in a way that you can locate it in the far future). This prevents you from getting into a whole lot of trouble, and allows you to use user generated content most effectively.
Pro tip: If you’re going to be working with the same brand ambassador or influencer, make sure any contracts or agreements you have include a waiver that allows you to repurpose content they create that impacts your brand.
This is an easy thing to do, and it will help protect the integrity of your brand and your online presence – make sure it’s part of your social media strategy.
But it should be noted that there are merits to only using content that you create yourself – it’s more secure, more controlled, and it typically decrease the cost of your business insurance as it’s less risky. Because a lot of brands don’t ask for permission, UGC takes on some risk and skyrockets insurance rates.
The decision to use UGC should be a smart one, and if you do decide to use it, just follow the golden rules: Ask nicely and keep a paper trail.
This story was first published here in October 2019.