‘User-Generated Content’, a trend that was just a simple result of sharing capabilities via social networking, has today become the mightiest tool for Instagram marketing of brands all over the world. The reason why it is so effective for brands is that, in case of user-generated content, your customers are turning advertisers for you. Studies have proved that user-generated content based advertisements get 4 times higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost per click than the average. Not just this, another survey revealed that about 85% of the consumers surveyed preferred visual user-generated content over brand photos and videos, in order to make a decision to purchase.
So when your customers are turning advertisers for you on Instagram, it must be a utopian marketing world! Well, the answer is ‘No’, and this is where the need arises to be careful and thoroughly professional as a marketer. User-generated content, as the name suggests, is entirely owned by the users and they have the legal right on their pictures, videos, posts etc. even if your products are involved. If you end up sharing your customers’ content without permission, it may lead to not just legalities but also tarnish your brand reputation. Instagram itself clearly states that users are solely responsible for what they post and if any copyright issues arise, then it will be a legal offense.
Imagine this: One of the consumers has posted a pretty picture, merrily giving credit to a hairstyling product that you endorse as a marketer and you repost it on your brand handle. This simple gesture can turn into a lawsuit if the consumer does not approve of you using his/her picture.
So, here is an elaborate guide on how to legally repost and unleash the marketing prowess of ‘User-Generated Content’:
- Create a buzz with branded hashtags and contests: As a brand, you can announce a contest wherein happy brand customers can share their pictures with the specified hashtag and be a part of the contest. For example, marketing manager of a hairstyling product can invite Instagram posts with hashtag ‘ilovemyhair’ and the best picture can win a gift hamper of hair styling goodies. This will give you a chance to flaunt a humongous base of satisfied customers and also, this way you are implying to the customers that a post with this particular hashtag, can be used on the brand handle.
- Get access via a comment or a direct message: You can simply leave a comment on the original post, asking the consumer if it is okay to use their picture/video on the brand Instagram handle. Alternatively, you can leave a message to the user, seeking permission to use the content. In this case, there is explicit proof that you have the permission to use the content.
- Include copyright waivers in contract with influencers: Influencers are the aficionados in a particular field who are followed by a considerable number of people and whose recommendations are valued by customers. These days, many brands specifically tie-up with influencers to promote their product with shoppable content. In such Instagram marketing contracts with influencers, make sure that the copyright issue is clearly stated so that as a brand marketer you can freely use their pictures/videos.
How To Safely Regram?
Even when you have the permission to use the user-generated content, there is an etiquette to go about with visual commerce. Here are a few points to remember:
- Use the repost tool on Instagram App: Instagram app has a repost tool which enables proper sharing of user-generated content. With this app a watermark is added to the image displaying the original post creator’s Instagram username. This implies that the content is regrammed and declares credit to the original creator.
- Use a screenshot instead: Since reposting can affect the quality of the picture/video, some marketers prefer just taking a screenshot of the user’s post and then sharing it on the brand’s Instagram handle, while tagging the original creator and also mentioning creator’s username in the post’s caption.
- Regram using an interactive dashboard: There are various social media dashboards available out there to help make social media postings and interactions seamless as well as strategic.
When you are assured that you have followed the proper steps to employ ‘User-Generated Content’ to help your brand, you can be as innovative and creative with visual marketing as you want. This way you can engage future customers as well as express gratitude to the existing customers for being loyal to your brand. ‘ User-Generated Content’ can go on to become an important link in the relationship between the user and the brand.