How do you know you’re ready for user generated content (UGC)?

How do you know you’re ready for user generated content (UGC)?

Enterprise video teams need to evaluate their policies and technology before embracing UGC as part of their comms strategy.

James Broberg is the Founder and CEO of StreamShark, an end-to-end Live and on-demand video streaming platform for enterprises. Prior to StreamShark, James was a research fellow in content delivery networks and cloud computing at the University of Melbourne.

User generated content (UGC) is emerging as a pillar of enterprise video communication. Does your organization have the framework to take advantage?

Corporate communication teams have shown their agility in the increasingly hybrid, async working world. We’ve figured out how to take live, in-person events, and turn them virtual. Employees still congregate together at a scheduled time to hear a speaker – but that collaboration happens through Zoom, Google Meet and other video tools. We’re figuring out new and innovative solutions to make every enterprise Live stream successful.

Despite these triumphs, there’s still more to be done. According to Gallup, 72% of employees don’t fully understand their company’s strategy [1]. With less in-person and synchronous work, that number is at risk of increasing. 

The next step for many teams is making corporate comms content more asynchronous and accessible. To increase views and meaningful engagement, employees need the ability to consume content on their own terms: regardless of timezone or schedule. UGC can fill this void as another tool in the enterprise video communication toolbox.

User generated video content can take many forms: an executive announcing a product launch, mid-level managers posing questions at a Town Hall, or entry-level employees posting videos to the company intranet. All of these solutions offer potential for increased engagement while removing some of the burden from your corporate comms teams.

Before you go crazy with UGC, you need to ensure your enterprise is ready. Building the proper framework from a policy and technology perspective can ensure that user generated content is a useful tool, instead of a constant headache:

The pros and cons of user generated content for enterprise video

Like any communication method, UGC is only helpful when it’s incorporated strategically. There is huge potential, and of course some downside:

Pros of User Generated Content

In the marketing and advertising world, user generated content allows brands to source advertisements and announcements from their customers. Consumers are 2.4x as likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands [2] . Plus, brands can ease the creative burden by effectively outsourcing content creation to their customers.

Apply that logic to the internal comms world, with employees taking the role of the traditional “consumer.” Employees are empowered to share their feelings and opinions. Viewers, meanwhile, tend to be more captivated. 

A carefully-crafted press release or memo might go unread in a busy employee’s inbox. What if an engaging executive delivers the same information in a lively, personalized manner on the homepage of the company intranet? That’s a better way for your content to be consumed. Consider that pre-recorded video content can be viewed on one’s own schedule, and you’ve got a better solution for the hybrid world.

Cons of User Generated Content

Enabling more user generated video content brings the same risk as any other communication channel (Slack, Teams, text forums on the intranet, etc). Empowering everyone in your organization to communicate via video could lead to critical, misleading, or incendiary content. Alternatively, employees without the proper tools to contribute video content might feel disconnected or voiceless.

UGC only makes sense when it makes life easier for the internal communications team. Companies that choose to carefully vet every user generated video might find that task more time-consuming than just producing the content on their own. Internal policies may need to be reviewed and updated to provide clarity on what is acceptable content and tone and what is not.

Three questions to ask about enterprise UGC

Effective strategy can negate the cons of UGC while amplifying the positives. How you deploy user generated content depends on your culture, resources and goals. There’s no “one-size fits all” strategy. Ask yourself these questions to make sure your enterprise is UGC-ready:

How do I define my company’s communication culture?

Do you want to allow any employee to post a video message to the entire company? Will you limit UGC contributions to the executive team? Somewhere in between?

Smaller companies might be more open, while large enterprises prefer to limit communications. Sometimes, it’s purely a matter of preference; does your leadership team want unfiltered feedback or a more organized approach?

It’s up to you and your company. No matter what you choose, ensure that your policies for UGC are authentic to your brand.

Who will be responsible for enforcing our policies?

Enforcement is just as important as policy. Figure out a practical framework with the right individual (line manager, head of internal comms, etc) in charge of approving user generated content.

Certain team members must be responsible for helping facilitate the UGC process. Perhaps you’ll build a committee to review content, and take adequate action when rules aren’t followed.

What tools and technology do I need to enable UGC?

Consider the suite of internal communication tools you need to upload, process and share user generated video content. Some employees invested in robust personal tech setups during the pandemic, complete with lighting and high-quality DSLR cameras. Others might be comfortable contributing content via QuickTime, Zoom recording, or using a video collaboration tool like CloudApp.

Additionally, you’ll need to measure the effects of UGC to know if it’s an effective part of your strategy. The right enterprise video reporting and analytics tool will help you gather creation, engagement and viewership metrics.

Making the most of UGC

I can’t tell you how to source and share user generated content in your organization. That’s up to you and your leadership team.

Preparing your enterprise for an influx of UGC is as simple as asking the right questions. This self-evaluation ensures that you’ll reap the benefits of user generated content – increased engagement, employee empowerment, reduced creative workload – without running into constant roadblocks.

References 

[1] Stackla, (2019, Feb.). “Stackla Survey Reveals Disconnect Between the Content Consumers Want & What Marketers Deliver”. Businesswire.com

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