Since the early days of social media, ordinary people have been creating quality user-generated content. Brands were not far behind the trend, looking to capitalize upon the great content their consumers were producing. Brands from all sorts of industries, from Starbucks and Burberry to Chobani, have developed marketing campaigns that benefited from UGC. Many of these campaigns have been moving and memorable, like a recent campaign from Target that included an emotional commercial featuring user-submitted videos of students opening their college acceptance letters.
Now that the balance of power in the economy has shifted away from companies to the consumer, brands understand the immense value this content has, and they mine social networks for this user-generated content. UGC not only showcases the relationship that consumers have with a brand or product, but it also provides a massive endorsement of it.
Likewise, users are becoming more sophisticated in terms of understanding their rights as content creators and more aware of the power their content has in the social sphere. Because users have a higher level of sophistication, brands must be more attentive to what is being said and how it’s being shared.
The Importance of Informed Consent
Initially, you might think it’s straightforward for a brand to share or reshare this content across owned social networks or web properties, but sharing UGC opens the door to sticky copyright issues and potential legal action.
Prior to the social media boom, using someone else’s photos generally required getting consen…
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