The Importance of UGC Moderation: Why Brands Can't Ignore It

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UPDATED September 27, 2023
Written By Stephanie Walker

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any brand-specific content created by consumers and shared on social media or other platforms. It has emerged as a powerful tool for digital marketers to attract audiences, coming in many forms such as images, videos, reviews, testimonials, and even podcasts.

However, UGC can be a source of misinformation, cyberbullying, privacy risks, and toxicity, defeating its intended purpose. This highlights the importance of UGC moderation for brands and should not be overlooked.

If you remember those times we looked for our names on Coca-Cola bottles you would know how the immense popularity of the “Share a Coke” campaign, where bottles were personalized with people’s names from various locations, created a worldwide frenzy.

Customers were invited to share photos of themselves enjoying a drink with their custom-made bottles on social media to sustain the momentum. This clever approach turned consumers into effective brand advertisers for Coca-Cola.

This isn’t just a one-time campaign or a fortunate coincidence. Instead, it represents one of the many user-generated content that propelled the business, generating millions of revenue and a whole new image.

Apple also did a similar campaign called “Shot on iPhone” to promote the high-quality camera of the iPhone 6.

These user-generated content examples showcase the impact of UGC in the digital world. Consumers now place greater importance on peer opinions than traditional advertising efforts. This is why businesses should consider UGC moderation to protect their reputation and their consumers.

Building Brand Reputation and Trust

brand reputation and trust

The primary advantage of UGC  is authenticity as it provides genuine opinions and firsthand experiences from users, fostering a sense of trust. Additionally, it serves as a cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising since it relies on the voluntary contributions of users and customers.

However, according to a report:

  • 1 in 27 UGC submissions is flagged as not safe for work (NSFW)
  • 1 in 19 submissions is not safe for a brand (NSFB)
  • 80% of Americans acknowledge that UGC impacts their purchasing decisions

These numbers underscore the critical importance of user-generated content moderation. Without proper content moderation solutions in place, industries are at risk of exposing their users to thousands of illicit images per day including live-streamed traumatic events. Moreover, children who are beginning to explore the internet are particularly vulnerable to encountering inappropriate content and exploitation.  Prioritizing UGC moderation creates a secure environment for users, earning trust, and reputation and protecting vulnerable individuals from harmful experiences.

Ensuring Brand Consistency and Compliance

brand consistency

When authentic UGC align with your brand’s guidelines and showcase your products in a positive light, it stimulates others to make a purchase, giving you a competitive advantage. However, if content that contradicts your brand values circulates, it can cause significant harm to your reputation.

Maintaining brand guidelines through UGC moderation is essential to uphold a consistent image and reputation. By implementing moderation practices, businesses can prevent the dissemination of content that deviates from brand values and guidelines. This includes identifying and addressing potential risks such as offensive or misleading information, copyright infringement, and privacy violations.

User-generated content management through moderation enables proactive intervention to maintain a positive and authentic customer experience while mitigating risks and safeguarding the brand from potential harm.

Enhancing User Experience and Engagement

user experience

It is important to curate and moderate UGC to ensure that the content shared by users aligns with community guidelines and values, fostering a safe and positive environment for engagement.

Deploying content moderation services like text moderation techniques helps filter out harmful content such as hate speech. Removing such and other harmful content fosters a more pleasant and inclusive space that allows active engagement without fear of encountering disturbing material.

The knowledge that their content will undergo moderation instills users with confidence and trust in user-generated content platforms. This, in turn, motivates them to contribute their own content, such as reviews, feedback, or creative submissions.

From this valuable content, businesses can draw inspiration for product development such as creating new product features, refining existing offerings, or even developing entirely new products that align more effectively with customer demand.

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Protecting Against Brand Impersonation and Fraud

brand impression

Brand impersonators and fraud have always been a problem even before the internet. But along with the rise of technology, their modus operandi has evolved as well.

Impersonators fabricate fraudulent user accounts on social media platforms or websites to mimic legitimate individuals or businesses to deceive users and gain their trust.  Cybercriminals may also spoof UGCs such as reviews and testimonials to promote their services or products.

UGC content moderators employ a number of user verification processes such as phone number verification and social media account linkage for profile moderation purposes. This proactive approach helps minimize the presence of fake accounts and impersonation.

Moderators analyze user activity patterns to identify any suspicious or irregular behavior. Image content moderation tools are especially helpful in verifying the authenticity of images and detecting instances of manipulated or stolen content used in fake accounts.

Moderators also play a vital role in mitigating the risk of fraudulent UGC submissions. They carefully review and validate the content to ensure its authenticity and adherence to guidelines. Fraud detection algorithms are employed to identify suspicious activities, including repetitive or automated submissions, as well as abnormal user behaviors.

User reporting systems are often incorporated into moderation systems, allowing users to report fraudulent content. Further, the content moderation process for UGCs is constantly monitored and refined to adapt to evolving suspicious submissions.

Leveraging UGC for Marketing and Growth

Moderated UGC is considered high-quality. It aligns with the brand’s messaging and values, effectively showcasing the genuine experiences and opinions of customers, adding an element of authenticity to the business’ marketing campaigns.

Authentic and quality UGC can be strategically integrated into marketing campaigns to effectively demonstrate the brand’s values and reliability, which in turn encourages customers to engage and make informed purchasing decisions. Due to its genuine nature, UGC has a higher chance to resonate with the target audience.

Incorporating such UGC into marketing campaigns allows businesses to extend their reach and engagement by tapping into customers’ social networks. This not only increases visibility and reach but also encourages others to actively participate and share their own experiences, creating a ripple effect of brand engagement.

Moreover, when user-generated content for brands is moderated, it yields enhanced advocacy and positive word-of-mouth. Genuine UGC fosters a sense of validation among users, driving increased engagement and motivating them to share positive experiences and recommend the brand to others. It extends the brand's reach beyond its current customer base, attracting new customers through the power of advocacy and recommendations.

Social media platforms are the ideal environment to share UGC, allowing users to spread the brand’s message with their own networks. However, social media moderation is crucial in this process as well.

Implementing Effective UGC Moderation Strategies

Given the vast amount of UGC generated daily, effective moderation relies on leveraging automated content moderation tools to streamline processes. These tools enable swift analysis and flagging of potentially inappropriate or harmful content. For instance, simplifying inappropriate image detection, and ensuring adherence to legal and brand guidelines.

Utilizing automated keyword tools scans UGC for specific keywords or phrases that may signify sensitive content, preventing the publication or viewing of any material that violates guidelines or proves offensive. Further, automated tools facilitate the analysis of user behavior patterns, enabling the identification of unusual activities such as spamming, while supporting the monitoring of UGC for compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

While automated tools excel in detecting and flagging inappropriate content promptly, human moderators play a crucial role in contextual analysis, comprehending subtleties, and making subjective judgments.

Content that involves elements like sarcasm or humor often necessitates human interpretation. Human oversight is also necessary to review content flagged by automated tools and make informed decisions regarding its publication. Additionally, human moderators contribute to training machine learning algorithms in automated tools, improving their accuracy and efficiency over time. They also conduct audits and quality control checks to identify areas for enhancement, address biases, and ensure the overall effectiveness of the moderation process.

Harness the Power of UGC through Moderation

Given the constant influx of UGCs, it is inevitable that negative and harmful content emerge. While user-generated content offers immense potential for brands to enhance their online presence, it also serves as a platform for bad actors and trolls.

To navigate this landscape, it is important to approach UGC with caution, avoiding an overly zealous approach to removing negative content like poor reviews. It is important to recognize that some negative reviews are authentic and removing them may not always be the optimal course of action.

Consistent and reliable moderation fosters trust among users. When users witness their concerns being addressed promptly and inappropriate content being swiftly removed, they develop greater confidence in engaging with the platform or brand, ultimately bolstering the business’ reputation. Moderators are key in ensuring that UGC aligns with the brand’s values, messaging, and overall image.

Hiring moderators allows businesses to effectively manage the substantial volume of UGC while also leveraging automated tools as part of the moderation process. For example, Chekkee,  a UGC content moderation outsourcing services provider, offers automated moderation solutions that complement human moderation efforts.

Deploying the best content moderation services is the optimal approach to monitoring all UGC effectively. Our content moderators ensure that all UGC complies with community guidelines, terms of service, and legal requirements. Our expertise and proactive approach help mitigate the potential for legal issues, reputational damage, and negative user experiences.

Thoroughly examining your UGC is essential to safeguarding your brand's reputation. It's important to note that dismissing UGC altogether would result in a significant loss for your brand. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid taking shortcuts and face the challenge head-on.

Harness the efficiency of AI and human oversight for top-notch UGC moderation. Contact us!

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