Looking after the community – how I deal with UG content

As part of the communications strategy for the website I manage we decided that we simply must build a community on Facebook –  from a branding perspective and a social commerce perspective (we have added a commerce plugin to our page) it looks like the ideal channel to build our community and engage with new audiences – easy.

The initial content which we uploaded was fundamentally a bit of broadcast about news products and ranges, mixed in with valuable content such as buying guides and how to guides. I wanted to get to the point where if we posted new material on our Facebook page our ‘Likes’ (ers) will engage in debate and comment to start creating earned media content for us. I essentially wanted our Likes (ers) to be writing our content and creating links for us.

How did we go about this? Simple, I offered an incentive start the ball rolling.  A competition was launched in which the ‘Likers’ (I’m fed up of writing Liker (ers)) post anecdotes about days they wished they had a taken a Duvet day and stayed at home under the duvet. The winning post, chosen by us, would win a duvet – simple. I then promoted the competition using Facebook adverts and via Twitter.

I started to receive posts on ‘Likers’ about spilling coffee over colleagues and such, but I also received posts which I was a little uncomfortable with on our page, posts describing bodily functions etc. I was put in a conundrum; as an advocate of Social Media I wanted to keep the posts live – after all this is what our community want to share and to be honest they weren’t offensive. Or, as a Brand leader to I protect the brand and remove all of this content? I have kept my own counsel on this but have decided to keep the posts up. If I receive complaints or they offend anyone then I’ll review the situation. My rationale is that it would go against I believe is right about Social Media and the move towards open and transparent brand communications. I want to encourage openness and feedback from our customers and our community as well. If I start removing inoffensive content which isn’t ‘On-brand’ and approved I’ll lose any trust from community. I hope most communicators feels the same.

The would be the same if a ‘Liker’ or a customer posted negative content about our products or service. I’d hope that we’d be able to resolve the situation in public and move on, leaving both the user happy with the experience and a public trail of how good our brand is at dealing with complaints and issues.

It might be a good idea to bullet point my thoughts on user-generated content and how to handle the unexpected;

  1. Like a boy scout – be prepared
  2. Have Social Media guidelines ready for everyone
  3. Think be you act on any content – always take a look at all potentials avenues
  4. Engage with the User don’t just delete comment and not find out more about the users motives
  5. Amplify succesful interactions

Most importantly remember if customers fans are not posting negative content about you in your environment, they sure as hell will be in an environment you may not know about.

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