One thing fans know how to do is create content for something they love.
If you spend ten minutes combing through Tumblr’s search engines looking for anything, and I mean anything, you will find gifs, well-written reviews dissecting a scene, character or entire franchise, hand made drawings and paintings, fan fiction and in some cases, songs composed for a product.
In a similar way to Amazon reviews, Tumblr allows for a space for reviews to be posted and seen by a large audience. With Amazon, the feedback typically stops with a review and with a photograph of the product; whereas with Tumblr, the review can turn into GIFing commercials and dissecting actors.
Taylor Hawes, a blogger for Host Gator, discusses the pros and cons of user generated content (UGC) in his post, “Is User Generated Content Right for Your Website?” In the article, Hawes mentions that sometimes the content that’s generated isn’t always of the highest quality and that one should think about how to address the low quality content or negative reviews but one of the pros to UGC is that it can “significantly decrease the amount of content your team is directly responsible for creating.” Hawes also suggests that if you are going to use user-generated content that you make it as easy as possible for them to contribute.
One of the benefits to UGC not really talked about by Hawes is that if you manage a popular TV show, movie or book series, over time users might create content for you without being asked. Hawes does say that some brands can also encourage fans to create content from scratch but the fans I’m thinking of don’t need encouraging – they do it because they love the product. Tumblr is a great site to find this kind of response. For example, the last Harry Potter book was published in 2007, the last movie came out in 2011 and even though there is no new material, no new photographs from set – fans have been creating their own content based on the books and movies without being prompted by Warner Brothers or JK Rowling.
One thing Hawes discussed that had not initially occurred to me was the legal concerns for generated content. Hawes is referring to a situation where the company will have a user sign a terms and condition statement that releases the company (or brand) from any liability relating to a post that is inoffensive or inaccurate.
One of the last things Hawes talks about is figuring out when UGC is right for you. He acknowledges that all user-generated content is good for business but if you don’t have a strong fan base, it wouldn’t be a good time to launch a campaign asking for submissions.
I will leave you with one last piece of advice from Hawes, “User generated content vastly increases your reach, creates positive buzz for your brand and can be a lot of fun in the process. If you’re looking to increase your web presence, it’s likely that user generated content is a good fit for you. Laying out your strategy and addressing any legal concerns before you get started will allow you to experience this new marketing strategy as a fun, innovative way to promote your business.”