Author Archive for Hannah Nast

Is User Generated Content (UGC) right for you?


Content Syndication by Chris Heiler.

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.”

The Benefits of #CMGRclass in the “Real World”

arts engage

Last week I started working for SU Arts Engage (a non-profit organization that brings performing artists to the Syracuse area) as one of the two Production Coordinators hired through Imagining America. In addition to assisting with visiting artists, I am in charge of maintaining their website, Facebook and Twitter presence. I’m also in charge of deciding if they should appear on other forms of social media (Pinterest, YouTube, etc.) and whether using a social media aggregate, like RebelMouse, would be beneficial.

I knew when I started working for Arts Engage that I wanted to make a difference: get more likes on Facebook, gain more followers on Twitter and increase traffic to their main site. What I didn’t know, and am still in the process of perfecting, is how to go about achieving that.

Thankfully in #CMGRclass we’re reading, “Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities” by Richard Millington (founder of FeverBee, a community consultancy).

Early on in the book Millington (2012) states that there are eight elements for a community management framework (p.18):

  • Strategy: Establishing and executing the strategy for developing the community.
  • Growth: Increase membership of the community and convert newcomers into regulars.
  • Content: Create, edit, facilitate, and solicit content for the community.
  • Moderation: Remove obstacles to participation and encourage members to make contributions.
  • Events and Activities: Create and facilitate events to keep members engaged.
  • Relationship and Influence: Build relationships with key members and gain influence within the community.
  • Business Integration: Advocate internally within the organization and integrate business processes with community efforts.
  • User Experience: Improve the community platforms and participation experience for members.

Before reading Millington’s book, I would not have described the work I’m doing for Arts Engage as “Community Management,” I had been describing that part of my job as being a Social Media Strategist. It wasn’t until after reading about the eight elements that I noticed that essentially I am acting as a Community Manager because I will eventually be working with the offline community as well as the online one.

Another reading for class this week was found on the FeverBee website which outlined five different types of communities:

  • Interest: Communities of people who share the same interest or passion.
  • Action: Communities of people trying to bring about change.
  • Place: Communities of people brought together by geographic boundaries.
  • Practice: Communities of people in the same profession or undertake the same activities.
  • Circumstance: Communities of people brought together by external events and/or situations.

Millington also makes a point to say that Interest communities are the hardest types to develop because it competes with our “mental leisure time.” Arts Engage does fall under the “Interest Community” label but one could argue that it also falls under “Practice Community.” Either way, I have my work cut out for me.

There were many instances while reading the first chapter where I found myself highlighting, underlining and marking the pages I found to be the most interesting or that held suggestions of what I could do to improve our presence. One of those was a step-by-step instruction on how to create a strategy for your community based on where in the four stages of a community lifecycle your organization happens to be (inception, establishment, maturity or mitosis). Even though the Arts Engage Facebook has been active for a few years, it’s still in the inception stage.

I highly recommend Millington’s book for anyone interested in community management or for ways to increase their social media presence. Happy reading!