Companies these days are required greater efforts on costumer focus matters. In part because consumers have become more informed, they have changed their approach to products but also to companies themselves. The companies’ goal becomes to understand how to interface with them, creating added value to their brands. This was one of the reasons that led to the development of User Generated Content (UGC).
UGC is the content created by users on a website, social network, or any other online platform. This can include texts, images, videos, audios and more. Concrete examples are reviews of products or services, sharing photos and/or videos of experiences, comments, and conversations on different social media, whether linked to the company profile or not.
This way of gathering feedback and input from customers allows companies to understand particular aspects in order to improve their products and services, and at the same time building engaged relationships with customers.
At the same time, UGC allows active involvement of consumers, empowering and enhancing their value, so that they are more likely to spread the word, which is always a valuable resource for any company that wants to improve its online and offline presence.
As in any situation, there are also risks associated with UGC that businesses need to be aware of. Reviews created by consumers could be false, misleading, or could consist of offensive content. This requires major efforts on moderation, based on clear and transparent rules in order not to be counterproductive.
When Artificial Intelligence meets User Generated Content
At this point, a question arises: can Artificial Intelligence come to the aid of User Generated Content? The answer is yes. AI can have a significant impact on UGC, both in terms of benefits and risks. This is already operative in several leading companies, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix. The famous social network uses AI to identify and remove offensive content, while YouTube can automatically create summary videos. Netflix uses AI to suggest content to subscribers, according to their interests.
In these cases, the risks of AI involvement can be manipulation and lack of privacy. Manipulation occurs when the AI induces consumers to share content and/or buy products, whilst the privacy issue concerns a collection of data on individuals that can be used to profile them.
As already addressed several times, AI is a great potential resource, but one that requires the right balance and approach to contain its issues.
How effective is UGC? A concrete example
If I have to think of a successful strategy, Coca Cola immediately comes to my mind.
Despite my absence from the largest and most widespread social networks, for different and personal reasons, the ‘#ShareACoke’ campaign somehow manage to come to my attention.
In this campaign, the company changed the traditional wrapper around the bottle to ‘Share a Coke with…’ and several popular names. With this simple label change, a more personal connection was created between the brand and consumers, encouraging the sharing of happy moments on social media.
This effect went beyond the online world because every time I was a guest of someone, if they had a bottle of Coke in the fridge, the label had their name on it. I was impressed by how the person who had bought the bottle displayed it as a trophy. Brilliant!
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