How We All Learned to Stop Worrying and Love UGC

Avoiding the risks of ugc

One of the big concerns many companies often raise when they first start considering opening the doors to user generated content (UGC) from their employees is how to prevent someone from posting something inappropriate. Nearly every customer we’ve had has voiced this worry. They fear opening up the floodgates might also open themselves up to liability. And yet, as we’ve seen time and time again, when companies cautiously open the door for contributors, they end up expanding! Soon, they’re letting more and more of their employees create video.

How to Keep Control While Letting Employees Create Video Content

Choosing the right platform can do a lot to lay these fears to rest. Many employers start off thinking of a video portal like YouTube. They picture a Wild West where anyone can post anything and it’s impossible to keep up. But an internal video portal is a whole different situation. Once you’ve brought video in-house, you have enough controls that you can let employees have a little more freedom. How are some of the ways companies can keep things under control?

  • Setting up the right architecture. Create the right channels in your video portal. Then carefully choose who can post where and who can create new channels. It funnels content into the right places and makes it easier to monitor new content.
  • Using moderation. Especially at the beginning, requiring new videos to be moderated before they can be posted can help everyone adjust.
  • Letting users flag content. Let your users help you – give them the ability to flag content that might be a problem.

There’s a big difference, of course, between a company’s internal video portal and a social media platform. On your internal video portal, there’s no such thing as an anonymous user. No one can post (or share or comment) without their actions being tied to their name. What most companies quickly discover is that employees tend to be very protective of their own professional reputations. They police themselves. No one wants to lose their job over a video. Unlike consumer social media, it’s hard to forget the context when you know your boss can follow everything you post. Actual problems turn out to be pretty rare.

Really, the best way to approach the UGC question is to think about the goals for the video platform and the culture of the company, and then create safe spaces for creation rather than limited access everywhere.

What Does a Good UGC Campaign Look Like?

Over the years, we’ve had a number of clients talk about the cool user-generated campaigns they’ve run within their companies. Here are a couple examples.

Intranet 2.0: Video as Part of the Global Digital Workplace at Skanska: As one of the world’s largest construction and development companies in the world, Skanska turned to their employees to find out what their needs and expectations were for collaboration, information and knowledge sharing.

Inspiring Creativity at Philips: Philips wanted employees worldwide to feel inspired to share stories with each other encouraging collaboration through the use of video.

Scalability, System Integration & User Adoption as Challenges in a Global Organization: Take a look at Groupon’s Enterprise Social Business Engagement Platform.

“I Can Do This”: Empowering MetLife Employees to Tell Their Own Story: OneVoice enables employees to upload short videos showing how individuals and teams are helping to deliver MetLife’s strategy.

All of these companies had those risks in mind when launching their video UGC campaigns. The campaigns  proved that the benefits far outweigh the possible risks. With a little thought, you can put enough mechanisms in place to enable open collaboration.

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