User generated content (UGC) is one of the most valuable marketing assets available to brands these days. With billions of social media interactions happening every day there’s a whole universe of words, images and videos that businesses can tap into. By using social aggregators brands can plug in a feed containing a popular hashtag, sit back and watch a never ending stream of fresh UGC pour in.
That’s all very well, but turning all of this social ‘noise’ into usable assets can be a challenge. To put that challenge into perspective ‘#love’ has generated 695 million messages on Instagram alone. How do you find the best content for your brand from amongst those millions of posts? The answer is careful curation.
It’s estimated that a good human curator can review about 2000 Tweets per day. Good luck manually moderating #love then – unless you have an unlimited budget to employ vast armies of moderators who can work through that content over the next couple of centuries. (you need it this afternoon you say? Forget it). Cue artificial intelligence.
Given machines control all of this human interaction in the first place it’s only fitting that it should come full-circle, with AI providing a new way to identify the best content…to remove the haystack and leave only the needles. Entrusting all of this personal, human content to programmes may feel counter-intuitive, but this blend of the human content and machine learning can save businesses a great deal of time and money.
But before we delve into how this unexpected relationship works, let’s recap precisely why UGC is so important to digital brands in 2017.
Evergreen, authentic & resource-saving: Why UGC matters
In previous articles, we’ve written extensively about the growing value of UGC to digital brands. From the emerging cynicism which turns consumers off of overly promotional brand generated content, to an increasing appetite for “real”, unfiltered opinions from peers – ‘social proof’ as some people call it.
- UGC is authentic
A good example of this effect is the growing importance of online reviews, particularly for “bricks and mortar” businesses like restaurants. Few potential customers are interested in promotional content from the restaurant itself, instead it’s recommendations from friends and reviews on Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor which make all the difference to that decision making process. This move towards peer-created UGC is now affecting digital businesses of all types.
Today, however, we want to talk a few lesser-known benefits of UGC, particularly its value as evergreen content…
- UGC is evergreen
As long as people are posting to the social networks using the hashtag you’re tracking you have bucket-loads of fresh content for your marketing campaigns…it’s hard to see #loveparis going out of fashion anytime soon, or #justdoit or #redbull or #mercedes etc.
Not only is there a lot of user generated content to choose from but it’s actually free to use in many situations. Contributors have signed the terms and conditions of the social media networks so as long as stick to those Ts&Cs too you can use that content. In case you do want to take that content away from the social network and use it on, say, on a printed poster campaign, Miappi’s Engage product let’s you contact the contributor and ask for their permission. 9 times out of 10 they’ll say yes without hesitation.
The result is that you can source loads of great campaign content from this sea of UGC and dial down the money you spend creating your own content. Sure, your creative agency won’t like it particularly but would that stop you? Besides, you could argue that free UGC means the available creative budget could be spent on fewer, but higher quality, brand-owned assets. Now everyone’s happy!
Enlisting “the machines”
So, the UGC your chosen hashtag generates organically via social media might be engaging and plentiful. It saves you time, it saves you money and it build credibility with consumers who are fed up of brand-generated content and in search of authentic voices (Social Proof as some people like to call it). But how can you turn all of this benefit into a reality when you’re confronted by the chaotic (over-plentiful!) world of social media?
It may have all the right #s and @s but there may be too much for you to possibly process within the time available to you. How can you make sense of it all and still hit a deadline for a marketing campaign?
AI might be the answer to your prayers
Enter: Artificial intelligence. In recent months we’ve been writing about the evolving role of AI in marketing and the increasingly sophisticated state of machine learning as a tool for brands. That’s because we’ve been finding fresh ways to incorporate AI into our own platform to make curating and harnessing social UGC far easier.
With machine learning getting smarter and smarter, it’s now perfectly possible to entrust tasks (such as collecting, moderating and presenting social posts) to software and programmes. It may sound strange to give the task of moderating such human content to a machine, but with very advanced capabilities, it’s possible for this technology to appraise content of this nature just as accurately as a human – and far faster.
A human moderator could review 2,000 social posts per day give or take. Based on an 8 hour working day that’s 4 posts moderated per minute. Not bad you might say. However, to review 150,000 posts it would take 75 days at that rate. Our new AI moderator can review 150,000 posts per day for a client! That’s a potentially saving of 75 days in labour for every 150k posts moderated. Not to mention to actually get the moderated results that same day.
Here’s a flavour of how Miappi is employing AI to speed up the curation process:
- Text Rules
We’ve incorporated a rules engine that helps clients to search for specific words in the text of any social media posts. When the Rules Engine finds a match to the selected keywords the social media post can either be automatically shown on the client’s social wall, hidden completely or directed to a Review page where a human moderator can make the final decision.
We have also incorporated a great new feature called ImageScan into our dashboard. This amazing tech scans images and even video to determine their suitability. The client tells the Rules Engine what their are looking for and ImageScan searches incoming social media posts for objects, faces, moods, locations, logos, colours and more.
- Natural language analysis
Hot on the heels of ImageScan we are are about to launch our new Sentiment feature, a natural language analysis tool that will detect the sentiment, intent and flamboyance in the language used in social media posts. By matching these to the clients preferences content Miappi ensures the best UGC appears on the client’s wall, while less flattering or less relevant content is hidden.
All in all, these new features and others like them herald a fascinating new phase in the battle to find and curate great content. Want to save time? Put the machines to work for you!
Make the valuable visible while saving time and resources. Try a Miappi demo today to find out exactly what our social walls can do, or get started with a brand new account today.