With the ever increasing importance of product ratings and reviews and visual content for consumers during the shopping journey, the spotlight on the right user-generated content provider has become much brighter.
Brands and retailers have realized the importance of user-generated content (UGC) on product pages, on social channels, and even in-stores — featuring UGC can increase revenue per visitor by 162%. That’s why many have built out a UGC strategy that includes partnering with a trusted user-generated content provider.
But how do you know your potential user-generated content provider is to be trusted? Understanding how a provider handles authenticity and content moderation, respects privacy, and behaves ethically can help you feel confident that you’re working with a trustworthy business.
What to ask your user-generated content provider
The Bazaarvoice moderation team works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure all UGC across the Bazaarvoice Network is authentic and trustworthy. Based on what we see on a day-to-day basis, these are the questions we recommend you ask before signing that contract with your new content provider.
1. “What protections do you have in place for client and consumer privacy?”
Whether you’re asking for star ratings on your products from customers or are collecting written and visual reviews, you necessarily will obtain personal information from your customers. And as a business, you’ll have your own confidential information that you won’t want being publicly shared.
Understanding the security processes a content provider has in place can give you confidence in how they’ll approach data protection.
2. “How do you moderate content?”
Content moderation is a fine art – as a business, you want as much content as possible on your pages, but you also want it to be inoffensive, factually accurate, and authentic. Your content provider’s moderation practices can not only impact your content quantity and quality, but also your brand’s reputation.
Selecting a provider with thorough moderation processes is key to protecting your brand and getting your customers the information they’re looking for. Whether they’re fully manual, automated, or a combination of both.
3. “What are your authenticity practices?”
Similar to moderation practices, authenticity helps your customers attain the information they need to make their purchasing decisions. While moderation is often focused on things like reviews matching the product the review is for or that the review is topical, authenticity looks at whether the review is fraudulent or not.
Fake reviews are incredibly harmful for your business. But a content provider with top-notch authenticity practices will have methods of detecting fake reviews and patterns of fraudulent behavior.
4. “What are your standards for rejecting or accepting content?”
Not only do you want to know that your content provider has the highest standards for authenticity and moderation, but you need to understand what goes into those standards and what type of input you can have on behalf of your business.
Your provider should be able to share some of the rules in place for accepting and rejecting content. For more sensitive industries, work with your regulatory team to tailor some of those standards to better serve you.
5. “Do you badge or otherwise disclose incentivized reviews?”
While sampling, discounting, and cashback are all ethical, honest business practices, consumers prefer to know when a review has been incentivized. Or when there’s material connections to the review. That way, they’re able to consume content with that caveat in mind. Good follow up questions here would be asking what automatic badging processes they employ and what guidance they give to consumers for self-disclosure and to inform their content.
Badging and disclosures create trust with consumers when review origins are displayed, too.
6. “What kind of support can my team expect after our service starts?”
A good company supports you through the sales process, implementation, and checks in regularly throughout your contract. A great company supports you through all of that and becomes a trusted strategic partner that helps you take your UGC program to the next level.
Look for a content provider who will give you a dedicated point of contact, analyze the success of your UGC program, and provide insights to help you understand how your business compares to others in your industry.
7. “Are your policies up to date with current global privacy laws?”
Whether your brand predominantly does business in one country or multiple, your provider should be well-versed in global privacy laws to keep your business in good standing, no matter where your customers are located.
The same goes for consumer protection legislation and product health and safety legislation.
8. “What does your company stand for?”
Last but certainly not least. The content provider you hire is an extension of your brand. Understanding a provider’s mission, values, code of ethics, and best practices can give you better color as to how they do business. Not just how they say they do business. Every business has a level of corporate social responsibility — guarantee your provider is matching yours.
For example, Bazaarvoice proudly shares its code of business conduct and ethics on our site. You can view it here.
Work with the right content provider
The right user-generated content provider can take the worry and hassle out of your content strategy for you. You can sit back knowing that your partner is working hard behind the scenes for you to ensure your UGC (and branded content) is authentic and trustworthy. And particularly relevant to current times, they also drive your business growth during an economic downturn.
And if you are going to choose a content provider to work with, why not work with G2’s #1 user-generated content platform on the marketplace.
Did you know, 82% of shoppers said they would avoid using a brand again if they lost trust? Learn what threatens trust and how you can deploy strategies to protect it in our webinar below.