What is User Generated Content: A Guide
It is user generated content that most companies and brands today actively seek out in the hope of building their success on.
But what is it? What is user generated content?
With the advent of social media, starting at around the turn of the century, with the creation of Facebook in his Harvard dorm by Mark Zuckerberg, the creation of user generated content, or UGC, has been going on almost unchecked. After all, any content created by a user will be user generated content? There can be no argument against that, right?
Social media platforms, meant to promote the free and easy exchange of communication and ideas, caught the fancy of people, and their membership grew rapidly, aided by the spread of internet access around the world. Unlike emails, where you sent a message that went to an inbox, and received a response, if at all, at some uncertain point of time in future, social media provided instant gratification. The content created by one was immediately available to others, some of whom would also respond, which could be accessed by the original creator instantly as well. This instant access is what sharing and communication thrived on, leading to the rapid increase in adoption and growth of social media.
More social media platforms soon came into existence, attracted by the growing awareness and usage, and started attracting their own target populations, sometimes catering to specific niches, either by way of usage or by way of population segment. It is believed that over half the world’s population uses one or more of the social media platforms actively with many creating UGC apart from virtually everyone being consumers of what is available out there as content, mostly UGC of other users of the platform.
As a data services focused BPO, oWorkers has a team vastly experienced in handling all aspects of user generated content where support is needed. We have been selected as one of the top three data based BPO service providers in the world on multiple occasions.
What is User Generated Content: The Business View
User generated content, or UGC, is a term that is used to refer to content that has been created on spaces created by a company for showcasing or promoting their products and brands, by people who do not represent the company in any capacity, and do not have any stake in the health, good or bad, of that company. This content is usually within the confines of the space as well as the rules that have been set up by the company for participation on that platform. It could take many shapes, like a product review, a comment on a blog, a video of a personal experience, and many others. It is neither paid advertising nor created by employees who owe their livelihood to the company.
At first meant for and limited to individual participation, with a free and flowing exchange of ideas and information, social media platforms were bound to attract companies sooner or later, drawn by the sheer weight of humans joining the platforms and the free and open exchange of ideas and communication taking place.
Because businesses have to go where people are. Because they need to sell. Whether they produce trucks or software programs or hotel rooms or consulting services, they need someone to buy them. These buying decisions invariably need to be taken by an individual or a group of individuals, either for themselves or on behalf of another company or organization. Hence, companies selling products and services just have to go where they can find people.
oWorkers’ ability to attract walk-in talent, stemming from the close contacts we have with our communities as well as being recognized as preferred employment providers, enables us to retain the choicest of talent for client projects related to UGC.
The consistent flow of walk-in applicants also gives oWorkers the leverage to hire resources rapidly for short-term peaks clients may ace in volumes. This gives our clients a huge cost advantage as they do not need to hire and keep idle resources just for the time when they might get unexpected spikes. We can hire an additional 100 resources within 48 hours. Most of our competitors find it difficult to beat that.
UGC has other benefits too
UGC is authentic
If you are looking for a hotel for your planned vacation to the Maldives, what source will you trust? The hotel’s brochure and website or reviews from other vacationers (UGC) like yourselves on some independent website.
We know that more and more people now trust independent feedback for taking such decisions. The hotel’s own website has a stake in it. They want more business. Why would they tell you the bad things? Hence, UGC is trustworthy.
UGC creates community
As social animals, human beings have a need to belong to something they see as being larger than themselves. When a brand creates a community, it attracts people who are users of the brand or interested in it in some way.
Finding others with similar interests and desires creates a community around the brand which can become an engine of growth for it. Common, shared experiences, with the brand being central to them, is a powerful unifying factor, and a tool for creation of goodwill for the brand.
It creates an army of marketers
Can we imagine the number of people a company would need to hire for creating positive content around its products? What is user generated content is something they would also need to be taught.
While the exact number may vary from one brand to another, and from one piece of content to another, what can be taken as a safe assumption is that that number will be large, and will keep getting larger as the company seeks to expand the scale of its content creation.
Now imagine the same scenario but with content being created by members of the community the brand has been able to create around itself.
Now, the company does not need to hire anyone for creating content. Content creation will become a self-driven activity which will also keep growing in volume as the community size increases.
It is free
While there could be other costs that might arise, like moderation, the creation of content does not cost the company anything. It goes on, and on, and on, all by itself, with some guidance and intervention from time to time.
The company does not pay them anything. It has no statutory obligations like funding their retiral accounts. And they do it gladly and willingly, unlike many hired marketing resources constantly griping about their employers while trying to produce content that portrays the same employer in good light. Think about it.
Working with oWorkers provides business continuity cover to our clients, across our three facilities in three different geographies of the world. Even without BCP cover, our centers are equipped to operate 24×7, delivering the finest turnaround times.
What is User Generated Content: Types
While anything and everything that is created by users qualifies as content, or, more specifically, UGC, it might be useful to understand the various formats in which such content is created.
This is language in a written format, with the help of characters and symbols that human beings created for the purpose, moving on from the mostly hieroglyphic, or pictorial content, that is understood to have been used by early man.
There are a variety of scripts used in the modern world, with the Latin alphabet consisting of 26 characters perhaps being the most widespread, at least in the Western world. This is followed by the Chinese script, consisting of thousands of characters, also called logograms, followed in many countries in Asia, with China and Japan being the largest. The Arabic alphabet is used by languages such as Urdu and Pashto and is the only widely used script read from right to left. Popular in South Asia, specifically the Indian subcontinent is the Devanagari script that consists of 47 characters and forms the basis of over a hundred languages and dialects.
Modern computing devices can now operate on multiple scripts, making it possible to create and share communication in different languages and scripts. Understanding what is user generated content, can be confusing, considering the language options people have of communicating.
Text continues to be the simplest and most common format in which content is created and shared across the world. From comments to articles to posts to reviews to descriptions. Even computers can understand text, when written in a defined format, also known as software code.
With our policy of employing multicultural and multi-ethnic talent in all our facilities, oWorkers has developed the ability to offer support in 22 languages. UGC can come from anywhere, in any language. Our wide coverage ensures clients get complete support. We have, so far, not come across a requirement that goes beyond these 22 languages.
Our aural senses rely on audio impulses; sounds and notes and words and poems and speeches that can be heard and appreciated and understood and responded to. It is one of the basic human senses.
Language, again, forms one of the main building blocks of audio-based communication, in other words, the spoken and understood word. Languages developed in different ways in different parts of the world, but with a common objective, of facilitating communication between humans.
Many people prefer to communicate through audio messages, instead of typing out the message in whatever is their script or language of choice. They consider speaking and hearing to be more natural actions, perhaps.
Our delivery centers are locally registered and we pay social and local taxes for our staff. oWorkers has consciously followed a policy of working with employed staff instead of freelancers and contractors that some other BPOs seem to do. Employed staff provides us flexibility in deployment as well as provides mid-level leadership resources as people grow in the company. We are consistently rated as 4.65 or better on a scale of 5 by our past and present staff members on platforms like Glassdoor.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an adage many of us are familiar with. We often struggle to communicate in reams and reams of text what we are able to communicate through an image, or a set of images, with far greater facility.
It is perhaps more direct as well, without interpretation, the way it is, as necessarily happens when trying to communicate through words. The unspoilt beauty of a snow-capped mountain peak, the fierce gaze of a wild animal, the outline of tall buildings in a busy urban center, can be expressed through images far more eloquently than words.
With modern technology making everyone a photographer, clicking a picture and posting it on social media is child’s play now for most people.
The pricing offered by oWorkers is competitive and offered in a transparent manner, with clients getting a choice between dollars per unit of input, say manhours, or dollars per unit of output. Our clients from the US and Western Europe regularly note savings of close to 80% when they work with us. We have the answers to the ‘what is user generated content’ question so that our clients don’t need to seek them.
Video remains the richest form of content, combining in itself the qualities of both audio and images, which are unique and rich content even by themselves. Combining them together enhances the experience manifold and gives it a life-like quality.
There is a reason why movies are popular entertainment, and not galleries displaying still photographs or museums where you can listen to audio recordings. It is perhaps because it gives one a life-like experience, closest to real life. Governments and administrations all over the world are now scrambling to install video equipment on street corners to keep an eye on the proceedings. It is because video gives the most accurate account.
Once again, with video recording ability being present in many smartphones, recording and sharing videos to communicate is becoming increasingly popular.
With a number of technology companies as clients, our technology capability is constantly being tested and pushed. oWorkers operates from super secure facilities & protocols for ensuring the data security of clients. We are ISO (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) certified and GDPR compliant.
The oWorkers advantage
With a pedigree of over 8 years and led by a team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry, oWorkers is the first choice for many companies looking for UGC related support.
We work with several unicorn marketplaces around the world.
The work we do for our clients enables us to employ a few more people from communities at a disadvantage and give them an entry into the global digital economy. Your choice of oWorkers as a partner will enable us to do the same for a few more people.