Imagine that you’re attending a local event celebrating Earth Day. Like most tech-savvy folks, you take your smartphone out of your pocket every once in a while to snap a photo of something great, beautiful or memorable. And after the event is over, you upload a shot of an interesting vendor to your Instagram feed and add a filter, caption, geolocation and a few relevant hashtags. Though this post is mostly for friends and family, it’s also available for the Instagram community to interact with.
The next day, this great photo that you originally published on social media is now front-and-center in a gallery on your local newspaper’s website. As it turns out, your post was a perfect fit in community-focused news story they wrote about the Earth Day festival.
What’s next? If you’re like most people, you’re thrilled — or at least pleasantly surprised! You email the article to friends and family, share the link on social media and check out the rest of the featured photos.
There’s no doubting that people love to see their own content published on a website, whether it belongs to a small local paper or a well-known brand. These pages often become popular just by social sharing. After all, who wouldn’t share that their content was scoped out and published on a popular platform?
What a lot of brands, companies and marketing firms don’t know, though, is that visitors to websites don’t just love to see their own pictures and videos published. In general, they also enjoy browsing almost any site that places UGC front and center.
That’s why web pages that feature UGC — or extraordinary content from everyday people — garner more engagement and longer average times spent on a page. The key? Create and embed UGC into your projects, which you can source straight from social media.
Let’s chat about why UGC is so compelling and how brands and companies can curate it safely.
It's Highly Effective
We’ve said this once, but it’s definitely worth saying it again: Our brains are wired for processing visual content, and the power of photos and videos is truly beyond belief.
David Williams, director of the University of Rochester’s Center for Visual Science, points out that over 50% of our brain’s cortex is devoted to processing visuals. And because we also understand visuals much faster than text — 13 milliseconds rather than 200 — readers don’t have to do mental gymnastics to comprehend great visual content.
Take a second to think about media and advertising without pictures or videos. It’s hard to imagine, right? There’s a definitive reason why you’re more likely to click on a Twitter link that includes a photo, or why vintage ads with paragraphs and paragraphs of text aren't as fashionable as they used to be.
These statistics also help us understand why UGC galleries — essentially just groups of social media images — are also highly effective. According to CRM platform Salesforce, visitors on a page showcasing a UGC gallery (as opposed to a page lacking one) actually spend up to 90% more time browsing it.
UGC offers an incredibly easy way to cash in on authenticity, and Scopio makes it easier for you to curate it.
It Isn't a Legal Nightmare Anymore
There’s no doubting that visuals are the cornerstone of any good piece of marketing, advertising or journalism — but licensing UGC photos and videos without a platform and avoiding legal trouble is a hefty challenge.
To bite a bit from this famous PSA, most people wouldn’t willingly steal a painting. So why do folks rip photographs off the internet? In the digital millennium, you’d think that brands and companies would be well-versed on the content they’re allowed to use and the ways in which they can modify it. Unfortunately, photography often isn't viewed like other forms of content, and it’s often assumed that photos posted to social media platforms are a free-for-all.
Just take Pennsylvania photographer James Jollay as an example. Last month, James discovered that his rainbow hair photo was reposted on Marie Claire’s Instagram feed. Unfortunately, the popular magazine failed to list the proper credits, tagging the hairstylist and hair products used in the photo shoot instead of the photographer and model.
UGC curated with Scopio’s platform avoids these embarrassing problems. Because each image or video links back to its original post on Twitter or Instagram and contains a legal agreement requiring the photographer to be the original creator of the work, you can rest easy.
It's Not as Time-Consuming as You Think
Acquiring permissions for social media photos and videos isn’t just a legal grey area. You can’t have instant access to every piece of content you’d like to use from, say, Instagram, and you can generate a hefty paper trail just trying to get access to one image or video.
Nobody should have to choose between saving time and publishing great content, though. Curating and licensing photos and videos with Scopio is one of the easiest ways to get access to exciting, on-brand content.
Simply connect your Instagram account to Scopio's dashboard and add a few hashtags and keywords you've been looking into to start a search. We'll remove junky posts, and you're left with a better visual cache. You can request permission to license any of those photos or videos out for free social and digital uses. And if you're looking for something more complicated, we'll help you secure that license.
Scopio is the industry’s premier search and licensing platform for images and videos on social media. We help anyone find and use the photos and videos that matter to their audience, from capturing content to sparking relationships with talented Instagrammers. Email [email protected] or sign up for a free trial to get started. Featured photo by @travelawan/Instagram.