User-generated content (UGC) isn’t a marketing fad. On the contrary, UGC has been a persuasive selling tool for decades. Centuries, actually. UGC is any type of content created and presented to the public by unpaid contributors. UGC is all about users promoting a brand rather than the brand promoting itself.
The company newsletter has been essentially dead for the last ten years. Your employees have so many distractions, so it’s getting harder than ever to get their attention. When is the last time you received an email blast from your HR department about any topic? Benefits deadlines, the new attendance policy, and the details of the company picnic are important, sure. But did anyone read it? Probably not. And as millennials become more and more dominant in the workforce, those emails will be read less and less. The idea to start posting updates on the inside of bathroom stalls may be innovative, but it probably doesn’t send the right message about your organizational style.
As the war for talent gets more heated (along with the economy), the need to engage your employees is more important than ever. It can be a challenge to get everyone together for an all-hands meeting in the modern workplace because of distance and flexible work schedules. In an age where content is “on-demand” in every aspect of their lives, employees are accustomed to accessing information whenever they desire. This can be an advantage to a Human Resources team or Corporate Communications team. One way to leverage technology to the company’s advantage is to create videos that can be accessed by individual employees or by managers to show at team meetings.
There are important considerations for HR teams when they are creating or reviewing video content for internal and external consumption. Often there is so much emphasis put on the significance and creativity of the message that other implications are overlooked. Be sure to adhere to company policies. It could save you a headache or two later.
It's very popular now to have videos on your website talking about how great your company is to work for. This is a wonderful tool to help sell candidates on the idea of coming to work for your organization. There are some great examples out there of “employment commercials.” However, like any other communication with candidates, you should ensure nothing can be construed as a promise of employment. The video should make no promises at all. Remember that you are responsible for that content just as you are for any other candidate contact.
Specifically, when you are producing (or reviewing) content for videos about employment, you need to be ticked and tied regarding different departmental “perks.” If employees are giving their own testimonials about their experiences at the company, it can be different from how certain policies are written. For example, a person in accounting may talk about how great it is to have a flex-time schedule, but that schedule is not available to employees in the warehouse or sales department. Therefore, that information shouldn’t be front and center in any distribution that hits the candidates for sales and warehouse positions.
Keep your harassment-free workplace policy in mind as you review the content as well. Is there video from the company picnic (which is a great sponsored event) where employees have their arms around one another? Not appropriate for wide distribution due to your policy regarding unwanted physical contact. And make sure you review all the t-shirts in that same video. Some very funny shirts are political or sexually suggestive in nature and have no place on a company-distributed video. Also, the dress code for a picnic is often different from what it is for the office. Ensure that every video reveals nothing more than camaraderie.
Don’t oversell any positions represented. For example, if you are touting your sabbatical program, make sure that you are also clear about the specifics (only after five years does an employee become eligible, and not all employees receive this benefit). And if your sales employees work every evening and weekend, make sure that is mentioned along with the tremendous earning potential. This will save your recruiting team some grief (and time).
In other words, when putting a video out, whether for internal or external consumption, be sure to take it as seriously as any other communication your team might put out. Ensure that it shows the company and its employees in the best light while being responsible to anyone who may consume it. While some of you are probably thinking that this may make your videos less fun, rest assured – it will make your work life less stressful.
No matter what demographic you are trying to lure to your brand, video on social media is your best bet. Have you seen your grandmother’s Facebook feed lately? Aside from all the wacky memes that she and her friends think are hysterical (or poignant), there are plenty of videos that she doesn’t even realize are commercials. And how about your 14-year-old niece? Do you even recognize all of the social media sites that she visits every day? Probably not, but one of them is YouTube. And on YouTube, 97% of the content is video.
You already know that many (if not all) of your customers are on some form of social media. Your organization probably already has a presence on social media: a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and maybe industry specific channels of some kind. No matter the platform, you’ve probably already seen a lot of video content. That is why whether you work for a Fortune 500 company or a small family-owned business, you need to consider this powerful tool for marketing. Here are three reasons why:
1. Professional Credibility: Video content allows your company to connect to consumers (not just to customers but also internally to employees) to show its breadth. Costumers are all over the world now. Video allows them to make a powerful connection to your brand and perhaps even to your employees. For example, when they see your brick-and-mortar corporate headquarters or your little office filled with hard-working employees, it can show that no matter its size, your organization is serious and capable. And if a consumer looks at your Facebook page, you want to appear like you’ve given it some thought. Video is a great tool for that.
Some types of software allow you to manage permissions (in other words, who has the ability to publish content for internal consumption) and others do not. This article attempts to determine who, within an organization, should be able to publish for internal use. The control is absolutely necessary to ensure that content liability is limited for both the company and the producers of the video.
The excitement of obtaining or producing video content for training purposes and other forms of internal communication is wonderful. However, it must be a cool head that ensures the content is responsible, appropriate, and legally compliant. This is an important responsibility. Therefore, it is best to gather a committee to preview the content and approve it for publication. If you are the IT professional in charge of creating “permissions,” then you should create such a committee.
Primarily, this committee should contain the following experts from within the organization:
1. An employee familiar with the licensing or purchase of outside content
2. An HR expert who can ensure that content adheres to company policy
3. An internal communication employee who can ensure the content is branded appropriately
4. A legal representative who can provide insight on and research anything that may be legally problematic or binding
5. An IT representative who can counsel the committee on any bandwidth, hardware, or technical issues
6. An executive sponsor who can provide oversight (this person may also be one of the other members, but not necessarily)
The committee’s first order of business is creating a content creator’s guide to spell out the general ways and reasons why video content can be created. The guide will also talk about the approval process and include the schedule for committee review meetings.
The regularity of meetings for this committee depends entirely on the volume of content being reviewed. Usually, the rollout of a new platform or software is when the greatest amount of work is produced for review. While reviewing the initial batch of videos, the committee will draft their user rules. It is best to publish these rules for anyone who may be either purchasing or creating content.
Finally, there will be some back-and-forth with the creators of content. If the committee determines that a video (or more usually a portion of a video) needs to be reworked, there must be a “point person” from the committee for that conversation and any follow up. Managing content creators depends greatly on the size, age, and technical savvy of your organization. However, it is very important that the management of content creators is a priority of the committee.
Of course, there are organizations that do not manage the permissions of their video content this tightly. Unfortunately, this can open the organization to liability, confusion, and sub-par training content. Therefore, in order to ensure that your company does not run into any of these pitfalls, create a committee and manage your content appropriately.