How to Get Permission for User Generated Content

With an overwhelming 93% of consumers citing user generated content (UGC) as an influence in purchasing decisions, the value is clear. However, regardless of the strategy you use for encouraging customers to post UGC, there is one essential next step to follow: obtaining permission to use it. 

Make it easy (and public).

Asking for permission can be as simple as leaving a comment on the photo you’d like to share.

This is quick, easy, and offers visible proof that you have obtained permission. In Ulta’s case, they also used the approval hashtag #shareitULTA.

Use hashtags…but still ask.

Sometimes brands will implement a hashtag customers are instructed to use when posting a photo of their product (i.e. #babesofmissguided). The idea is that by utilizing this hashtag, users automatically consent to having their content reposted. But even if the purpose of the hashtag is clearly written on your social media profile, not everyone is aware of the implied consent.

In some cases, users do allow you to repurpose their content but charge a fee. If they find out you took their content without notifying them, this could result in bad PR. (One post on Reddit received 2.5k upvotes after calling out a company for refusing to pay a fee for shared content.)

So instead of thinking of hashtags as a way to skip the process of asking permission, think of them as a way to make posted content easily searchable.

Keep track of your approvals.

Once permission is obtained, it’s always a good idea to take a screenshot of the exchange and keep on file for future reference. If a photo is later removed from the customers page, or if there’s a discrepancy over whether or not permission was actually obtained, a screenshot can be invaluable. 

Streamline the process.

The last thing you want to do is post several paragraphs of your terms and conditions directly on a customer’s post. Instead, create a landing page where you can direct people so they fully understand how, when, and where their content can be used.

Give credit where it’s due.

When posting customer content, make sure to tag the original user and mention their name in your caption. This will alert them they’re on your page, offering the option to take it down if they change their mind. It could also mean added engagement for you if they share with their followers.

If all this talk of permissions and approvals has you overwhelmed, don’t worry! UGC management tools such as Flowics and Foursixty can track your content, help you communicate with users, and monitor your approvals.

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