Let’s talk about user-generated content (UGC) for destinations and getting the rights. As a tourism marketer, you often need recent and relevant visuals to market your destination. So, you search your social media feeds and discover a ton of beautiful and authentic UGC that would work perfectly for your next campaign. 

Photo collection

So why not just download them and use the content? It’s in the public domain, right? 

Unfortunately, acquiring UGC online doesn’t work quite like that. Firstly, asking permission to use someone else’s content is the right thing to do. Beyond that, Facebook requires you to obtain permission before using someone else’s posted visuals. Plus, starting conversations with the people sharing visuals about your destination is a great way to build relationships with the engaged locals and visitors in your area.

In short, you should always get rights to UGC if you plan to repost it anywhere.  Whether you’re doing it manually or leveraging a tool like CrowdRiff, here are three tips to make collecting usage rights a breeze.


Tip 1 - Reposting UGC on Social Media or a Website? Just Ask! 

Most people will be thrilled you want to showcase their image and will happily give you rights. All you need to do is ask. Be respectful, to the point, and tell the creator what you plan to do with the content. It’s as simple as that. 

An example request could read something like: 

Amazing share! We would love to feature this on our social feed (and give you credit, of course) — would you be OK with that? 

If you use CrowdRiff, it is super-easy to automate this process with our rights-request workflow. You can request rights with the click of a button by sending out a pre-written rights request (like the example above). Once the content owner replies, the reply is automatically recorded in CrowdRiff, so you don’t have to worry about tracking rights - and can focus solely on collecting great UGC.

CrowdRiff- Rights Guest Blog - Sept 2021

Tip 2 - Asking a Bunch of Creators for Rights? Add a Personal Touch.

Chances are, you’ll be asking many creators for rights. So one thing to consider is to make sure your requests sound natural and, most importantly, human. The last thing you want is a content creator who has incredible imagery to ignore your request because they think you’re a bot. 

When requesting rights for a particular image, try including what’s featured in the image in your request. For example, say you want the rights for an image of the Toronto skyline, you can easily personalize it like: 

Awesome shot! Can we feature this beautiful shot of Toronto on our social feed (and give you credit, of course)?

It is easy to personalize requests with CrowdRiff’s rights-approval workflow as you can review and modify each rights request before sending it out.

CrowdRiff rights requests

Tip 3 - Working with Print or More Traditional Media? Add Terms.

Some organizations have more robust needs when it comes to obtaining rights. To avoid any headaches further down the road, they may require content creators to agree to a set of terms and conditions. The last thing you’d want as a destination marketer is to use someone’s beautiful visuals in a visitors guide and then be forced to reprint the guide because of disputed rights over a single image. 

If you require more robust permissions from the content creator, drafting up terms and conditions and sending them to users via their direct messages or email is one way to collect those signatures.

If you want a more seamless workflow, check out CrowRiff’s Advanced Rights. Advanced Rights allows you to set up a link within your social media profile so content creators can give explicit consent to use their content with a single click. This is a great feature for when you have certain needs for the content (such as a print guide), specific requirements for your organization, or conditions on the content (like the timeframe when it will be used).  

Using Advanced Rights automates the whole process and keeps a record of the creator’s response, so there’s no need for the creator to agree to the terms every time you want to use an asset.


Moral of the Story: Acquiring Rights is Important

Rights are important and are required by Facebook’s usage policy. They also may be required by your organization’s own policies. Ultimately, it’s just a good practice to ask permission to repurpose someone else’s content. 

It’s easy to get rights. Just remember:

  • Respectfully ask and tell the creator how you plan to use the content 
  • Sound natural and human, so they don’t ignore you
  • Add terms and conditions for an extra layer of assurance