Originally posted on tech.co.
User engagement can get a bad reputation. While trolls have made most people intimidated by the comments section of many sites, you could be missing out on the good that can come from UGC, or user generated content. Wise publishers know how to bypass the bad and find the benefits that user-generated content can bring to your website and brand.
Here are a few ways to take your user generated content to the next level:
‘Give Me One Reason to Stay Here’
If a given web page has no opportunity for interaction, your user will have little need to revisit that page. By enabling a chat system on your own site, you can connect your global visitors to each other en masse and you give them a valuable incentive to return to your site. With a medium for open communication, your users will spend more time engaging on your site while fostering connections with your brand and community alike. As the publisher, you can expect to see a significant increase in page views and visits and the possibility of increased engagement as well.
Digital communication is vital for growing a brand, and the key to thriving digital communication is to encourage as much engagement as possible. Interaction means posting engaging content and fostering community, getting feedback, and feeling that their voices are vital to the brand. You can use this to your advantage, especially when it comes to utilizing social media.
We are innately social beings, and want to utilize our freedom of speech at all times – making social media the perfect platform to do so. By enabling users to socialize with each other — while fostering engagement with your brand — you give them what they want while simultaneously earning a more valuable reputation and greater visibility.
Personalization & Trust
Branding and advertisement are becoming more ubiquitous these days. From product placements to social media sponsorships, it can be difficult for consumers to find genuine opinions on the products and services they research. Customers are more likely to have faith in your brand (and purchase your products or spend time on your site) if you have real people providing their honest opinions. Just like you’d ask a friend for a restaurant recommendation, potential consumers want to hear personal experiences with your product, service, etc. before giving it a try.
User-generated content is a great transition from this model: a great review from another user (or many) — rather than being funneled messages via a funded campaign that may or may not have the consumer’s best interest in mind — can prove to be more beneficial than any marketing or advertising effort. Sites like Spot.IM and Quartz make on-site socializing simple and engaging, using tech tools that can be installed on any website.
Which do you usually respond to first: an email or text? Most of us are more responsive when we’re interacting within a digitally fluid medium: a scrolling text message (often with the ability to see when it’s been read and if someone is responding) is typically more streamlined than sifting through a complexly structured inbox. Keep this idea in mind for adding a medium for UGC onto your site. Just keep in mind that you’ll want the layout to be fresh, timely, and visibly active.
Boring, message board-style comment sections are a thing of the past. Would-be commenters may be turned off by the dated design and uninviting UX, recalling ancient methods of digital interaction (AIM, anyone?) predating the reign of Facebook and Google. Instead, you have to make the style of interaction modern and dynamic. Allow users to see activity in real time and to get notifications when someone’s responded to their input. Make the medium visually appealing and keep it on trend with the latest developments in social media.
In all, comments and other user-generated content can provide visitors with valuable information with your site’s content. Taking these few tips to heart, you can easily transform your website and brand to one that attracts a variety of engaged users in no time.