Involve Your Users

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Many of us are involved in large scale websites and e-commerce. One element many of the above don’t excel at is user-generated content. I love user-generated content, and so do many.  Survey results are showing that people trust others before company propaganda, so beef up your reviews if you sell products online, and look for alternative content you could provide by empowering your community.

Here’s a great story. I like to think of myself as a savvy web user. I can see through those automated emails, and the nag screens to sign up as a member on many websites. I’m also a regular traveler, for both business and pleasure. I recently took a trip abroad, and when I returned, I penned a few reviews on a site of which I’m a member: TripAdvisor.

This is where they got really smart. I’ve already written a dozen or so over the last few years, however I neglect to review everywhere I stay or eat (heck, that would fill my weekends!).  About a week after my last reviews were published, I received an email, titled ‘People love your reviews!’ Opening it, I was given statistics on how many people had read my reviews, and how many had given them a helpful rating.

The email ended with a great hook: “You’re only 1 review away from your next badge. Keep going! What did you do this weekend?“

I was hooked! That night I penned another two or three reviews, just to earn my next badge. Do I need that next badge, or does it provide me with any tangible value? Nope. Do humans in general like to feel rewarded for their work? Yes!

Here I am, giving up my valuable time to write reviews to post on another website, which makes their money from all this user generated content. Well done to them! Well done to me for also earning that extra badge of honor.

How can you incorporate some of these ideas in your website? Maybe a ‘Review this product’ promotion, or a ‘Write a guest blog post’ may work – put your thinking caps on, you may land on a winner.

If it really goes well, I may end up writing on there too – as soon as I write that next dozen reviews for my next badge!

Miles BurkeMiles Burke
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As Director of Bam Creative, and Chairperson of the Australian Web Industry Association, Miles spends his time managing his business or speaking about managing businesses. Recently awarded as one of the top Western Australian entrepreneurs under 40 years old, Miles can also be found writing at his blog.

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