Well, that's the theory. But what are the most straightforward (and most effective) ways to give users the ability to create content? (And we don't mean building the next Facebook or YouTube.)
According to eMarketer, 79% of UK retailers find that customer product reviews improve site conversion rates. And, while it's only natural to fear negative reviews, a Bazaarvoice study found that 88% of reviews posted were positive or neutral.
So, not only are reviews a smart business move, they're probably one of the most logical and useful ways to attract user-generated content, particularly if you run an eCommerce site.
Even today the word blog has negative connotations for some business people. They think "waste of time", "unprofessional" and even "teenager writing angst poetry."
However, blogging is just another word for publishing. It's simply the easiest way to get your content and news out there - and demonstrate your expertise.
But blogging (usually) doesn't end with the content. By writing compelling, entertaining or somehow useful posts, you can encourage feedback. Given time, and with enough interaction, blog comments can generate as much content as the posts themselves.
Your web development company should be able to add a blog to your site in no time.
Forums are effectively a rudimentary social network (and can be a great place to get customer feedback).
If your business has a suitably large following, or naturally fits with debate and social interaction (for example if you sell information, training or lifestyle products), then you might want to consider a forum.
So, there are three no-nonsense and effective ways to allow user-generated content. In a future post, we'll look at ways to encourage engagement and user comments.
In the meantime, why not take a look at our website design services to find out how we can improve your site's UGC-factor...