Crowdsourcing: Lead Your Own Democracy Online
With over 1.7 billion people online all sharing ideas and information about brands and products, it really is worth your company’s while to take advantage of this phenomenon and start crowdsourcing.
The term ‘crowdsourcing’ refers to the outsourcing of a task from someone behind a brand to an undefined large group of people in an effort to gain vast amounts of information regarding the brand in question, through an open medium.
Information is your currency in this strategy and when done correctly, crowdsourcing can prove to be a very valuable tool behind your understanding of consumer behaviour.
By using social media like Facebook and Twitter as a platform for crowdsourcing, your brand can provoke an engagement of ideas, comments, opinions, criticisms and preferences that you can make work for you and your business.
But who’s to say this resource works? It’s simple when you think about how crowdsourcing is motivated by these three factors:
Co-creation: people like to share opinions, ideas and speculations online using social media about subjects they are interested in already.
Crowdsourcing is a way of organising existing interactions between internet users into a specific production so you can get the information you want.
Information exchange: this is the social contract that by sharing your information, you’ll expect to get a response. It’s incentive and provides easy insight into the way people perceive your brand specifically.
Social Media Optimisation: a brand that uses social media networks to promote their product aims to create a relationship with the user. By crowdsourcing the brand is not just asking to be ‘Liked’, it is asking for interaction. Ask, answer, retort, opinion and re-feed are the elements of social media optimisation in this kind of interaction.
An example of crowdsourcing would be a socially responsible project such as Eskom trying to come up with ways to save electricity this winter by running a social media campaign where people can discuss their ideas. This campaign would help the company to gain insight from the masses, not just targeted groups and open up untapped resources of information. You never know where you might find the best ideas! It is this interaction that holds the real value as brand/consumer relationships become stronger the more you communicate back and forth.
“If we don’t believe in free expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” ~ Noam Chomsky
Brands should not be afraid of negative feedback and it being public. A negative opinion will not affect their efforts in social media optimisation. Crowdsourcing is about getting all the information for it to be ultimately useful. Freedom of speech promotes the most democratic, raw and therefore truthful kind of feedback. Your clients will appreciate the honesty.
Keep the relationship going. After the campaign is over, don’t waste all the time you’ve spent building up these bonds by forgetting them. Keep the public involved. Let them know what the outcome was of what you were trying to find. Inform them of future projects and how their participation could be useful. You’ve managed to cordon off a section of the vast and wide web so don’t lose touch!