Has anyone seen Tranformers?
Is it OK to take my 10 year old?
Does anyone know what time the pool opens today?
I'm in San Francisco: where should I go for lunch?
You've probably seen posts like these on your social networking sites: friends asking friends for information or advice. This is crowdsourcing!
Crowdsourcing has long been used as a way to get feedback from a group:
- community recipe books: will you contribute a family favorite dessert?
- voting: here are your candidates, who do you want to elect?
- contests: Superbowl commercials where viewers choose the best amateur production
Crowdsourcing = crowd + outsourcing and is simply asking for information, ideas or resources from a large crowd: typically today, an online crowd. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus: many social platforms are ideal for soliciting input from your audience.
The specific term crowdsourcing began being used with the internet, a merger of technology and soliciting input. Content marketing is the perfect opportunity to crowdsource your engaged audience for ideas and information. The benefits of crowdsourcing in content marketing include:
1. Involve your audience and supporters
Show your followers you care about their ideas by asking for their opinion. But be prepared to follow their suggestions, or explain why you didn't! Crowdsourcing opinions from your supports, donors and followers demonstrates you want online communication to be a two-way street: you want to hear from them, too!
Investing in brainstorming, content development, new product launches, logo selection and other marketing activities can be costly in times of money and time. Crowdsourcing gives you an opportunity to get input from people who care about your business: but aren't bogged down in the daily details that employees deal with. You will still invest time in managing your marketing: but you can test concepts and solicit ideas cost-effectively using crowdsourcing.
3. Fast response
Sending out emails, putting a question in your monthly newsletter, or having a group meeting all take time. Crowdsourcing your followers can give you an instant response: and tell you if you audience is listening!
Simple ideas to start crowdsourcing at your business:
- what should I blog about today?
- do you read our newsletter?
- is it better to shop online or in the store?
Each of these ideas is easy to ask, and easy for you to manage the response. When you get more experience crowdsourcing, you can begin crowdsourcing more challenging topics such as:
- which book cover design do you prefer: A or B?
- we are hiring a new graphic designer: any recommendations?
- what should our new flavor be?
Crowdsourcing is a great way to interact with your audience and get feedback from people who care about your business. When you incorporate crowdsourcing into your content marketing strategy you increase the odds that you're talking about the things your followers care about, and the likelihood that your followers will become more engaged. When you launch your crowdsourcing plan be prepared for your follower's input: you don't have to take their advice, but do you have to show them you're listening!
This infographic by BizMedia.com shows the power of crowdsourcing: