Crowdsourcing has gained a lot of momentum recently, mostly because of its effectiveness. Don’t understand what crowdsourcing is? As Bryan Kramer on SocialMedia Today puts it “Crowdsourcing is a new way to collect a community and financing that you can use to bring any project you could imagine to fruition. Whereas the old method of raising money and collecting data involved things like taking out loans or wooing random participants in paid focus groups, the internet has changed the landscape completely and makes it easier to access millions.”
Here’s a simple way of looking at it (albeit a pretty dumbed down version, but follow me here): Someone really wanted Betty White to be on SNL, so they started a petition, and it gained so much buzz that voila! Betty White landed on SNL. A T-Shirt company wanted to be known for their awesome t-shirts so they started a fanpage on Facebook, asked people to advertise their shirts for them in exchange for graphics ideas and some pretty sweet tees. People sent in ideas, got a free t-shirt, thus a successful t-shirt company was born.
But how do you make crowdsourcing work for you and your brand? Will it, rather work for you, and how much is it worth to you overall? Well, for starters, you have to roll up your sleeves and be willing to work for it. This type of marketing blends focus groups with street teams, so ask your fans for their opinions and then give them something worthwhile for their time. Think of your brand and who it would benefit. Is it a seasonal item? Is it a tangible item? You’re a small business, and people always want to help the little guy. Use this to your advantage, and set small goals.
We live in a world where people have less and less time to spare, so if you’re going to take any time from these people, it better be worth it. Share your story, make yourself tangible, and transparent at the same time. People respond to this, and your story will make an impact. Your audience wants to have an emotional connection with your brand or service, so give it to them. They will feel better in the long run knowing they were a part of someone’s success, and know you will pay it forward just by getting to know you.
Social media has stretched the boundaries of creative marketing, and crowdsourcing is a result of that. If your brand or service has value and a great story to go with it, your audience will be eager to buy in, talk about, promote, and share it. There’s nothing better in a business than ‘Rocky’ story-humble beginnings to true success-and there’s no one who won’t back you or your brand’s success.