Ah, the wisdom of the crowd. While turning to a crowd for inspiration or feedback is nothing new, the Internet has given crowdsourcing the opportunity it needed to shine.
Social media is now a multiplayer experience that relies on collective, thoughtful engagement, and makes it easy for businesses to engage customers, solve problems, and innovate on products or services. Recently Pepsi, Lego and Amazon joined a long list of savvy companies using crowdsourcing as a tool for marketing and product development – and you should too!
Whistler sees an influx of visitors over the summer, meaning now’s the time that your crowdsourcing efforts will have maximum outreach. Here’s how small businesses can benefit from crowdsourcing, and why now is the perfect time to start.
What is crowdsourcing?
Companies use crowdsourcing as a way to turn to Internet users for services or ideas, including opinions and feedback, ideation competitions, and open calls for ideas around a specific theme.
A great example of a company that has successfully used crowdsourcing for content creation is LEGO, and their LEGO Ideas Platform: Users can submit ideas for new LEGO sets, and vote on other submissions, and LEGO review and select popular submissions, and turn them into a reality. Not only does this platform support idea generation at LEGO, but it also allows them to validate the demand for those ideas.
How can crowdsourcing benefit small businesses?
You’ll have an endless audience
Traditional focus groups are expensive, intensive, and often have dominant participants that skew the entire session. Crowdsourcing, on the other hand, offers a seemingly endless supply of crowd, meaning you can reach a larger, more diverse population, and reduce the risk of participants influencing one another. You can target tourists, locals, consumers, enthusiasts, and even other local businesses, to raise brand awareness, demand validations, and tackle unsolved problems.
You’ll get immediate results, at no expense
The Internet never sleeps, and neither should your engagements. Consumers today are very keen to be involved in the companies that they buy from, so by tapping into your audience, you’ll be able to solicit immediate feedback from a passionate and engaged consumer base.
Unlike traditional focus groups, online crowdsourcing is incredibly cost-effective and often free – as no contracts are required, and you only pay for the resources you need.
You’ll get great new ideas for your company
While larger companies can afford to test and try many different services and not worry about immediate ROI, small businesses do not have that luxury. Your customers are a powerful resource capable of generating great content for your brand, and by hearing directly from them you can determine what they would find useful, and skip straight to success.
For a fresh approach to issues and problems, break up a big task into many small ones, and ask your consumers for their input. They’ll give suggestions, ask questions, and hopefully offer valuable feedback that will illuminate new marketing pathways and ideas.
You’ll increase your customer engagement
Who doesn’t love a bit of buzz around their business?
Crowdsourcing allows you to solicit engagement and simultaneously publicize your organisation. By asking your customer base “What kind of products or services that we do not currently have would you like to see us provide?” , you’ll show you care about their opinion, and you’ll spark an easy initial conversation. From there, you can continue interactions and develop a positive relationship with your consumers, who will in turn become loyal brand advocates.
We understand that summer is a busy time for local businesses, and crowdsourcing may not be at the top of your to-do list. However, crowdsourcing is an important resource to be utilized, and can help your consumers become actively engaged in the work your company does. If you have any queries, or are hoping to get started but simply don’t have the time, here at Cloud9 we would love to help. As a full-service marketing agency, we offer services across the board, including strategy consultancy and monthly social media services. You can get in contact here.