Sam Walton of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart is noted for saying to his executives “If you need any question answered, go to a store and ask our customers.” The idea of crowdsourcing is quite similar; bringing your clients, experts and fans of your company into the fold to assist your company in creating something palatable for your target audience. Many companies have used this method to gather ideas for their marketing and branding campaigns for a few years now. Doritos has become notorious for their crowdsourcing techniques to create their Super Bowl commercials. Recently, Harley Davidson has shifted almost their entire marketing campaign to their fans who they now rely upon to create the ideas behind their marketing campaigns.Crowdsourcing is a great way to tackle a project or problem that you may not have the talent pool or skill set to accomplish. It can also be good as a form of surveying tool to see what your target audiences or markets like and dislike. Before your company dives head first into the crowdsourcing game however, lets go over a few basic parameters on how crowdsourcing works:Focus on InclusionAt the heart of crowdsourcing lies inclusion. Find your core audience of those willing to take a look at your problem, this could be anyone from the ambassadors of your product to experts in the field of whatever problem you need solving. To find these people, harness your social media platforms, particularly the ones where people are talking the most about what you would like crowdsourced. Another option is to look toward crowdsourcing websites like www.crowdsourcing.org, which can provide resources and forums to get your project off the ground. Another tactic to find qualified members for your crowdsourcing project would be through your LinkedIn network and the forums that lie therein. The LinkedIn forums provide a trove of focused specialists eager to help answer questions and possibly even join in on your project if they feel a passion towards it (or find it a good resume booster). The website Open Innovators has compiled a great list of crowdsourcing sites that will help you find your desired team. Promote TransparencyCrowdsourcing is all about sharing your project with a community, leave few secrets between you and your team. Start by creating a project brief and identifying your primary audience. Then, list your goals and desired outcomes succinctly enough that every member of your group understands your project in the same light you intended. Set parameters and guidelines for your project along with a deadline. Remember, you are the coach of your crowdsource project, so make your management available for questions and to provide feedback on your project. Make sure to stay in contact and stay on the pulse of your project. Having a transparent and straightforward attitude with your crowdsource will create a better, more actualized product.Create IncentiveThere is an inherent reward of completion built into crowdsourcing, particularly if your project was crowdsourced by those who are fans and advocate your product. It is always nice however to sweeten the pot with other incentives. Websites like www.innocentive.com offer cash rewards for those who can help companies solve their problems. Incentives do not have to be in just cash form (although in many cases, it can be the biggest motivator); it can be in product samples, discounts, swag, and about anything that is worth the work put in. Remember that most people work for an incentive, so the sweeter the reward, the better work you are likely to get. Don’t forget to show your appreciation to those who helped you finish your project either, give them credit and laud them when and where it is due.Encourage FeedbackOnce your project is completed, make sure you tell the world that your project was crowdsourced. Not only is it great PR for your company, but it is also a great way to gather more people to crowdsource your next project. If your target audience is within your crowdsource, you may consider allowing them to choose a winning campaign/project by a vote while in the research phase. Gather feedback about the project from your audience and make sure to send it back to your crowdsource so they know what went right and what they could do better on their next project. Following through in this way will keep your crowdsource pool active and happy to work with you again.Have you ever used crowdsourcing before? How did it work for you? Let’s talk about it! We would love to hear your feedback. Comment below or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.Daniel Clauser is the Social Media Strategist for Media Contour. Daniel is eager to connect with all and answer any questions and may be reached @mediacontour on Twitter and Facebook or via email at email@example.com.
Crowdsourcing 101: How To Gather Consumer Data and Feedback and Still Be Their Friend.
Presentation Download | Online Marketing
Below is a link to the presentation I gave at the Reel Women's Film Festival. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dianna Means at the Reel Women's Film Festival for asking me to be a speaker. I would also like to thank Michelle Lee and Karen Stein at Hair and Makeup Artist's Network for coordinating my presentation. I also have to give a huge thanks to HubSpot.com who acted as a great resource for much of the material; they are truly on top of their game.DOWNLOAD | Reel Women's Film Fest Presentation
Update Your Website – Automatic Social Media Feeds
One of the truly innovative things you can do to update your website is to add features that allow you to automatically update your social media feeds. This eliminates the need for the people who handle your Internet marketing to update your social media feeds individually after making an update to your website.
Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants do have tools that work with them and that allow you to update them regularly. In fact, there are tools available that allow you to update your social media sites on a schedule. Your Internet marketing people, using these tools, could make several updates for these feeds and schedule them to deploy automatically.This can save a great deal of time and money and increase the return on investment you get from your website. It also allows you to do something very important, given the fact that many social media sites are coming up with various payment schemes for companies that use them for largely advertising purposes.
Redirect the Traffic
The value of having a Facebook profile and a Twitter account for a business has been discussed endlessly in many different media outlets. This tends to underrate the value of actually having a real website. As was said previously, many social media outlets are finding ways to charge business customers for the advertising that they do that was formerly free. Your website is something that you control and, of course, you don't have to pay for advertising on your own website.Integrating your website updates with your social media feeds provides you with a way to direct traffic to your website from those social media sites. Provided you have a good website, you may be able to retain some of those people and have them start visiting your site preferentially, rather than looking for your Facebook profile or other social media presence.
Add or Not?
There's really no reason not to update a website with these tools. They're far too easy to use and far too economical to pass up. They also allow you to, perhaps ironically, enjoy a bit of freedom from being completely dependent on using social networks. Because you can handle this directly from your website, you don't have to expend the extra time involved in going through all of the different interfaces, making updates and, on top of all of that, trying to keep the updates consistent across many different social media networks.
7 Creative Uses For QR Codes
What are QR Codes? Although not yet fully adopted by the mainstream world yet, QR (or quick response) codes have seen a dramatic rise in usage and very well may be the new way that companies decide to give customers information on products. For those uninitiated, QR codes are those big squares you may have seen in the bottom corners of movie posters, under your drink on a coaster at your favorite restaurant or possibly next to various products at your local supermarket. With any smartphone armed with a QR code scanner (which are a free download on any app store). In the future, an advertisement may not be just a message and a picture, but an interactive environment with unlimited possibilities. What you can do with these handy bar codes may surprise you. What can I do with QR codes?Now that I’ve (hopefully) piqued your interest into QR codes, what kind of information can a QR code hold? In the end, it all depends on how powerful your end-users reader is. Below is a list of things any QR reader can do and some notions on how your business may be able to utilize QR codes:You can open URLs in a browserProbably the most common way to use a QR code, using it as a link to your company’s website or blog is one method, but think harder; what about a specially tailored site or campaign customized to the demographic of people that is likely to scan your code? Be creative with your site (and maybe poach a few other ideas from this blog) to make something truly unique that will give your target market a memorable experience. Use QR codes to display hidden/secret textThe simplest of tasks you could ask of a QR code may seem like the type of command you may want to skip over, but it could have a few uses if you think creatively. Perhaps hiding your code with a special password on it that when given provides a special deal at your establishment. Help people in setting up system alertsDo you have a weekly special or special event coming up? Why not create a QR code that will automatically set up a reminder in your clients calender on their phone?Collecting contact information (including vCards)Having a networking event or party? A QR code would be a simple way to have guests register or sign in to an event. Do you want to grab everybodies contact info to send thank-you cards or a newsletter?Reconsider the whole “business-card-in-a-fish-bowl” raffle contest with a digital QR code version that can easily be imported right into your company’s mailing list. Create a QR code for sending email or text messages (SMS)Give customers a great way to let their friends know where they are, possibly with daily specials or a password for special deals or promotions.Create a fun E-card that guests and clients can share with their friends.Use QR codes as a means of making geolocation easierIs your customer lost? Help them out by pinning your address into their phone’s GPS with a QR code. From there, give them directions to your other locations, affiliates, or just the quickest route home.Use a QR code as a simple way for customers to check-in to your establishment or to show proof that they went to a secondary location.Easily Connect to WiFi using a QR codeUse an easy-to-find QR code to grant WiFi access to mobile users in a quick, interactive way that can makes remembering clunky passwords a thing of the past.Where can I get a QR code? By googling “QR codes” you can find a litany of sites that can generate you a QR code free of charge. If you plan on using your QR code for a larger, more focused campaign, you can pay to have a QR code generated that will record statistics and demographic information. However, if you are too lazy to Google the aforementioned keywords, here are two sites of merit:http://www.qrstuff.com/http://qrcode.kaywa.com/http://bronto.com/blog/mobile-marketing/7-best-practices-qr-code-success#.T-jzruJWqs1Info for programming codes to do the previous functions should be able to be found on the above sites, if not a great resource I used for this article can also help you with some of the programming as well: http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/qr-codes-uri-schemes/What are some creative ways you can (or have) thought of to use QR codes in the ways mentioned above? We would love to see some examples.Find this article useful? Check out these blogs:Creating Relationships With Your Customers On The Mobile Web.What Is NFC? NFC And The New Google Wallet.