Crowdsourcing has been a buzzword for a while now, especially around funding (via Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or numerous niche sites that have popped up) and content (everything from quotes and best-of lists to photos and videos).
Crowdsourcing is a wonderful strategy to pursue for many reasons:
- You let people contribute and be part of the process or project
- You get access to a broad range of resources and ideas
- You create a community in the process
That last part is key, because creating a community means you are connecting with people, and those connections lead to long-term relationships. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to build long-term relationships with my clients and target market as I grow my business.
Here are 4 ways crowdsourcing can grow your business:
1. You can use it to validate new products and services
Have a new idea for a product or service or want to add features to an existing product or service? Save yourself from spending time and money to build something that no one wants. Ask select clients to join an advisory group. As your users, they will give you honest feedback and validate or disprove your ideas.
2. You can grow brand awareness
Crowdsourcing can grow your brand awareness and community if it is a really shareable project. Make sure your project is interesting and fun and easy to join. Offer really awesome, must-have rewards, perks, or prizes.
3. You can grow your community
Give your project a memorable name and use a hashtag when you talk about it online. Whether you are raising money for a project or cause or holding a photo contest, people who are interested in the basic topic will find you through word-of-mouth from your audience, social sharing, and the buzz and publicity you generate.
Invite newcomers to join your social media community and highlight the benefits of doing so. Ask them to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, sign up for your blog, and so on.
4. You can keep the conversation going
During the crowdsourcing project, keep the community up-to-date on what is happening – how close you are to meeting your fundraising goal or favorite photo submissions so far. After the project, share the status of your new product or announce the contest winners and their submissions.
Have you successfully crowdsourced funding, ideas, or content? What other tips can you offer?