Marketing and PR continues to become more complex as there are more and more accessible methods for consumers interact with brands and with each other. Making sense of all the possibilities is a daunting task. Everyone is familiar with the basics like Facebook and Twitter—but what else is there? While Facebook and Twitter are regarded as engagement tools, the clutter of many-to-many conversations does diminish a campaign’s impact and effectiveness. This is precisely where crowdsourcing can fit in as a way to cut through the noise and build meaningful connections with your consumers or community.
Crowdsourcing, or co-creation, is a fun and engaging marketing and PR tool to get a community of participants activated and engaged leading up to an event or as part of a campaign. Building a campaign around crowdsourcing can be a quick and easy way to mix things up and get people talking with little or no cost.
There are some basics we must understand that will help to ensure a successful crowdsourcing campaign. First, you have to know what motivates your community—are they passionate about your charity’s cause, are they passionate about your product or service, what gets them fired up? American Idol, the all-time greatest crowdsourcing event ever, knows it’s audience is passionate about talented homegrown singers. Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG foundation knows its supporters are passionate about cancer research and cycling.
Once you know your audience’s passion it’s on to the next step—finding a task the community with tackle enthusiastically. This isn’t about assigning them work, but instead about finding a purposeful task that will have a meaningful impact.
So you’ve identified what motivates your community and you’ve come up with a task for them—now what? Today there are free tools available from companies like CrowdTogether that can be used to quickly and easily set up a crowdsourcing event for your group. Using a platform like CrowdTogether takes care of the complexities of building an event page, figuring out how to collect and display submissions and how to tally votes.
Now it’s time for Facebook and Twitter to do their job—getting the word out. Along with a nicely formatted HTML email invitation and promotional content on your website, Facebook and Twitter are ideal for getting people talking about your event. Each user who comments on your Facebook page or about your event increases your ability to reach people exponentially—that’s the beauty of social networking tools. There’s power in passion, and there’s passion in your community, so start thinking about ways to tap into this abundant resource. With a billion people online, and the pervasiveness of desktop publishing software, nearly everyone is a potential contributor. So don’t discount people’s desire to be heard, everyone wants to have a voice, it’s up to you to find their passion and give them a purposeful assignment, your community will do the rest.
Richard Spiegel is the founder and CEO of CrowdTogether.com, a free crowdsourcing platform that specializes in facilitating co-creation for community groups. Before founding CrowdTogether, Richard spent 12 years in the digital media and interactive marketing space. Richard has worked for some of the worlds top brands from Dell and Research in Motion to Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. You can reach him by email or on Twitter.