Why We Need to Crowdsource our Social Media Marketing

| July 31, 2013

When Wired magazine contributor Jeff Howe first wrote about crowdsoucing in 2006, he described a scenario where someone harnessed the power of a group to accomplish more, faster.

“Just as distributed computing projects like UC Berkeley’s SETI@home have tapped the unused processing power of millions of individual computers, so distributed labor networks are using the Internet to exploit the spare processing power of millions of human brains,” he wrote.

Technology developers have since applied this concept to business in varying ways, from tools for crowdsourcing market research, to others that leverage the crowd for sales. The benefit is the same – if two heads are better than one, than many are that much better.

Late last year, my company, which reviews social CRM technology, hosted an online event that made me realize crowdsourcing has another, even more powerful benefit in social media marketing. “Customers are interested in marketing, but they don’t believe what your company says about itself unless it matches what they and their friends experience,” Micah Solomon, a professional keynote speaker and best-selling author, told me during an online debate called “Is Customer Service the New Marketing?”

This means customers are more apt to listen to what their social circles say and recommend online than anything you can do. So basically, I’m suggesting that crowdsourcing social media marketing not only lets companies do more; it can have a greater impact on consumer choice because it’s people talking to other people (rather than just the company saying how great it is).

See Every Social Media Mention as an Opportunity

Every time someone mentions your brand on Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook or another social channel, it creates an instant opportunity to start a conversation. The more brands can foster these engagements the more they can generate positive word-of-mouth. But it’s up to the brand to take advantage of these opportunities and impact whether that conversation is positive or negative.

Last year, I conducted an experiment where I sent 14 of the nation’s top brands one tweet every day for four weeks. While the companies only responded 14 percent of the time, I received a number of messages from people who were not affiliated with the company. Most of the time it was a competitor. Imagine, instead, if you had real customers responding to mentions about your company on social media (in a positive way).

This isn’t just possible, it’s plausible. We have the technology for doing so right under our noses.

Harness the Power of Your Customer Communities

Active customer community users already listen and respond to other customers in discussion forums. Some, such as this HP community member, voluntarily spend hours speaking on behalf of your brand.

I think these same people are perfect candidates to respond for companies on social media. Technology developers could leverage all of the tools that make communities so effective – things like gamification and automated alerts – and mimic the experience in social media.

We also already have the social listening technology that can filter out brand mentions. I’m simply suggesting this software deliver these mentions to customer brand advocates to respond, instead of employees. Or in cases where the customer was particularly angry, or had questions that require an employee response, they could be fielded back to the company.

So, Can We Do It?

The bones of what I’m suggesting basically exist. Also, customer community tools such as GetSatisfaction integrate with social media management tools like Hootsuite. The issues isn’t really one of logistics as it is desire. So what’s the hesitation? Message control, certainly. But what’s the use of retaining all the message control if nothing you say makes a difference?

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Category: Recruit 101, Social Media Marketing, Special Agent Intermediate, TMMPDX

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http://www.tmmpdx.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/crowd-at-broken-social-scene-150x150.jpg Ashley Verrill Recruit 101Social Media MarketingSpecial Agent IntermediateTMMPDX ,

When Wired magazine contributor Jeff Howe first wrote about crowdsoucing in 2006, he described a scenario where someone harnessed the power of a group to accomplish more, faster.

“Just as distributed computing projects like UC Berkeley’s SETI@home have tapped the unused processing power of millions of individual computers, so distributed labor networks are using the Internet to exploit the spare processing power of millions of human brains,” he wrote.

Technology developers have since applied this concept to business in varying ways, from tools for crowdsourcing market research, to others that leverage the crowd for sales. The benefit is the same – if two heads are better than one, than many are that much better.

Late last year, my company, which reviews social CRM technology, hosted an online event that made me realize crowdsourcing has another, even more powerful benefit in social media marketing. “Customers are interested in marketing, but they don’t believe what your company says about itself unless it matches what they and their friends experience,” Micah Solomon, a professional keynote speaker and best-selling author, told me during an online debate called “Is Customer Service the New Marketing?”

This means customers are more apt to listen to what their social circles say and recommend online than anything you can do. So basically, I’m suggesting that crowdsourcing social media marketing not only lets companies do more; it can have a greater impact on consumer choice because it’s people talking to other people (rather than just the company saying how great it is).

See Every Social Media Mention as an Opportunity

Every time someone mentions your brand on Pinterest, Linkedin, Facebook or another social channel, it creates an instant opportunity to start a conversation. The more brands can foster these engagements the more they can generate positive word-of-mouth. But it’s up to the brand to take advantage of these opportunities and impact whether that conversation is positive or negative.

Last year, I conducted an experiment where I sent 14 of the nation’s top brands one tweet every day for four weeks. While the companies only responded 14 percent of the time, I received a number of messages from people who were not affiliated with the company. Most of the time it was a competitor. Imagine, instead, if you had real customers responding to mentions about your company on social media (in a positive way).

This isn’t just possible, it’s plausible. We have the technology for doing so right under our noses.

Harness the Power of Your Customer Communities

Active customer community users already listen and respond to other customers in discussion forums. Some, such as this HP community member, voluntarily spend hours speaking on behalf of your brand.

I think these same people are perfect candidates to respond for companies on social media. Technology developers could leverage all of the tools that make communities so effective – things like gamification and automated alerts – and mimic the experience in social media.

We also already have the social listening technology that can filter out brand mentions. I’m simply suggesting this software deliver these mentions to customer brand advocates to respond, instead of employees. Or in cases where the customer was particularly angry, or had questions that require an employee response, they could be fielded back to the company.

So, Can We Do It?

The bones of what I’m suggesting basically exist. Also, customer community tools such as GetSatisfaction integrate with social media management tools like Hootsuite. The issues isn’t really one of logistics as it is desire. So what’s the hesitation? Message control, certainly. But what’s the use of retaining all the message control if nothing you say makes a difference?