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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Engage Your Social Audience with Questions & Crowdsourcing

The importance of asking question in social media
Someone once said, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

That person was wrong. Sorry. There are- most definitely- stupid questions. That being said, there are also incredibly engaging and relevant questions. Those are the questions you should be asking your business' social media audience. 

The key to social media strategy is effective engagement.  Make your voice on social media the catalyst for acquiring brand loyalty, increasing stakeholders, and developing customer relationships.


That's all easier said than done, of course. The most strategic way to propel your social media audience to interact with your content is to pose relevant questions. People like to voice their opinions. It's why a Lady Gaga video on YouTube can somehow acquire 1.5 million comments (sigh). As a brand, you can - and should - encourage your customers to voice their opinion about your services, products, and other pertinent topics.

Asking Questions 101:

Asking questions can help you guide the path of discussion unfolding on your social media page without being a tyrant. Asking questions can also:

  1. Show that you care about your customers
  2. Build an emotional connection with consumers (of your products as well as of your information)
  3. Increase company transparency/ build trust
  4. Stimulate comments on a specific post, allowing the post to appear higher on Facebook timelines
  5. Therefore, allowing you to gain top-of-mind recognition status with audience
  6. Provide you with valuable customer insight at a much cheaper price than traditional R&D methods like focus groups, surveys, and market research
These are appealing things, right? So get started. First, write a list of topics you think your audience would talk about. This list can include your products/ services as well as other industry topics. Be creative! Next, develop a list of questions from the topics you've jotted down. Lastly, reflect on which questions you think would spark the most interest with your audience. Post them with some context, and determine which ones seem to perform best.

Crowdsourcing 101:

The only thing better than asking your audience questions is asking your audience questions that allow them to directly contribute to your brand's services or products. According to Likeable Social Media, crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by employees at an organization, to a large group of people or community (a crowd) through an open call.

Crowdsourcing can bring new, fresh, and innovative ideas and solutions from those who know your customers best - the customers, themselves. Crowdsourcing can also help you to encourage vested interest in your company from the community by giving the community a true voice.

Let's see crowdsourcing in action.

A couple years ago, Vitamin Water engaged their customers on social media by allowing them to decide a new flavor and new package design for their next drink. They posed the question, defined a call-to-action, and allowed users to post their own responses and ultimately vote for their favorites. Oh, and they offered a 5K prize for the winning flavor-mastermind. What did this do for the company? Well, it got people talking, first and foremost. That, in and of itself, is invaluable. Additionally, they connected with several thousand fans, making the fans feel emotionally-invested in their next product. Additionally, they earned positive PR and awareness about their next product. They launched the new, winning flavor, knowing that it already had thousands of buyers.

ModCloth, an online women's fashion company, is probably the best spokesman for crowdsourcing today. They frequently ask their social media audience for their opinions and input on their clothing and brand. In fact, they have created an entire Be The Buyer program, allowing their customers to vote for the clothing pieces they should carry. It is simple: if an item gets enough votes, they will sell it. It's a win-win because users get to determine what clothing their favorite online boutique sells, and ModCloth takes the guesswork out of risky fashion buying.
crowdsourcing using social media


So how can crowdsourcing fit into your company if, for example, you don't trust your customers to engineer the next bridge or implement the next biomedical technology? Invite them to make their mark by naming the next product or designing the next label. There are plenty of ways to get your customers involved.

How have you used questions to instigate interaction between and among your target audience? We'd love to hear your own success stories, so please leave a comment below! For other social media and Internet marketing information and services, contact a professional at Blue Archer.

Calra Rosemarino
Internet Marketing Analyst
@BlueArcherPGH

1 comment:

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