There are great tricks brands can rely on to build a more one-to-one relationship with their fans. It's a consumer first approach called crowd sourcing. With crowd sourcing, fans are asked a question that initiates a response. So use that power wisely or you could incite a riot. Read on for a few of our favorite ways to crowd source.
There are many ways to crowd source on Facebook, but for the sake of extending this article into multiple blog posts, I'll share two of my favorites:
Open ended questions are great for serving up a back and forth.
Yes or Yes questions help build "likes," which are also good. "Liked" posts get shared more often, driving growth of new visitors "liking" a brand's FB page.
Richard Spiegel's "The Dos and Don'ts of Facebook" published on AllFacebook.com, waxes poetic about potential crowd sourcing faux pas. And, it can be tricky. But, when done tastefully, and in relation to the brand's attributes, it's an ace up your sleeve.
The "What Would You Do?" question gives fans an opportunity to tell the brand how they would do things their way. The State Fair Corn Dog example did this to great effectivity, with surprising and not so surprising responses. Some fans rallied for the batter to remain unchanged, while others got pretty foodie with their suggestions. One fan replied "bacon." Amen fellow corn dog lover. Amen. Many fans were eager for a batter with extra heat. And, in fact, a spicier jalapeño and cheese variety was already in the works, giving the brand added confidence of being on track with consumer taste preferences.
Aqua M&Ms??? Now I've seen everything!
Many brands smartly create a consumer promotion out of a "What Would You Do?" question. M&Ms let fans pick the colors for a limited-run of the candy. By reaching out to their Facebook community, building messaging into their packaging, and creating a mobile-optimized microsite, fans could suggest and vote for their favorite colors. In the end M&Ms kept 3 of the original colors, and added some new ones like Aqua and Pink. The new color mix is a little aggressive for my tastes--but I didn't vote, so I'll stifle my complaints. Lay's is currently running a "pick the next potato chip flavor" contest which also leverages crowd sourcing to impact product innovation.
For anyone managing a brand's social media strategy, it's important to not ask too many open ended questions in a row. So avoid it at all costs! Fans stop caring when a brand asks why or what too often, and they'll be quick on the trigger to hide something from their newsfeed--or even unlike a brand altogether. It's good to think of a few questions like this, and space them out throughout the month.
Yes I like these statements.
Yes or Yes questions are a good to pepper into a brand's Facebook feed. These types of questions, and sometimes statements, assume the Facebook fan will "like" or agree. And while they won't often deliver the touchdown of an open ended WWYD? question, they're still easy punts showcasing a brand's understanding of its consumer's needs.
Budweiser are masters at this. Rarely, if ever, is the brand promoting a sale or recipe change. Their Yes or Yes posts tie into memorable experiences and connections that resonate with their consumers.
Crowd sourcing can let consumers become active participants in a conversation, feel included in the development process, or simply strengthen their reasoning for belief in a brand. And these methods are perfect tactics for any social media manager. But, a "What Would You Do?" and a "Yes or Yes" tactic are only a few of many ways to initiate crowd sourcing.
So what are some techniques that you've seen or tried yourself? (See what we did there?)