I heard an academic who was researching sports predictions declare that polling a random crowd about future winners and losers delivers more accurate results than the so-called experts who dominate the media.
So if you’re a betting person, it would be smarter to stand on the street corner and ask a large group of passersby who is going to win the Super Bowl than risk your money on the “wisdom” of the ESPN talking heads.
This goes to show that there is a fundamental wisdom in groups of people that trumps individual “experts” and in business, it’s a smart idea to find ways to tap into that pool of intelligence.
We’ve all become familiar with leveraging the “crowd” for funding, but that is far from the only way your business can benefit from crowdsourcing. Here are six niche strategies to bring the power of the crowd to your business.
Will your product sell?
Use Google’s Adwords to “ask” the crowd if there will be enough interest in your product to warrant you giving production the green light. To get this crowdsource wisdom you just need to know the correct keywords that correspond to your offering, have a reasonable budget available, and set up a landing page. Including a contact form that says something like, “Signup to get notified as soon as our new widget is released!” is a great idea as well.
If you launch your Adwords campaign and end up with a paltry number of visitors to your site, you can be pretty sure that the crowd has given you the thumbs down. Move on.
Business wisdom, list by list
Listables is the home for crowdsource-created checklists. In the Listables world the “crowds” are called communities. When you join Listables you can grab any number of checklists the communities have created. In the business category, for example, you’ll find useful checklists like:
Content manager checklist: 10 things to do,
Employee Onboarding Checklist,
15 Things to Top Your Business Checklist for The New Year, and many more.
When you get others team members involved, you can then share the checklists, make assignments, due dates, etc.
Riddle me this!
When you have a thorny business question whose answer seems to be beyond your reach, or you’re looking for reinforcement for your proposed solution, Quora is the place to go. Quora is simply a site where you post your questions and the crowd answers; it’s been around a long time and has thousands of smart and experienced individuals in its crowd of regular responders.
Tap your own crowd
If you have a decent sized social media following, ask for their ideas. Because they follow you or your business, you’ve already self-selected the right kind of people to be interested in what you’re doing and have some interest in your positive outcome.
I remember when a person I follow on Twitter was about to publish a book. He had three or four cover designs he was considering. He used Google forms to set up a short survey where he asked his Twitter followers to select their favorite cover design. The kinds of questions or choices you can present to your social media followers is virtually limitless.
The secondary benefit of this crowdsource strategy is that it engages your social media followers at the same time it’s providing a tangible benefit for you.
Find your Picasso
Crowdsourcing graphic design is a major player today. There are no fewer than three well established websites (DesignCrowd, CrowdSpring, and 99Designs) where you essentially present your needs and various graphic artists respond with their ideas. You select the one you like the best.
Find your Mozart
This crowdsourcing website – Taxi – is unlike the rest. You have to be a major media company or an established ad/branding agency to use it. Taxi has thousands of member musicians around the world who produce tracks in response to various requests for music. Professionals at Taxi curate the responses and send the best ones on to the requestor.
If you have an ad agency that sometimes needs a jingle or music to underscore a radio or TV ad, Taxi might be worth trying. To assure that its member musicians aren’t wasting their time creating songs and music, Taxi carefully vets its clients.
The beautiful thing about crowdsourcing is that it gives you access to great minds and wonderful talent at a very low cost; in fact, crowdsourcing is often free. Before the Internet, high-cost “experts” ruled the day. Now we’re turning the table. Take advantage of it.