crowdsourcing – unleashing the power

of the online community




Wired magazine use the term, “crowdsourcing” in 2006. Become a powerful and cost effective method of achieving business goals through the use of the masses.


Business and corporates invite the public to submit ideas and innovations for new and existing products, in exchange for a once-off or a small percentage of future royalties.



Connecting – social networking



Social networking refers to the forming and substantiating of online social networks for communities of people.



Facebook


MySpace


Social networking


Dopplr


LinkedIn


People who creat a personal profiles:


  • Share interests and activities;
  • Are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others;
  • Using the tools of the Internet to connect and build relationships with others;
  • Sharing media, sending messages and blogging.



Social networking sites :
  • allow you to extend beyond your personal network.
  • Created new meaning for the term “friend” with many connections existing solely online.
  • Is unnecessary to have met someone in order to connect with them.


Personal profile pages reveal a great deal of information about themselves:
  • Demographics
  • Age,
  • Gender and location,
  • Detailed lists of likes and dislikes.


Examples:
LinkedIn is a network for professionals.
Dopplr is a social network for frequent travellers.
Facebook, Orkut and MySpace, are the social networks.


Social networking as a tool for marketers



Social networks is free for their member.
Because of demographic information collected by the social networks, advertisers are able to target their adverts to a particular audience.


Applications are another way to market products:
Creating a useful application that is relevant to a product, can expose a whole new audience to a company’s offering, as well as allowing a company to collect detailed information on their users.
Facebook applications were the big marketing story of 2007, there are few success stories to emerge from the buzz. It’s very much a developing market.


Profiles are not limited to people.
Bands, for example, have found immense success with creating MySpace profiles for their band and using the profile as a means of connecting with their current and potential fan base.
On Facebook, Facebook Pages “provide a customized presence on Facebook for
your band, brand, small business, and more.” Quirk eMarketing has a page at
www.facebook.com/pages/Quirk-eMarketing/6639858751.


Marketers can also use social networks to identify how users are perceiving or interacting with their brand, and open up new avenues of communication with them.
For example, if you are marketing a bar, look to see how many people are using a social network to organise events at your bar. Find a way of rewarding those who are bringing you extra customers.

Creating content and opinion


blogging and podcasting
Everyone has an opinion, and the Internet allows for everyone to share their opinion.
.
blogging
A blog is a web site where entries (blog posts) are typically displayed in reverse chronological order:
  • allow for comments on blog posts. A typical blog will feature text, images and links to other blogs and web sites related to the topic of the blog.
  • Blogs range from the personal to the political and everything in between. They can be written by one person or by a group of people.
  • Blogs are mostly textual, but can comprise solely of images, videos, audio or any combination of these.
  • Allow anyone to publish and share ideas, and anyone can read and respond to these. They have given consumers and companies a voice and blogging has opened up a world of information sharing possibilities.
The basic elements of a blog post are:


Author – the person who wrote the blog post.
Blog post title – the title of the blog post, which is usually used to create a unique URL, or permalink, for the blog post.
Tag – tags are the categories used to describe the blog post, and aid services such as Technorati in categorising blog posts.
Comment – comments left by readers of the blog are shown with the blog post.
TrackBack – a notification of other blogs linking to a post, often displayed below blog post.



Some other elements of a blog include:


RSS feed – an RSS feed allows for readers to subscribe easily to the blog.
Categories – blog posts can be allocated categories.
Blogroll – a collection of links to other blogs or web sites commonly read or used by the blogger.
Archives – previous posts remain available for visitors to search through. Archives are usually categorised by date.



RSS readers can:
  • be integrated with an email client;
  • work offline or can be online only.


Some are free, and some are not.


Whether blogging as an individual or a company, there is plenty to be gained from the
process. You can:
  • Create an online identity.
  • Create a voice for yourself or your company.
  • Promote engagement with your audience
  • Create a community.



Blogging and SEO


Using a blog platform that has been designed to be search engine friendly is crucial to harnessing the SEO power of blogging. Some features of SEO-friendly blogging software include:
  • Each blog post should be assigned a unique page which can be easily accessed and indexed by the search engines. This is called a permalink.
  • Pages should be able to be tagged with keywords relevant to your SEO strategy.
  • Each post should be able to have its own unique meta data (title, description and key phrases).
  • Social bookmarking functionality should be built in.


corporate blogging


Generally the tasks that a blogger undertakes include:
  • Writing posts.
  • Replying to comments from readers.
  • Monitoring other blogs within the industry.
  • Keeping up to date with the latest industry news.
  • Building relationships with other bloggers in the community.
  • Commenting on other blogs
Corporate blog content should be:
  • Industry relevant
  • Appealing to your target market
  • Transparent and honest
  • Personal and entertaining
  • Related to what’s going on in the blogosphere
  • Posted regularly


Promoting blogs
Longevity rests in the hands of the blogger, but here are some tips to raise the profile of a blog:
  • List the blog in blog directories
  • Ping web services with updated content:
  • Use TrackBacks:
  • Participate in the blogosphere
  • Make use of aggregators
  • Use traffic generating tools like MyBlogLog
  • microblogging


blogs as a marketing tool:
listen and engage
Blogs are powerful because of:
  • Their reach;
  • Their archives (information is seldom deleted and is thus available long after it has been posted)
  • The trust that other consumers place in them.
For a marketer, they present opportunities to learn how others perceive your brand and to engage with your audience. Marketers can also listen to blog activity around competitors in order to gain market insights.
Although blogging is the best way to respond to and engage with bloggers, companies can also interact with bloggers by commenting on relevant posts. Demonstrating the capacity to listen to bloggers, and then responding using the same medium, can reap tremendous benefits with this community.


Podcasting
  • A podcast is a digital radio (or video) programme downloadable from the internet.
  • Podcasts started as audio blogs. People then figured out a way of distributing them using the same RSS feeds that were being used to distribute blog post information.
  • With the right kind of ‘podcatching’ software on your computer the latest edition of any podcast you subscribe to is automatically downloaded every time you log on.



Creating a podcast
  • Podcasts are usually recorded and edited using home equipment and done for the love of it.
  • A lot of people are producing music podcasts. This has meant a huge move to circumvent traditional rights issues about downloading music from the Internet.
  • Radio stations have realised that they have a whole new way of using their content.
  • They began packaging their output so that fans could listen to their favourite shows
    whenever they wanted to (without the music).
  • The BBC is awash with podcasts(www.bbc.co.uk/podcast).
  • Educators and teaching institutions have latched on to podcasting as a way of sharing content and providing tuition for learners who cannot be present at lectures or tutorials.
  • The corporate world is also realising that podcasting can add huge value to their
    communications mix.


podcasts as a marketing tool
Podcasts offer an incredible opportunity for marketers. Podcasts are:
Targetable – you can create highly relevant, niched content and then promote it to a specific target market.
Measurable – you can see how exactly many downloads and subscribers you have.
Controllable – it’s your content.
Responsive – set up a blog alongside your podcast, alter content according to the comments, you are actually having a conversation with your market.
Boundary free – it’s the Internet.


Relatively inexpensive.
However, the content must be:
Excellent quality – like anything on the Internet, it is just as easy to unsubscribe as it is to subscribe. Quality content is what keeps listeners coming back.
Real – while there is value in having product or service information embedded in a web site, there is no point at all in producing an audio versionof a company brochure as a regular podcast. Consumers are losing faith in the content of traditional media. Even if editorial is not actually paid for, a lot of the time it has been influenced in some way by advertisers. Although there are podcasts that carry adverts, people can fast forward straight past them and the chance of real success lies in branded content.