Your Guide to Social Media Crowdsourcing

December 17, 2019 / by

As marketers, analytics can be a good gauge as to the success of our marketing efforts. While this data tells you almost everything you need to know about your performance, there’s one aspect of your performance that it can’t always measure: People’s thoughts and opinions. Crowdsourcing bridges the gap between your customers thoughts and the numbers you see in graphs.

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a powerful social media tool that can help you better understand your consumers and improve their online shopping experience. Since social media allows for a two-way form of communication, a business can get to know their audience’s thoughts, wants, concerns, and opinions.

A great example of crowdsourcing is from Jarett Wieselmann of Netflix:

He posed a question to his social media following to truly figure out how they feel in order to improve the service he offers. Thousands of people responded sharing some really insightful ideas. This is crowdsourcing in a nutshell. When used correctly, crowdsourcing can become an incredibly effective tool for marketing, sales, and customer service. However, there are more benefits to it than one might initially think. Let’s take a look at all crowdsourcing has to offer!

Understand Your Audience Better

Hands down, crowdsourcing is the best way to understand your audience, while developing a deeper relationship with your audience.

You can look at analytics all you want, but you will never get the unique insights and context of asking your customers directly. Just go right to the source to find out what they want. Find out what needs haven’t been met, and get specific quotes to paint a picture of how users interact with your offerings.

Learn how to ask your customers, to get meaningful feedback. Let’s take a look at how Enterprise.nxt created a twitter poll to see how their audience manages their passwords while providing a guide on how to create a more secure passwords. This is a great way to ask for feedback because they are not just asking for something – they are providing value!

Now, you don’t need to do it this way every time. Taking the opposite approach, Biore Skincare asked an open ended question, allowing their audience to have the freedom to provide specific feedback. Polls are effective for gathering more general information, but an open ended question can be great for a different kind of crowdsourcing purpose.

Take Action

The group of people that will most likely respond are the most engaged followers and users of your business. They can serve as a focus group that already knows your brand. They want to help so you can better help them. It is a powerful cycle that will continue to build your business.

But, listening is only the first step to effective crowdsourcing. Saying that all feedback is welcomed and listened to is only half the battle. If customers respond with feedback and then see nothing done with that feedback, it will leave them feeling ignored instead of valued! There is a very small gap between leaving a customer satisfied and disappointed when it comes to crowdsourcing. Close that gap and take advantage of every opportunity.

You can take an open ended question like we spoke about earlier and turn that into a campaign of activation and engagement. Your customers will take notice of this and invest more now that they feel like your business truly cares.

Remember, there are many ways to crowdsource. Asking about your product specifically is not always the best route to gaining quality feedback. For example, you could ask when your customers realized they needed your product or service. This will give you great insight on the thought process of your followers, and when to target people similar to them in an effort to aid their needs. All of this valuable information would not have been revealed if the audience was never asked.


Pro Tip: If you come across a negative comment, don’t be afraid to respond. This can be a great opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a big fan of your company! Make sure you know exactly how to effectively respond to negative feedback.

Optimize Social Media Customer Service

Crowdsourcing goes hand in hand with customer feedback. And that customer feedback goes hand in hand with the feedback you receive through customer service. Every interaction and piece of information from your customers can be transformed into bettering your business. Never be too afraid to assess and address problems in your business. It will only better your business as a whole.

With the ease of platforms like Twitter, people take to social media now more than ever to voice their opinions about companies. So, try seeking out customer reviews and respond directly – maybe even give them a shoutout on your social media account. Not everyone will tag your business directly so always be intentional and seek out all types of posts that can be written about your brand.

Instead of having everything go through their main Twitter account, Netflix set up a separate Twitter account for customer service. They provide updates on streaming issues and respond to customer feedback. This is a great way for a company as big as Netflix to contain such a high volume of customer service related queries.

How to Crowdsource on Social Media Effectively

Now that you understand the effectiveness of Crowdsourcing here is how to conduct social media crowdsourcing. When there is so much information to sort from, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to turn your responses into actionable insights. That is why it is crucial to learn how to ask for feedback to get these actionable and organized insights. Here are some tips to help you become a crowdsourcing pro:

1. Define your goals/expectations

Some people will have suggestions on how to improve your product or service, and others will have complaints. With no direction, this can get messy and confusing. All this information is valuable, but for different purposes. This is why a goal and expectation of your crowdsourcing efforts need to be defined.

What do you want to gain from crowdsourcing? Maybe you want to improve your customer service, or maybe you just want insight on a product. Or, you may want more information on your customer base directly.

Each goal will have a different way of carrying it out in terms of when you collect, analyze, and come up with takeaways and insights.

2. Choose the Right Tactics and Channel

Here are some other ways you can collect information for effective crowdsourcing:

  • Polls on social media
  • Comment browsing
  • Keeping up With Direct Messages
  • Surveys
  • Monitoring mentions and key words
  • Giveaways & Contests

The goal is to get a large response rate for your questions, so be sure to use channels that your customers use frequently. Additionally, these questions don’t have to be boring – make your posts engaging!


Denny’s posed a series of Instagram polls to find out their audience’s favorite sauces. They added a visually interesting/relevant image to aid their poll, which is a great way to get customers to pay attention and respond.

Have a Dedicated team to collect and sort the information

No matter how many responses you get, it is important to have a dedicated team to sort through all the information you are receiving.

In the Denny’s example, they were running the poll just on their Instagram Story. Therefore, it was very easy to see their followers’ responses. However, not every social media crowdsourcing campaign will be carried out on one platform. If that is the case, there will be a lot of comments on several platforms. Being prepared for this type of information collection is crucial to the success of your crowdsourcing goals.

Pro Tip: Maybe have different teams to monitor different efforts. For instance, a team can be dedicated specifically to customer support, while another can be dedicated to something else or to monitoring different social platform.
Stay Consistent

Regardless of the type of crowdsourcing effort you are using, you will greatly benefit from making these practices a regular part of your business’s social media strategy.

Don’t be discouraged if people do not flood your comments section right away. Just by customers seeing that you are asking let’s them know that you care about the quality of your products and services. By crowdsourcing and responding to feedback, your customers will start to anticipate what is coming next for your business!