Throughout history, people have sought to learn and share skills, stories, and ways of life with others. But instead of pursuing such avenues through traditional education institutions or personal travel, a new way for interested parties to connect has emerged: crowdsourcing projects.
Crowdsourcing, the practice of harnessing the power of the crowd to achieve a task, has grown from a niche area of interest to a vast industry. Various types of crowdsourcing projects have sprouted up, ranging from social media contests that use crowdsourcing to gain attention and votes to businesses looking for workable solutions to issues they’re facing.
Before jumping in, it is essential to consider whether crowdsourcing fits your skills and interests. Though anyone can start a project, there are limitations on who can participate. Ideally, contests have a variety of skill sets in their participant pool, but many projects have only specific skill sets or niche groups that can join. If your goal is self-improvement or career advancement, some crowdsourcing opportunities may work better than others. The business or people looking for help also play a significant role in whether crowdsourcing is the right fit for you. In some cases, there may be compensation for your work in the form of a prize or financial gain.
Crowdsourcing is a growing field, so plenty of projects are available to get involved. Ensure you are relying on something other than crowdsourcing for your development as a professional.
Though you shouldn’t just jump from project to project, you should also avoid staying indefinitely with the same crowdsourcing opportunity. Experimenting with different types of crowdsourcing opportunities can be productive and help you find the one that truly works best for your needs and interests. In addition to striving to do more than crowdsourcing, you should keep yourself from becoming fixated on any aspect of the industry.
Your customers are your audience, and you should treat them as such. Your crowd is likely to be very diverse, with people of different backgrounds and experiences. They may have other ideas on approaching problems than you do, so be open to feedback and ready to take suggestions on improving your crowdsourcing project.
You will also want to focus on transparency when working with a crowd of people in this manner. Backed by statistics, you can use data-driven feedback strategies combined with other methods, such as customer service incentives, to improve customer satisfaction with your project.
Community members primarily depend on money, reputation, and skill acquisition to help them through their time on your project. Incentives create a sense of self-worth and satisfaction that helps people in your crowd further appreciate the effort involved and help community members if they don’t want to continue the experience.
Another way to create a community is by asking for feedback and suggestions, considering their input towards improving the community. You can ask for ideas and feedback to improve, such as how your product or service could improve. For example, you can increase customer loyalty by allowing them to suggest how you could better deal with an error or problem within the products or services.
When looking for customers and clients, you’ll want to ensure they know what lies ahead. Think of all the possible scenarios that could arise with each crowdsourcing project you’re involved with and address them in advance. It would help if you also remembered to be careful about changing or adding rules to your projects as you explore crowdsourcing projects.
Many rules for a crowdsourcing project develop through a consensus among community members. This development gives them ownership of the project and helps keep everyone focused on the same ultimate goal.
The benefits of crowdsourcing are undeniable and have drawbacks, especially when not approached to improve your skills, interests, or career aspirations. However, focusing on crowdsourcing as a part of your development rather than the entirety of your professional growth can help you succeed in the long run.