Asking people for their opinion is a great way to get feedback, find holes in your argument, or add more examples and experiences to a larger story. Crowdsourcing is often used to gather ideas to complete a project, and in social media this is often helpful to complete a blog post that is globally applicable. But as an everyday user of Facebook or Twitter, you may find it helpful to crowdsource your own friends and followers for their ideas, experiences or opinions for your own blog posts, or to complete a project at work at school. Crowdsourcing doesn’t mean you’re lazy – but actually, rather genius for tapping into your larger network to discover a more complete answer or idea. Here are a few ways you can crowdsource on Twitter and Facebook to help you come up with ideas from your friends and followers:
Ask a question. On Twitter and Facebook, asking a question that requires a simply answer is a great way to generate a comprehensive and wide-ranging list of experiences – or, to figure out the right answer. This works particularly well when you need to compile a list of ideas, whether you want a new playlist or want to know what your friends’ favorite blogs are. This method also is ideal when you may want to engage in discussion about each response, or get clarification about specific responses.
Use a poll. On Facebook, users can now generate a poll by using the Question feature, located just above where you type in your Status. Just enter your question and then “add poll options”, which are the answers from which your friends on Facebook can choose from. When your friends answer your poll on Facebook, you can see which friends selected which answer, providing basic statistics about your question. There’s no room for engagement here, but polling provides solid numbers about how many choose between a few answers as opposed to a wide range of answers to a question. If you want to ask your Twitter followers to answer a poll, SurveyMonkey can help you create fast and easy polls to then send out to your followers (and anyone else, too.) Another great option new to the scene is the Web and iPhone app Swayable, which asks your friends and followers to choose between one of two items of your choice.
Link to a blog. Engaging your followers and friends from both Facebook and Twitter by linking to a blog post calling your community to action to help you compile an idea is another good way to crowdsource. Using your blog, you can explain the project at hand – or the goal you have in mind. You can incorporate a poll within the blog AND utilize the comments for a discussion. Just point your Facebook friends and Twitter followers back to your blog. Oh, and make sure your comments are turned on.
Have you ever used Twitter or Facebook to crowdsource an idea? What are your tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!