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      Leveraging Online Communities to Crowdsource Ideas From Your Customers

      Sep 19, 2022

      4 minute read

      A loyal customer is the greatest asset for any business. And a functional online community is a hub for building brand loyalists. That is why brands focus on online communities to engage customers. With the right customer engagement efforts, they can encourage discussions, innovations, and suggestions.

      That’s why a thriving community makes the best medium for ideas generation. Ideation is the process of collecting feedback, suggestions, usage-level knowledge, etc., to generate new ideas. Constant innovation can empower a brand in both the improvement of the existing product and the development of new products.

      But, collecting ideas from your community users is easier said than done. Considering you’ll be bombarded with thousands of requirements, suggestions, and feedback, it can get quite overwhelming. And, you can’t even ignore them as no customer would appreciate going unacknowledged from its favorite brand.

      So, how do you implement a productive ideas generation process in your online community?

      Let’s decode all about it.

      Ways to Encourage Ideation in Online Community

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      When you want to generate ideas through crowdsourcing, ensure the ideation space is easily discoverable by the community users. Also, remember to mention all the guidelines clearly. That will encourage your customers to put forward their ideas and suggestions without hesitation. Understanding what encourages your customers to ideate more in your online community. Once you understand their source of motivation, you can inspire them to keep ideating. Some possible motivation elements that you can leverage are-

      • Rewards

      Who doesn’t love getting appreciated for the efforts they’ve put in? Thus, rewards make a great appreciation for the community members who have offered high-quality ideas. It boosts their reputation in the community and morale to continue the valued contribution. This way you can make them feel acknowledged and encourage them to keep contributing.

      • Leaderboards

      The leaderboard shows the best idea and members who contribute the most to the community on the basis of scoring the activities and ideas. The leaderboard by serving its purposes will help you identify the best ideas and contributing members. Community members will be able to view the best-upvoted ideas, leading members who contributed to idea generation, and encourage healthy competition.

      That is how it will work as a wall of fame for your community members. When they are able to see their progress and compare with others, it will encourage healthy competition within the community. And, healthy competition will result in a better and quicker ideation process.

      • Redeemable Coins or Points

      The coins or points work as an incentive for the members who have contributed to the ideas. For instance, when a member jots down ideas, with every upvote on it, they earn a point or coin which they can redeem while paying for the service or product. A reward point delights the customer, nurtures their loyalty, and encourages them to further participate.

      Responding Appropriately

      You successfully managed to get your community members to submit ideas. What’s next? If you’re not prepared to respond to every idea, members would soon lose interest and stop submitting ideas. Thus, it is essential to evaluate ideas properly and let your members know they are being heard.

      As the innovation grows, it will get overwhelming to respond to everyone. So, you might need more staff or volunteers to address each of them. Following are the ways you can distribute jobs to your staff and community members and respond appropriately-

      1. Improving the Idea Quality

      When a member proposes an idea, but it still has some gaps, other members can pitch in. This goes for all ideas that are incomplete, have been proposed before, or need more refinement.

      2. Acknowledging or Validating the Idea

      Once the community members are done refining an idea, the community manager can take the lead from there. The acknowledgment or validation should come from an authorized person like community manager or other staff.

      3. Keeping the Idea Under Consideration

      Once the idea has been approved, it can be put under the consideration stage. It means the idea has potential but is still in progress. During this phase, members should be encouraged to support the idea, make further improvements, and contribute when necessary.

      4. Taking the Idea to the Next Level

      This is the last stage where the idea is moved from the community to the organization. When the idea is feasible for the organization or product, other teams like product managers get involved. They decide whether the idea will be implemented fully, partially, or discarded.

      Measuring the Effect of Ideation

      Some ideas may work wonders for you while others might not meet your expectations. But, you still need to measure their impact. Why? Because you need to –

      • Justify the investment you made on that idea.
      • Confirm whether the ideas implemented – hit the overall objective or not.
      • Get a more in-depth insight into customer behavior to feed future initiatives and decisions.

      But how do you learn the impact of ideation?

      Here are some metrics that you can track to measure the impact of ideation in your community:

      • Growth in traffic after the implementation of the idea from the community.
      • Number of customer problems or queries it solved.
      • Improvement brought to the products.
      • Improvement reflected in customer engagement and experience by it.

      From inviting members to the idea generation process to taking the idea generation to the next level, it is all a difficult task to carry out. But as there is no tested way to generate ideas. Start with accumulating ideas from user-generated content in the community. Then, sieve them through the net of strict evaluation. Lastly, measure the effectiveness of the ideas that worked.

      A well-engaged online community that is backed by a systematic ideation process enables managers to assess what their audience wants, thinks, and talks about them. This is a win-win situation for a brand as it gets the opportunity to convert ideas into reality and reap the benefits.

      Make Your Community Dynamic With a Robust Ideation Process. Talk to Us!

      Team Grazitti has extensive experience in building vibrant online communities that empower you to generate more ideas to take your business up a notch. To know more about our IdeasPro expertise, drop us a line at [email protected], and we’ll take it from there.

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