HOW to use, SOCIAL MEDIA | March 20, 2009

The Ideas Campaign Uses Crowdsourcing the Old Fashioned Way: behind closed doors

the idea campaign homepage

When I first read about The Ideas Campaign I was excited. An Irish businesswoman launched the campaign two weeks ago. The goal is to ask Irish citizens what can be done to stimulate the economy. My deception comes from the lack of proper social networking skills. As I researched the story, this post transformed into “What a great idea” to “What NOT to do”.

The Great Idea

Forget the long public meetings all over the country. In these days of age, a social networking Web site can serve that purpose more rapidly and more effectively. The fact that you can give your opinions 24 hours a day over a few weeks means that more people can participate than with the traditional ways. This is another example of how the Web improves our life.

Besides the reported popularity of the site, lessons can be learned about how The Idea Campaign missed the target on different fronts. I believe that they could be more popular if they done things right. And it would not have cost more.

A Need for a True Social Networking Site


First of all, I wonder why they did not use a proper social networking application to build their Web site. They are many free open source tools to build such a site. You will need some customizations but it is still inexpensive if you stick to basic needs. Take Pligg for example. Citizens could submit their ideas and anyone could browse them. People could write a comment or vote a la Digg on the ideas.

Building a true community site stimulates people who submitted their ideas to spread the word about your project since they want to reach the Top Ideas status. Moreover, people could develop their ideas on their blogs, which spread the word further and build you page rank.

If you wish to build something like this, you must use the right tools for the job. They are no excuses for not using social networking software. It will be easier for you to manage and more engaging for your users.

My Two cents

How does The Idea Campaign perform on using social media for marketing? Let say that they still have a few things to learn on the art of using social media. They need a skilled Community manager to better promote their brand.

Use the above pointers to create awareness about your personal or corporate brand on Twitter or Facebook. First, start by following more people on Twitter. It is beyond me why any organization does not follow back most of their followers.

the idea campaign on twitter

To be successful on Twitter, you need to engage in conversations. Do not rely on predictable marketing pitches like “Visit today to submit your ideas that will help rebuild the Irish economy!”.

Instead, stimulate the discussions in your tweets. You could:

  • summarize an idea and ask for comments to refine the idea (would be easy to do if they had a social networking site)
  • provide external links to economic news happening in Ireland, the European Community and the World
  • request people to contribute in a category where you are missing fresh ideas
  • Retweet (RT) stories of members of your community that are on Twitter
  • these are only the tips of the iceberg.

I would not even start on how they mismanage their Facebook presence since they created a user profile instead of a Facebook page for their campaign. Even a group would have been better. The fact that they need to approve me as a friend is against marketing 101 for any organization.

Even with these drawbacks, over 2500 ideas were submitted in the first two weeks (but we cannot verify these numbers since we do not see most submitted ideas). The appeal for crowdsourcing on economical issues is there. If you wish to send your ideas, you have until March 31, 2009 to do it.

+ Via Springwise

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One Response to “The Ideas Campaign Uses Crowdsourcing the Old Fashioned Way: behind closed doors”

  1. Great advise… wish they had taken it.