Promotion of your crowdsourcing project is a huge component in ensuring its success. Even if it's focused on an issue that millions of people care about, you likely won't receive any practical submissions if no one has heard about it.
At HeroX, we want you to achieve breakthrough results with your challenge. Here we've provided a few ways to promote it and engage with the community you build:
1. Run a social media ad campaign: this is the easiest way to reach a large number of people, even on a limited budget. Facebook and Twitter have shown us the best results, but you may want to experiment with LinkedIn and Instagram as well depending on your challenge’s subject area. For example, Instagram may be better if your competition is more design focused.
There will be some effort required to setup your ad account on any of these platforms, but it’s easy to get campaigns up and running once you do. You can spend as much or as little as you want while being able to target interests and job titles directly related to your competition.
In addition, have your employees, colleagues, friends, family or partner organizations share your challenge on their accounts as well. This will help amplify your message to people who may not fall within your advertising target audiences and build credibility.
2. Email relevant online publications: the internet is a vast place which usually means there’s likely some sort of online publication or networking association related to your challenge. Find the contact information for the organization (even if it’s a general email address) and send them a friendly message to see if they would be willing to share your crowdsourcing campaign with their members. Be sure to give some background on yourself and why you’re running your challenge. Some organizations will do this as a courtesy for free, while others may have a fee for you to gain access to their community. You will ultimately need to decide what makes sense for your budget, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask!
You can also look to posting on large online forum communities such as Reddit. Reddit has many sub-forums dedicated to specific topics where you can share your challenge. Just be aware that your post may get ‘downvoted’ if users feel like you are simply self-promoting and not contributing to the conversation in a meaningful way. Reddit would be a useful resource for those who already have well-established accounts.
3. Attend in-person events: if there are any conferences or meet-ups in your area that are relevant to your challenge, meeting people face-to-face to talk about it is a great way to recruit potential innovators. This also creates a deeper level of trust in the legitimacy of your crowdsourcing campaign when people can get to know the sponsor behind it.
If you’re a larger organization, you can also promote your challenge at your next company event! Include it in the printed program, create a postcard to pass out, or have someone include it in a presentation so attendees have a visual to remember it afterwards.
4. Engage with the community you build: once you have driven traffic to your page, the communication doesn't end there! You need to engage with the users who register to participate by posting Updates to your HeroX challenge (you can view our guide on how to use the Updates section here or watch a screen-cast here). These Updates can be specific to the project or they can be composed of content more generally related to its subject area. You can view examples on the Save Them All Challenge.
In addition to using the Updates section, you'll want to regularly monitor your Forum for questions. You should get an email notification any time a new post is made, so be sure to respond to the poster within 24 hours.
5. Host a webinar: this can be used to recruit potential innovators as well as engage with those who have already signed up. In your webinar, you can talk about why you're running the challenge and give some more insight into the desired outcome. Be sure to review the judging criteria and submission form so everyone is clear on what they need to submit. Also, allow webinar attendees to ask questions at the end in case there's anything that is still unclear. You can post these questions into the FAQ section of your challenge page as well.