Eran Eyal has a strong track record behind his name in the entrepreneurial world. He is the co-founder of Evly, the world’s first crowdsourcing social network; as well as co-founder and CEO of design at Springleap, a crowdsourcing company aimed at empowering designers and making great merchandise. He is also a tech presenter on Cape Talk. Eran recently got the opportunity to share his wisdom at Tedx. Heavy Chef caught up with Eran to chat about crowdsourcing and when it is necessary for a business to change their strategy.
You feel strongly about walking away from a brand approach when it is not working. What should a business keep in mind when deciding whether to continue trying a new approach and when to drop it?
Absolutely. You’ll know. Much as the saying goes, smooth sailing does not a good sailor make. As such, one picks up on the ebb and flow of business. There are tell-tale signs. Firstly, the community or consumers constantly complain or ask for similar requests that are contrary to your position or offerings. Secondly, cash flow can constantly get tied up with stock that doesn’t move. Thirdly, all the suppliers you approach tell you that they cannot take on your work as it will cost them more to produce and it will be too much of a headache. And lastly, no matter how much marketing you throw at the product, you have no takers or the takers do not behave in the manner or have the fervor that you anticipated.
These are but a few of the tell-tale signs that a pivot may be necessary. Some pivots can actually be as subtle as a change on the homepage and the pitch you give. Others can be quite a bit more significant and change every aspect that stems from a core business model that needs serious reinventing or reinterpretation.
When do brands need to ignore ’stupidity of the masses’ and listen to ‘the glowing crowds’?
The real question is, what is the stupidity of the masses? What is the nature of the sea of mediocrity? From whence do these phenomena arise?
Generally the brand or brand custodian is responsible for not putting certain parameters or outlying a process well enough in a brief or plan. Take American Idol, for example. The crowd serves up the talent, shares and celebrates the talent and acts as a focus group to sift through the talent. Thereafter, a board with a keen understanding of commercial viability of that talent has a powerful say in the final choice.
Crowds often do not understand the concept of commercial viability or the ramifications of commercializing or actualizing the winner into product. That’s where seasoned professionals come in.
At Springleap we use the crowd to supply the design talent, popularize the brief, client, platform, themselves and their connections and then vote to help us decide which ones are the best choices. But at the end of the process the client or brand custodian has the final say with the Springleap team as a panel.
Tell us about iCanHazSocial. What is it about?
iCanHazSocial is a service Springleap launched at the end of 2011 as a result of pressure from brands in the social marketing space to consult around Facebook ad spend and social strategies.
Springleap grew its own Facebook group from 6,000 to 60,000 fans in only 10 weeks. From August 2011 to February 2012 we grew from 6,000 fans to 154,000 on a ludicrously low ad spend with an average conversion rate of 85 to 91 per cent.
In actuality, we discovered that a dynamic of the Facebook ad marketing engine is that you can actually get more conversions than clicks. Yep, over 100 per cent conversion. More likes than clicks. We get quite a lot of that on our ads. I guess that from running a company that is pretty much only crowdsourcing and social. We see the space in a different light which leads us to running very successful ad campaigns on Facebook.
Here are some screen shots from a couple of our ads that we run currently on Facebook, for more insight. The green line represents likes and the blue line represents clicks. We grow at about 1000 to 1500 likes a day now.
iCanHazSocial is a division of Springleap that manages client ad spend and strategy on Facebook and social platforms only. For SEO or Google Ad Words we refer clients to experts in those areas.
You have mentioned that community is what counts, no matter what technology you have. Being able to increase your Facebook community by 500 to 1000 people a day; what tips would you give other brands struggling to increase their online community?
You’re right on there. There are people with very small communities doing great things and achieving excellent results or profitability.
My tips are simple. First of all, stop talking about impressions and click-through rates. Talk conversion. Secondly, it’s not just the size of the community but the quality and consistency of the engagement. Also, 153,000 may sound big, but look at the guys from Motribe. Over 1 million users. How about Alan Knot Craig and the MXIT crew with 44 million users. We’re just enjoying what we’re doing, and letting others join in on the fun. That’s pretty much it.
Lastly, we have a pretty strong message powering our growth. We empower artists and brands. It’s that which supports the growth. Have a great story that’s authentic and that you’re passionate about. People love a good story. When they see one they like it and they tell their pals.
What do you consider to be the most important points to remember when it comes to online crowdsourcing?
The power of the crowds can turn against you if you don’t stay authentic and transparent. The best crowd is an engaged crowd. So engage them. It’s that simple. But engagement is a two way process. Be prepared to listen to what comes out of the engagement and act positively on that information to create more meaningful engagement.
One other matter. Don’t be arrogant or cocky. It will come back to bite you in the buns. All the stats and maths in the world can’t prepare you for the surprises the crowd has in store for you.
Thank you for sharing your lessons with us regarding crowdsourcing, Eran. We hope others can learn from this about building a brand utilising the power of crowds.
Follow Eran on Twitter here.