Game-Changing Ideas Are Up for Grabs on Social Media

Why waste time trying to imagine what consumers want when their social feeds are telling you everything they think and feel 24/7?

For brands and businesses to stay at the top of their game now and in the future, innovation and speed to market are paramount, and ideas are the hottest commodity of all. Luckily, ideas are ripe for the picking on social media.

Design thinking made easy

Beyond mere marketing applications, social media is an enormous resource for this moment in time where consumers run the world. And make no mistake: They do. That’s why “design thinking” isn’t just a buzzword. An approach based on user-experience design is critical to delighting fickle consumers and keeping them loyal to your brand.

After all, they have a plethora of alternatives if they’re not satisfied with your offerings. And they’ll share far and wide anything they dislike about your products. The good news is, they’ll also share whatever they like.

Meeting and exceeding consumer expectations is job No. 1, which means that you need intel. Social media listening tools give you data from consumers “in the wild,” making your job that much easier. Why waste time trying to imagine what consumers want when their social feeds are telling you everything they think and feel 24/7? All you need to do is pay attention.

Recognizing worthwhile ideas

By the way, “game-changing” doesn’t have to mean an innovation along the lines of the iPhone. Sure, that’s great if you think of it, but an idea can be game-changing for your brand or category alone—it doesn’t have to change the world to matter.

No, the most important thing is that consumers love it—and that’s where social media sentiment monitoring comes in. All it takes is one person to have a great idea that improves your brand, but 10,000 people chiming in with “Yaaaasss!!!!” saves you the trouble of organizing a focus group to confirm that it’s worth pursuing.

Of course, not all ideas will get that kind of response, but that doesn’t make them worthless. Social consumers may not conceive a complete idea—instead, offering a nugget can act as a catalyst to something truly amazing when your design team gives it deeper thought. You can’t pursue every consumer suggestion on social media, but you shouldn’t ignore anything with a hint of potential, either.

Innovation requires organization

When you think about sourcing ideas from social media, it’s easy to understand why idea-management tools exist. Actually, no matter where your ideas are coming from, you need innovation-management software to ensure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle and that follow-ups happen on any ideas you do get up and running.

Automation has become a way of life—especially in business—and ideation and innovation efforts can also benefit from this technological assist. In fact, innovation is arguably the most important thing you can do for your business, so making it more manageable is super smart.

Consider the rate of change in mobile device technology alone. A single innovation—the smartphone—set off a chain of technology that continues to evolve. Early mobile phones included cameras and texting options, but now apps power everything, built-in phone cameras can do more than some traditional models and augmented and virtual reality capabilities are being introduced.

That’s to say nothing of tablets (which prompted laptops that convert to tablets), wearables and the internet of things.

The next best thing to is likely already out there, just waiting to be plucked from the ether. If you’re lucky enough to find it, you need to be ready to develop it and track its progress toward implementation. Maybe it’ll be an artificial intelligence innovation, a few years ahead of its time. Can you risk losing sight of an idea that could be a game-changer? Or wasting time on an idea that isn’t?

If the answer is no—and of course it is—it’s time to get organized and start harvesting all of the opportunities that social media has to offer. Marketing is only the tip of the iceberg.

Image courtesy of andresr/iStock.

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.