How To Crowdsource Answers Using LinkedIn and Aardvark [VIDEO] (Updated)

[Update 6/5/2010: Added captions (English) to the video, click on the “CC” popup button on the bottom right of video. I also added a transcript of the video to the end of the blog post.]

Have you ever tried using Google to find answers to complex and niche business questions? I have, but sometimes the questions are so specific that they require custom answers from an expert. When that happens, I turn to my secret weapons, LinkedIn and Aardvark (Vark.com).

In this video, I’ll show you how to use the one-two punch of LinkedIn and Aardvark to get answers to tough questions from an army of experts in a matter of minutes.

I skipped over some of the nuances of using each tool so I included some best practices for using each network at the end of this blog post.



LinkedIn

This Question was posted on LinkedIn under the “Internet Marketing” category.

Crowdsourcing Answers with LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s Q&A feature allows users to post questions by category then allow LinkedIn members to answer them. Members usually provide rich and in-depth responses because they care about the subject and also to share some of their expertise.

Results
As of May 26th, 2010, the question has received 13 high quality responses. The answers started rolling in shortly after it was posted.

Learning Points

  • The Question should be brief and clear with personal side to it.
  • If you’re going to eventually blog about a Question, mention that in the Question. Most people love being mentioned in blog posts. It’s great for PR and further establishes the responder as a topic expert.
  • Follow up on each and every response. On this Question, I communicated with each responder via LinkedIn’s private message system. I asked follow up questions and requested permission to use the response on my blog post.
  • The Q&A process is also a great opportunity to connect with responders and add them to your LinkedIn network. I often extend an invitation to responders.
  • LinkedIn responses usually provide amazing feedback on difficult questions.
  • This is a link to my LinkedIn profile. Check it out and let’s connect.

Aardvark

This is the question I posted to Aardvark.com.

Aardvark Question- Presenting the Benefits of Social Media to Your Boss

You may not have heard of Aardvark. Aardvark is a crowdsourcing Q & A site. I first heard about it via technologist Robert Scoble (@scobleizer on Twitter). To use Aardvark, you have to sign up and become part of the Q & A community. To ask a question, you just go to vark.com, login, and submit your question. Aardvark figures out the related category then emails potential responders that have expertise in that field.

Results

  • The question received four highly relevant and almost immediate responses. That’s the main forte of Aardvark – you get answers fast.

Learning Points

  • Make sure the question is brief and to the point. When people receive the response, they will most likely make up their minds in a second as to whether or not they are going to respond. If they have to figure out the question, they’ll be less likely to respond.
  • While Aardvark provides rapid responses, it limits the number of responses. There is a “resubmit” feature though.
  • I communicated with each person that responded and asked for permission to mention their response in the blog post. This is a great way to extend the conversation and get more helpful information.
  • CAUTION: I’ve only used the Q&A feature a couple of times and I did not realize that the conversation was all posted online. Make sure you review your privacy settings and be careful what information you transmit.

Video Transcript

[Music]
Hi, this is Jesse Luna with jesseluna.com
and today I’m going to show you how to use LinkedIn
and Aardvark to do advanced Internet research

Let’s go ahead and get started with LinkedIn.
I’m logged into my LinkedIn account.
Now I’m going to go up to the "More" tab
and select "Answers."
This is where all the magic happens. You can go and
your question from here
or you can drill based on
a category.
Let’s take a look at the "Web Development" area.

These are some questions that were recently asked by other people on LinkedIn.
We’re going to ask our own question
so we click on the "Ask A Question" link.

We can then go and put a compelling question, something that
appears very actionable,
that will attract people to come and
put their thoughtful replies to.
And then you can add details.

Another important feature is to make sure that
you are located in the correct category. That
will make it easier for people to answer your
question if its in the uh correct category.
That will make it easier for people to
answer your question
uh if it’s in the correct category

Let’s take a look at a question that I did before.
This question was in preparation for a blog post
and I asked for help with presenting benefits
of social media to your boss.

I received thirteen answers, you can see here,
great information. Perfect for a blog post.

Now let’s go onto the next tool
and that’s Aardvark.
Aardvark is a very a very simple
system to use.
So let’s look take a look and see at one of the questions
that I did before.

Go up to "History", "Questions that you’ve asked"
and let’s see that same one that I did on LinkedIn.
I double-dipped I did the question on LinkedIn and also did the same question on Aardvark.

Here’s the question,
I mentioned that I was working
on a blog post on presenting social media to a boss
and to executives
and
I received four answers.

Great information,
first person accounts. These are people who are really
uh out there doing this in the industry.
Great for research.

I wanted to present these
two tools to you and hopefully those are
uh of use. Once again, this is Jesse Luna
and we just learned how to use
LinkedIn and Aardvark to do advanced Internet Research.

Thanks.
[music]

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One Response to How To Crowdsource Answers Using LinkedIn and Aardvark [VIDEO] (Updated)

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