The rise of social media transformed brands from broadcasters into community managers. Brands talk to fans, and fans talk back. In the best cases, brands listen and use these opportunities to grow conversations. This trend grew into crowdfunding and crowdsourcing—where brands asked fans to “back” projects financially or to participate in decisions—and the momentum isn’t stopping.

Influencers using the livestream service Twitch and similar platforms now give fans the power to directly impact what happens in their streams. In the case of Twitch, viewers can add monsters or items to a game in real time to change how their favorite streamer has to play. Even if your brand is not using livestreams yet, this level of fan engagement is likely to catch on, which means that your customers will expect more agency in their relationship with your business.

Here’s what you can do today:

  • Revisit the foundation of your brand engagement. Where and how are you listening to fans? Are you giving them a voice?
  • Highlight community feedback. If one of your customers gives you a worthwhile insight, put their face on a piece of your marketing and highlight their involvement to show fans you listen and also to motivate fans to engage even more.
  • Experiment with crowd participation. On a small scale, see how your fans react to livestreams or crowdsourcing campaigns. You will learn what motivates your fans and how you can do more of those things.

Crowd involvement is an exciting avenue of marketing as it means deeper relationships with your customers. What are you doing to lead the way?