How to crowdsource killer merch designs on social media

In Creator success, Design tips, Insights by Danielle Pederson December 27, 2023

If you want to succeed as a creator, then learning how to tap into your fans’ desires is key. By crowdsourcing design ideas for your products–meaning, asking your fans what designs they want you to make, rather than just anything you think up on your own–you’re not just crafting merch; you’re building a direct connection with your audience.

By giving your fans a voice in the creative process, you’re not only launching products they genuinely desire but also increasing the odds of success. It’s a win-win strategy that transforms your passion into profits while making your fans feel like cherished collaborators in your creative journey.

But first, let’s dive into what crowdsourcing exactly is. Simply put, it’s the process of collecting ideas and/or content with the assistance of input from a large number of people (your fans) on a topic of your choice. Once you’ve collected those ideas, you can use that info to develop products and refine your marketing strategy.

Now, let’s explore some ways to leverage crowdsourcing.

Understanding Your Fans’ Needs & Wants through Social Media

Crowdsourcing is your chance to learn what your fans are all about – their buying habits, what they’re into, what they love, you name it. And the fastest way to get all these deets? Social media, baby!

How to Crowdsource on Social Media:

1. Understand Your Squad: Social Media Style

First things first, to sell effectively, you gotta understand who your followers are. What are they interested in and what do they enjoy? This is key to creating merch that they’ll actually want to buy.

For example, if you’re a gamer and play mostly first person shooting games, your followers will likely be interested in merch with gaming phrases like “I paused my game to be here.” They would also be more interested in specific products, such as a desk mat.

If you don’t already know the main interests of your followers, try the following:

📊 Polls & Surveys

Use Instagram polls, Twitter surveys, and Facebook questions to get a quick read on their likes and dislikes.

🤳 Stories & DMs

Share stories asking for feedback or slide into those DMs for a more personal touch.

2. Design idea campaigns

Drop a post asking your fans for their help. Announce you’re looking for fresh merch ideas and watch your comments section light up.

Ask followers to comment with their design ideas or themes they’re crazy about and create a unique hashtag for your campaign to make it easy to track all the suggestions.

3. Analyzing What’s Hot

Keep an eye on which ideas are getting the most love. Likes, shares, comments – they’re all clues to what your fans are really into.

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have built-in analytics. Use them to see which ideas are trending among your audience.

4. Feedback Loop

Once you’ve got a bunch of ideas, throw some sketches or mockups back at your followers. This is where you get to say, “Hey, look what we made together!”

Then let your fans vote on their favorite designs. It’s like having a focus group without the stuffy room and clipboards.

5. Bonus Tips to Amp Up Your Crowdsourcing Game

  • Collabs with Micro-Influencers: Team up with influencers who vibe with your audience. They can provide insights and amplify your reach.
  • Creative Contests: Launch a design contest with a cool prize. It’s a fun way to get loads of ideas and engage your community.
  • Storytime Highlights: Share stories of fans wearing your merch. It’s a solid way to build community and get real-life feedback.
  • Q&A Sessions: Host live Q&A sessions on your socials. It’s like a digital hangout where you can ask about preferences and trends.

6. Launching Your Fan-Approved Merch

When you’re ready to drop your new line, create a hype train on all your channels. Remember, this is a celebration of your community’s ideas!

Offer exclusive deals for your social media fam. It’s a sweet way to thank them for their help.

By following these steps, you’re not just making merch. You’re creating a movement where your fans are the co-creators. This not only ups the chances of your merch flying off the virtual shelves but also strengthens the bond with your audience. It’s all about making them feel like they’re part of your creative universe. So go on, get out there, and start crowdsourcing like a boss!