The power of crowdsourcing in social media campaigns

Crowdsourcing is a powerful tool for influencer campaigns because it drives participation, it generates content and achieves higher levels influencer engagement.

Although commonly thought of as raising funds for an idea or project (which is crowdfunding), crowdsourcing in social media campaigns can include activities such as running competitions with fans to come up with a new ice cream flavour, find loyal fans to help take part in filming a brand’s new ad campaign or asking for fan images to build out a brand’s Facebook page.

How is crowdsourcing powerful for social media campaigns?

  1. Crowdsourcing drives participation To influence influencers you have to be influential yourself, which means using the technology and techniques available to gain audience participation. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to be called upon, as a consumer, to participate in a brand’s new marketing campaign – whether it be to design a bar (Jack Daniels, Australia) or help create a new soft drink flavour for Pepsi, for example. We frequently see calls to action from brands on social media. Social media has fostered a community based on participation, and we now expect to be able to interact with the brands we use every day, and smart brands are responding.
  2. Crowdsourcing generates content Crowdsourcing for brands is an excellent content generator – and it’s all about the content! You can tap into your audience’s knowledge and creativity – after all, if they’re a fan of your brand, they’ll know the brand almost as well as you. It’s content that you can use on your channels – social, television commercials and so on. But it’s important you don’t exploit your fans’ loyalty and creativity – look to ask fans to participate with the brand in a way that will produce interesting, meaningful and relevant content, but don’t just ask them to ‘create our new television ad!’ It’s important to identify what’s in it for them and what they’ll get out of it. One example of this is Vanish powder’s The Tip Exchange – the brand has built a website and Facebook page based entirely upon an exchange between fans of stain removal tips. As fans are familiar with how to use the product, they can easily share tips with other fans, helping other Vanish users and creating great content for the brand.
  3. Crowdsourcing drives higher levels of influencer engagement Crowdsourcing also works to make your audience feel more connected to your company or brand. Our favourite subject is ourselves, and we love to feel as though we’ve contributed to the greater good. By asking fans to participate in a project, you invite them and their ideas in, making them feel appreciated and heard. Plus, fans will get a real kick seeing the project come to fruition knowing they had a part to play, deepening the brand-audience connection and loyalty. A great example of this is using user-generated content on a brand’s Facebook page – fans get excited seeing their content shared on the page, and they’re more likely spend longer on your page enjoying the images they and other fans have contributed.

For a long time, communications worked in a very one-way style – a brand would put out a marketing campaign devised through internally led-focus groups. Now, we’re seeing much more of a crowd-focus in communications.

Crowdsourcing is a powerful tool for social media campaigns because it drives participation, content and engagement, ultimately strengthening the connection between brands and audiences.