You may have heard of crowdsourcing, but do you know what it is and how it can help your business? As TheSTreet.com explains, “Crowdsourcing is the practice of utilizing the wisdom of a group for a common goal.” It is essentially exactly like it sounds; you are sourcing information from a crowd instead of depending on one person to do all of the heavy lifting. Forms of crowdsourcing has been around for years, but people really started to see the benefits as the age of technology and social media began. Specifically when it comes to being a social media manager, crowdsourcing content means having others either write content for us or having them involved in the process.
Effective content crowdsourcing can benefit your brand by allowing another person’s point of view, bringing expertise to your articles and removing the need for you to write. These are significant benefits as it bring a level of skill to your brand as well as allows you to scale content production. There are many platforms a business can use to crowdsource content so various team members can collectively contribute to a project or task. Some of those platforms include Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Hubspot. A social media manager can use these platforms to schedule project tasks for various team members, helping to delegate the content curation throughout the team.
Another way that crowdsourcing can be used by a business is to have followers provide content. Curating content is generally free or inexpensive. It can also help current and potential customers become involved and invested in your product or service. When used correctly, crowd-created content can also be more valuable to consumers, as information provided by the public is often seen as more believable or trustworthy than marketing content. This is the same reason that social influencers are a great benefit to a brand, sometimes even more so than a celebrity’s support. People like to feel like they are hearing from a real every day person when it comes to brands.
One brand that had a really great crowdsourcing campaign is Lays. They started a campaign in 2014 called “Do us a Flavor”, where they asked their fans to come up the next potato chip flavor. People could submit their ideas as well as could vote on the suggestions, and the winner would get a one millon dollar prize. Not only did this campaign allow the brand to get some new fresh ideas for chip flavors, but it also created a ton of customer engagement. Fans suggested delicious ideas, crazy concoctions, as well as hilarious but very unreal options. Ultimately, in the first contest, Cheesy Garlic Bread beat out fellow finalists Sriracha and Chicken & Waffles, and Crispy Taco won the second contest. Yum!
Another brand that is totally winning at using crowdsourcing to its benefit is Airbnb. Airbnb is all about people opening their homes to travelers all over the world, so if it weren’t for the crowds there would be no Airbnb. This brand often has campaigns asking their fans to curate content for them. In 2015 , Airbnb partnered with crowdsource platform, eYeka. Together they created a campaign asking filmmakers from all over the world to create video content about the places they call home. The videos had to be 60 seconds long, and the winners win a share of 20, 000 euros. In 2013, Airbnb made social media history when it released the world’s first crowdsourced Vine. Hollywood & Vines incorporated footage from a hundred Vine users all tasked with filming individual shots that were compiled into a visual story about “travel, adventure and finding your place in the world.” The video was four minutes long, and generated nearly 350,000 YouTube views, and has been praised for its considerable creativity. From these campaigns, not only have Airbnb acquired millions of unique content that adds quality and authentic value to the brand, they’ve also saved themselves a substantial amount of money for marketing.
While crowdsourcing is not for every brand or situation, if you can come up with a way to make it work for your company, you will likely reap the benefits and have some very happy, engaged customers.