How to Create a Social Media Buzz with Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing – enlisting your customers, followers and fans to help you innovate and improve – has made it easier than ever to create better marketing and customer service.

According to social media expert Mark Schaefer, there’s no better way to find the most effective solution: “You are going to get a radically more effective product,” he says, “because, literally, crowds of engaged people are getting involved, providing feedback, and producing finished content for you.”

According to a recent report from InSites Consulting, most social media users are willing to help – so what are you waiting for? Here are five inspirational examples from brands who’ve already taken the lead in social media crowdsourcing.

Starbucks: share, vote, discuss and see

My Starbucks Idea is the coffee corporation’s hub for customers to share and vote on ideas, discuss those ideas, and see them in action.  There’s a poll every day, a running list of ideas that have been implemented, and every hour, dozens more ideas pour in.

Starbucks also runs a Twitter page for its ongoing crowdsourcing campaign – a page that has over 35K followers. They engage those followers and drive interest and traffic to their crowdsourcing site by tweeting pictures of customer ideas in action, polling followers, offering deals and more.

Tip for your business: Create a home on Twitter for your campaign to get more people interested and involved.

Threadless’s New Artists campaign: a crowdsourcing hit with multiple winners.

Threadless’ crowdsourced contest goes viral

Threadless, a graphic t-shirt retailer, asked artists and graphic designers around the world to submit t-shirt designs for its crowdsourcing contest.  All winning submissions would receive $2,000, with those designs also being printed and sold.

Word about the contest spread fast as winners started being announced.  The t-shirt maker’s VP of Marketing, Cam Balzer, told Prescient Digital: “We’ve got this really amazing viral engine built in: designers telling designers, designers telling their friends, friends coming and scoring, friends telling their friends about this amazing t-shirt site they’ve found…and suddenly you grow from 100,000 members to in excess of 1,000,000 members.”

As it stands now, Threadless has over two million followers on Twitter, thanks in large part to this crowdsourcing campaign.

Tip for your business: A contest that produces multiple winners can help your crowdsourcing go viral.

DeAngelo Williams crowdsources his TD dance

DeAngelo Williams, running back for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, posted a video on his Facebook page personally asking fans to enter his touchdown celebration contest.  The contest required fans to submit a video of them doing the touchdown dance they’d like to see DeAngelo perform if he were to score in a preseason game.

The contest generated 192 submissions – like this one – 242 likes, and 37 shares. It also alleviated some of the stress of having to come up with an end zone celebration on his own.

Tip for your business: Make video a part of your crowdsourcing contest.

Mountain Dew makes innovation a Dewmocracy

This soda-maker’s crowdsourcing campaign lasted nearly three years. Mountain Dew started its Dewmocracy campaign in 2007 and ended it in 2010 with three new flavors – Distortion, Typhoon, and White Out – all hitting retail shelves.

During the campaign, Dew-drinkers were not only charged with dreaming up flavor combinations – but were also made a part of the marketing team.  A select number of fans worked hand-in-hand with Mountain Dew to name flavors, design the labels, and select the marketing and advertising agencies in charge of the launch. White Out, one of the flavors from Dewmocracy, is now a permanent part of Mountain Dew’s product line.

Tip for your business: Let your customers in on your marketing and graphic design, too.

Bon Iver releases a crowdsourced album

Folk band Bon Iver won a Grammy for its album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver. To build off its success, the band asked its fans to create remixes for the songs from the album, with the best re-creations compiled into a new, 10-track album available only on Spotify.

The band awarded $1,000 to the 10 winning creators – a small price to pay for the kind of fan engagement that saw over 3,000 likes on Facebook and 26 pages of comments on the band’s website.

Tip for your business: Crowdsourcing often works best when it amplifies what you’ve already achieved.

Need social media followers for a crowdsourcing idea? Attract them with Vocus Social Marketing.


Image: Theimpuslivebuy (Creative Commons)



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