By now you probably had heard of the term "crowdsourcing" (more fun than outsourcing, less fun than crowdsurfing), but did you see this mindblowing article from Cracked on examples of things crowds do better than experts? I had to reevaluate my opinion of all the dudes who spent most of their time playing "Halo" in their dorm rooms freshman year.
Ok, so we as social marketers may not be fighting pirates or carrying out life-changing scientific research, but there are plenty of ways we, too, can use crowdsourcing to achieve far more than we could on our own. Here are a few examples of crowdsourcing at work in the social media realm.
1) Disguising the usual boring call-to-action within an interactive game can drive increased participation and generate invaluable social exposure for causes and charities. To aid fundraising efforts following the March 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan, game guru Zynga partnered with non-profit Save the Children and integrated user donations into their game interfaces. Were social gamers on board? Well, in approximately 36 hours of launching the donation game features Zynga had raised a cool $1 million. The Zynga campaign even grabbed the attention of Lady Gaga, who personally contributed $1.5 million. Now that's social media for social good.
2) Developing win-win partnerships enables companies and/or individuals to combine their strengths for often a fraction of cost and with many symbiotic benefits. Scenario: You need a creative video that really steps outside what your brand has done before, and you need it in under 2 months and on a tight budget. Answer: have your pick from dozens of entries through PopTent, which hosts your project's assignment and gathers submissions from videographers, animators, and other filmmakers. It's a win-win situation where companies have their selection from truly creative work, and creators can build their portfolios through a focused project while having a shot at getting chosen and - also important - getting paid.
3) Crowdsourcing across multiple platforms boosts your campaign's reach and overall engagement. Upping the ante from inviting fans to create their next donut, Dunkin' Donuts utilized Facebook and Pandora to promote their icy Coolatta drinks. The campaign integrated two popular social media channels by inviting their fans to use Facebook to contribute their favorite summer jam to a Coolatta summer music station featured on Pandora. Dunkin' Donuts' message of "mixology" came through loud and clear on both platforms and held consumer attention by generating conversation about music, summer, and kicking back with a cool drink on a hot day.
As you can see, the most skillful social marketing taps the collective power and creativity of its followers by appealing to our natural tendencies to play, be creative, and communicate about things we enjoy. The most successful campaigns take this strategy one step further by integrating social sharing into the very framework of the campaign. If it's engagement we're after, crowdsourcing can be surefire way to get folks in on the conversation.
Please feel free to share any other cool uses of crowdsourcing in the comments. And if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to FrontierVille.
- Melissa Komadina