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Carolyn Edgecomb

By Carolyn Edgecomb

Oct 4, 2013


Social Media Marketing
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Social Media Marketing

5 Brands Effectively Implementing Social Media Crowdsourcing

Carolyn Edgecomb

By Carolyn Edgecomb

Oct 4, 2013

5 Brands Effectively Implementing Social Media Crowdsourcing


5 Brands Effectively Implementing Social Media CrowdsourcingWhen I say crowdsourcing, what comes to your mind?

I'll let you think for a moment.

Most of you probably assume that it has something to do with business and that it's a jargony word that you know nothing about.

It's actually simpler than you might think. According to the Oxford Dictionary the word is defined as obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.

Just a little trivia; crowdsourcing previously wasn't included in the dictionary. It was just added to the 2013 version.

Here's a little lesson in crowdsourcing, the term was actually coined in 2006 by Jeff Howe, so the term and concept isn't relatively new, but it's not something that you see every brand implementing.

To break the concept into something that's easier to understand, Jeff Howe described crowdsourcing as the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

Social media has made crowdsourcing extremely easy.

In the digital age, it's no longer about telling your audience what to see, do, etc. It's more about letting your audience discover.

Use crowdsourcing and social media to give your audience and customers the opportunity to talk and actively engage with your brand.

Implementing Crowdsourcing

Did you know that you could actually turn your customers into brand advocates by getting them involved and engaged? And, there is no better way than with crowdsourcing. Get them involved in the process.

Show them that they're important by making them feel special and including them.

If this is your first time hearing about crowdsourcing you might be wondering how you can implement it into your social media marketing strategy. Don't fear, I am here to help.

You can implement crowdsourcing on social media by talking to your audience, holding a contest, asking for their input.

Their Feedback

Ask your audience and fans for their feedback. Your audience won't lie to you. They will tell you exactly how they feel about your brand, a certain product or some other element.

Don't just post something that says:

"We'd love to know what you think about our company. Feel free to leave a comment below."

I'm not sure about you, but I don't think that the post will get much engagement at all. It will be quickly overlooked. Consider asking open-ended questions that gauge their interest and make them want to participate.

Contests & Giveaways

Who doesn't love contests?

The first thing that most people ask when they hear that a brand is holding a contest or giveaways is what will they be able to win.

Unfortunately, it's oftentimes about the incentive you're able to provide them with. But don't let that keep you from asking your audience for their help.

Your company can use crowdsourcing to help you develop your next "big" product.

Let Them Help You Create an Ad

People love taking part in something that's bigger. They also love to participate. Include them in your next commercial or video marketing campaign.

It doesn't just have to include your audience taking photos of themselves, you can include their input, Vines, and Instgrams into your campaign.

It's all about asking them for their feedback and input.

How 5 Brands are Implementing Crowdsourcing

1. Porsche

I don't know about you, but I definitely won't be able to afford a Porsche anytime soon. The company also realized that the same thinking about to a significant percentage of their fans.

So here's an idea, why don't you let them help design the ultimate fan car? If you're thinking the same thing, they already did. The campaign started in February, the company headed to social media to ask their fans for help.

"The campaign started on Feb. 4 with Porsche asking "the best expert panel in the world: our fans" to choose an exterior color. The post resulted in nearly 16,000 likes and 1,200 comments, with Aquablue Metallic winning the most fan support.

In the weeks following, Porsche fans were also able to take part in customizing the wheel, the exterior package and the interior.

Now you might be wondering what the fans actually get from this. That's a great question.


The fan built car was released on August 2, 2013. The company released the product by posting photos of the car to their Facebook page.

If you're a die-hard fan, the contest is already closed, but Porsche asked their fans to show them how many public Porsche fans they have in their friend lists. The user with the highest number of Porsche Facebook fans would win the trip. 

If you're wondering what the trip was, Porsche was offering one fan and one of their friends the chance to get behind the wheel of the car they helped design.


Now before you start saying, "What!" Let me explain.

I'm not sure if you've heard but yesterday, Snapchat announced Snapchat Stories. The social network says that it's a totally new way to share your day with friends - or everyone.

But it's also something that brands can take advantage of.

To launch the new feature, Snapchat took snaps and videos from users to promote it.

Checkout the video:

Now this might not exactly be a typical crowdsourcing example. I am trying to make a point. Snapchat might be something you're brand might want to include in your social media marketing strategy.

Even though these snaps are only available for 24 hours, this is significantly longer than the maximum of 10 seconds, and it can be a way for your audience to engage with you during an event.

Is anyone else thinking about this as a great way to showcase photos taken during Inbound 14? Just something to think about.

3. Mountain Dew

I don't I know one person who hasn't at least heard of this campaign. Who wouldn't want to use their audience and fans to help name the next new Mountain Dew flavor.

Mountain Dew Dewmocracy

In 2007, this was all everyone was talking about, "Dewmocracy." What flavor nation where you part of?

The campaign asked fans to choose the product’s flavor, color, name and graphics. As many as one million fans participated in the process; with the result being Voltage, a citrus charged beverage that was released in 2009.

They didn't just stop at one campaign. Mountain Dew also announced a second campaign in 2009. This time the company asked their passionate fans to use social media to vote on the criteria for the product.

4. Samuel Adams

If you're a beer lover, you were most likely a fan of Sam Adams Facebook app that allowed you to crowdsource a beer.

Samuel Admas

The campaign was launched last year, allowing their fans to choose among various beer characteristics, including color, clarity, body, hops and malt. The attributes that got the greatest response would be used to create a "collaborative ale."

Budweiser also used social media crowdsourcing to help choose which commercial would be aired during the Super Bowl in 2010.

5. The Democratic Travelers

Have you heard about this couple? I don't know about you, but I hate visiting a new place and having no idea where to go, what to do and places the locals recommend.

I hate leaving a city feeling like I didn't fully appreciate all it had to offer.

So what if your next vacation was partially dictated by someone else?

Now I know this technically isn't a company, but I knew I had to include them. It's just one example of using social media and your audience to partially dictate part of your campaign or product.

Be sure to check out John Ellis and Laura Preston, "The Democratic Travelers." A New York couple, who are traveling across America and stopping at a variety of locations based on suggestions left by their audience on their website and social media.

Think about it this way ... when getting ready for a trip, there are always those people who have already been there telling you to checkout XYZ. They made it easier for themselves by creating their own site to capture all of that information.

If you're going to travel across the country you might as well do it right.

Are there other crowdsourcing campaigns you can think of? Let me know which one is your favorite.

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