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Crowdsourcing – Outsourcing Social Media Style

August 24, 2010 | By | No Comments

Courtesy Jeff Howe

Crowdsourcing – Outsourcing Social Media Style

Social media is transforming business. It’s changed the way we communicate, the way we market, and, now, it’s changing the way we access ideas and creativity. Crowdsourcing is a rising trend in social media. This term, which was coined by Wired‘s Jeff Howe, describes entities that asks the masses—not employees—to contribute products, services, or ideas.

Think Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia is written entirely by contributors, some of whom are experts and some who are not. Is the info accurate? According to studies by the journal Nature and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, the crowdsourced site is as accurate as traditionally-sourced material, such as Encyclopedia Britannica or peer-reviewed websites.

In business, stock image site iStockphoto is built around the crowdsourcing model. They don’t employ a team of artists to produce stock images. Instead, artists contribute illustrations and photos as well as audio and video files to the site. Clients purchase the content through the site, and the artist receives a royalty.

Today, innovative companies are leveraging the power of the crowd to bolster their social media strategy. For example, Doritos famously crowdsourced their Super Bowl ad campaign when it asked consumers to create and submit ads for the brand. The user-generated content has become a Super Bowl viewer favorite, generating the kind of publicity that’s a PR pro’s dream.

If you’re thinking about adding crowdsourcing to your social media strategy, here are two quick tips:

  • Set goals – This is sound business practice for any new project. By setting goals that define what you want to achieve, you’ll avoid investing time and resources into a project that goes nowhere.
  • Promote, promote, promote – Whether you’re looking for the next gotta-have t-shirt design or a new feature for the latest software update, the ideas won’t start flowing until you promote the project. So gear up those blogs, tweets, and updates to let customers know that you want to hear their great ideas.

From social media monitoring to online reputation management, a comprehensive social media strategy is multi-layered—perhaps it’s time to consider what crowdsourcing can contribute. Contact Social Strategy1 to find out how their team will help you plan and execute a brand-building strategy.

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