Social media has become an integral part any modern brand’s online presence. It is a valuable resource and tool that allows companies to connect with their fans and consumers while also acting as a publication platform for all sorts of branded content. The benefits of connecting with consumers are obvious: building relationships and trust in your brand and keeping your company top-of-mind when users start going through the buying cycle. Surprisingly, however, few brands view fans or followers as a resource.
Crowd-sourcing is a concept that encapsulates the values and practices of the social Web — or Web 2.0 if you like. Broadly speaking, crowd-sourcing refers to the practice of asking your followers and fans to submit their ideas, designs or original content as part of an initiative to increase interaction while also gaining valuable insight and even content to use in other areas of your brand’s marketing strategy. It’s a technique that not only stimulates engagement in a big way, but allows brands and publishers to reap the benefits and talents of their most loyal fans.
So what can crowd-sourcing really do for your brand and how should you go about setting up and implementing a crowd-sourcing campaign?
Starting the conversation
Social media is based on the concept of conversation or dialogue — brands can no longer afford to simply broadcast messages to consumers in a bid to gain their loyalty — consumers are now part of your brand and should be viewed as equals with whom interaction is key. Crowd-sourcing can take many forms and can be done for many different reasons. Many crowd-sourcing projects take the form of a competition where brands ask fans to contribute something of their own for a chance to win a prize. However, many other brands simply initiate crowd-sourcing because of its inherent ability to stimulate conversation about the brand and as a market research exercise.
For instance, a brand asks users to submit a video of themselves using a certain product or explaining what they like about it as part of a competition. Not only will the brand be receiving some great (free) content which can then be shared on other social media profiles or a company blog, it will also hear what real consumers think about the brand and what they would be willing to do while aligning themselves with that brand. Crowd-sourcing really is a fruitful, two-way game between brands and consumers where both receive different benefits and rewards.
Social media: the perfect space
Social media is without a doubt the perfect online space to initiate a crowd-sourcing project. The relaxed nature of the platform serves as the perfect place to engage followers and to entice them to join in. Because people are active on social networks every day, there are more opportunities for your brand to remind fans of your project as opposed to say, an e-mail campaign in which you can only invite users to a project once every few days or so. The viral element of social media is also a fantastic asset in helping your project to gain momentum. As more of your brand’s following shares their content or ideas, their friends will also become aware of your drive and will most likely join in. In the democratic, open source place that is the Web, crowd-sourcing through social media is something that any brand can give a go.
Social media is a rapidly growing phenomenon that has sparked interest from companies who wish to harness the power of this medium to drive their brands and businesses forward. Digital Fire knows and understands social media and we can help our clients achieve this goal. Contact us today for social media success http://www.digitalfire.co.za/contact/