Some Great Examples of Facebook Crowdsourcing

CrowdsourcingThis week, Facebook released their second “Facebook Stories” video, this one highlighting the role the social media behemoth played in one ichthyologist’s (that’s the study of fish) efforts to identify certain species of fish he had recently encountered.

Brian Sidlauskas found over 5,000 species of fish on a trip to Guyana and when that nation’s immigration policy called for him to identify each specimen of fish he wanted to bring home, he turned to Facebook. Tagging various members of the scientific community in the photos he uploaded to Facebook, Sidlauskas was able to effectively identify most of the species in question.

It’s a great example of social media’s ability to help individuals or organizations crowdsource the answer to a difficult question. With this new edition of Facebook Stories in mind, let’s look at some other ways brands can follow Sidlauskas’ example and put Facebook crowdsourcing into action.

Choose a Good Cause

The Home Depot Foundation, the charitable wing of the retail giant, uses its “Aprons in Action” Facebook page to let their 62,000+ fans choose projects that will receive funding/volunteer work from Home Depot employees. This month for example, they are focused on Non-Profit Veterans’ organizations and the organization with the most votes gets $25,000, with the other three finalists all collecting a minimum of $5,000.

Develop a New Product

Earlier this summer, Lay’s rolled out their “Do us a Flavor” campaign. The initiative asked their over 5 million Facebook fans to help them develop a new flavor of potato chip. The person who submits the winning flavor, as chosen by the Lay’s team, wins $1 million. After accessing the “Do Us a Flavor” Facebook app, users can name their flavor, pick its ingredients, and share it. Lay’s has even enlisted the help of Food Network regular Michael Symon and actress Eva Longoria to help promote the campaign. The contest is still running with the finalists set to be announced on January 15, 2013.

Let Your Audience Choose Their Content

Last year, MSNBC had two seasons of its popular prison documentary series Lockup ready to air. One season was set in Boston, the other in Tampa. They turned to Facebook and allowed fans of their Lockup page to decide which season of the series would make it to air. No flashy graphics or applications needed this time. They simply used one of the social network’s own built in features, a Facebook poll.

Find Your Next Spokesperson

Blue jean giant Levi’s has used Facebook twice now to help find their next “Levi’s Girl”, the online voice of the brand’s women’s clothing line. Videos were to be submitted to the brand’s Facebook page with the Levi team selecting five finalists. Those finalists then faced a vote from the Levi’s online fan community with the winner heading to San Francisco for a six month stint as the “Levi’s Girl.” Her duties would include helping to manage Levi’s social media presence including tweeting from the (now terminated) @TheLevisGirl Twitter handle.

Are there any other notable examples of brands utilizing crowdsourcing to drive more Facebook engagement? We even did it yesterday to gather thoughts on who owns social media.

(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on September 13, 2012.)

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