I recently read two articles here on Business2Community that spoke about engaging the services of celebrities to advertise brands. Both articles presented excellent arguments and tips on how to do this. I’m here to look at a complementary type of marketing called crowd marketing. Crowd marketing is when you take the “celebrity” idea and focus it down to a key viral influencer, and combine it with aspects of viral marketing. You can look at a post like this one on Huffington Post where the “Identifying Subject Matter Experts” explains more about viral influencers.

A definition of crowd marketing

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 3.58.10 PMCrowd marketing is a marketing technique which connects businesses with important influencers who are already speaking with a chosen target market. This helps businesses eliminate the step of having to build up their own social media followers all on their own by borrowing some of the viral influencers notoriety – just like you do with a celebrity. The difference is that with many celebrity endorsement deals a company will pay big money to speak with a small part of their target market. For example, you pay a famous baseball player to endorse your new smartphone because they have fans. You reason that a percentage of those fans will want a new smartphone. You pay baseball player money, but you don’t get a home run every time. The principle of crowd marketing is about having a higher ROI by getting around the scattershot approach of celebrity endorsement. The focus is on the viral influencers who have already connected to your target market. A crowd marketing campaign that is focused can be cheaper as you’re not paying for home runs, you’re paying for a small and relevant audience.

What are other crowd marketing uses?

Crowd marketing takes cues from the Google Pagerank concept by doing social optimization. By building connections with relevant influencers, your influence and worth rises too. You can use crowd marketing effectively on:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • SoundCloud
  • Twitter

You will start to see your shares, likes, retweets, engagement, views, and other social signals increase as these viral influencers begin mentioning your company and content.

How do you find the key influencers in your niche?

The long way is to find these people yourself  by researching your followers, contacting them, and working on sorting who will actually work with you. The hours you put into this will add up, so get organized:

The black dot in the middle is your viral influencer.
The black dot in the middle is your viral influencer.
  1. Look through your current followers on any of your social media platforms.
  2. Track commonly found influencers that they follow.
  3. Out of the common influencers found, look at who amongst them has a platform and audience relevant to you.
  4. Begin speaking with these influencers and see who will actually work with you, and what they want to do so.

This will be a time consuming process, with no guarantees that everyone you find is ready to work with you. The same can be said for celebrities as well, but we’re working on a smaller scale here so demands on resources will be lower overall. You would also be wise to start contacting your brand evangelists. These are people who follow you and freely promote your content, products, and social platforms. While they can be great viral influencers, be aware of the fact that they may already be speaking with your target market – preaching to the choir, you could say.

How to move forward with your crowd marketing campaign

There is the option of going it alone, as many others have before. You will need to examine whether or not you have the skill to find your viral influencers and persuade them to work with you, and if you even have the time to do all that.

For a celebrity, you wouldn’t show up at the baseball diamond and start pestering them at the plate to sign on with you, you’d go through their agent – you’d go to an expert. This is a step that we offer at Viral Tactic.

Whether you choose to go it alone, or hire on some assistance, you’ll need to do get your best content ready, and get it to those viral influencers who will spread it quickly amongst your target audience.

Totally awesome mid 90s crowd surfer from Wikimedia Commons.
Crowd photo by James Cridland.
Viral influencer graphic from Title graphics.