What Is Grassroots Advertising?

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Grassroots advertising occurs when promotional content is created by consumers.
Grassroots advertising occurs when promotional content is created by consumers. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Grassroots advertising is based in content created by customers who love a particular brand or product. They love it so much, they are willing to create testimonials that show off how to use the product and why its the best. Usually the testimonials are in video or written form. A company can harness the power of grassroots advertising by creating a central community where all users can talk about and submit user-generated content. The company can then use the best content as advertising collateral.

Definition

Use the power of grassroots advertising as a testament to the greatness of your company. All About Public Relations states that gaining grassroots momentum is all about getting your customers to advertise for you. This can be done by creating a community where consumers can talk to each other about your product. You can invite some users to meet with you in person, or you could create an online forum where everyone can talk to each other.

Examples

Ask the community to submit user-generated content if they enjoy using your product. For example, if you sell open source software, you can ask users to show off what they are creating with it. This allows the user to show off his work and also demonstrate a way to use your product to people who might not be aware of it. You can also create a website where users can submit homemade videos or blog posts talking about or showing off how they use your product. You can also allow users to submit t-shirt and other designs to a community store, where the best ones are made into actual products for purchase.

Viral

Promote some of the best user-generated content submitted to the community. CNET states that the holy grail for an advertiser is to have a user-submitted video go viral. MarketingTerms.com states that viral marketing is content that has a high share rate from person to person. Viral content is usually very humorous. If a user submits content that both shows off her ability to use your product well and also has the potential to go viral, give it a boost by putting some marketing dollars behind it. You might even re-create a high-quality version of it to be used as a commercial.

Measure

Measure the effectiveness of your grassroots advertising. You can record and analyze the number of visits to your user-generated content website, the amount of content uploaded to the site, the number of times the grassroots effort is mentioned in the media, the number of mentions of it on social networking sites, a spike in sales during the time the grassroots advertising campaign is taking place or an increase in brand awareness after the campaign ends. If a particular video or type of video goes viral, try to create similar videos in the future. If a particular user appears to be influential in the community, contact that users and discuss how he might be able to work for your company. Measure the campaign and repeat the tactics that work.

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