One of the best examples of advertising and marketing from this year’s Super Bowl was the campaign Pepsi ran to crowd-source the halftime show. Every day, Pepsi posted a different challenge to the public for submitting a photo that could be used in the Super Bowl halftime show. Whether you posed with sunglasses and a sparkler, or with your hands reminiscent of the hands on a clock, every person that entered this contest waited on the edge of their seats to see if they indeed made the Super Bowl commercial.

Heck, I entered the contest with at least ten photos, and told all of my friends that they should look for me on the commercial. Alas, I was not chosen (as best I could tell). The commercial was rapid-fire, and Pepsi has offered a frame-by-frame breakdown so entrants can check if they made the cut.You can check here.

Every year (for the past several years), Doritos has also crowd-sourced their Super Bowl Commercials.  Oreo is inviting inventors to craft high-tech Oreo separators. We see crowdsourcing every day in our online interactions. Whether it is judging where you eat based on Yelp reviews, or choosing your next television from Amazon rankings, peers factoring into the decision-making process has become a frictionless part of daily online activity.

Why is the Pepsi example so compelling? Pepsi capitalized on the core of why social media marketing works.

It’s simple: people want to see themselves. People want to be seen. And people want to know their opinions matter. Pepsi’s crowd-sourced halftime show covered all of these elements, and packaged them into a sharable video. Nearly 100,000 photos were submitted through Pepsi’s website, and the commercial was seen by over 100 million viewers. It stands to reason that the people that submitted the 100,000 photos likely told their friends and family about the possibility that they are on a Super Bowl commercial, and the advertisement went instantly viral from word-of-mouth.

Businesses of all sizes can use this approach in social media campaigns. Facebook allows businesses the option to have photos, videos and posts shared by users on their wall. Pinterest allows for the creation of shared community boards that users can pin to and comment on. Twitter is an inherently open experience. Social Media is all about being social. Simply offering the avenue to submit pictures, posts and more can greatly enhance a brand image, and truly embrace the social experience of social media. Ask your audience, and incentivize it, and you can get your brand in front of exponentially more people.

Consider the viral impact of having your fans and followers sharing to your social media pages, and in turn, to their pages/feeds by association. Find a way to harness these interactions, and you can truly make an impact!