Talking with the Groundswell

Hello everyone,

Last week we went through the major process identified in Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (available for purchase here). Remember the POST process and its objectives? (It’s been a long week and I forgive you, review it here). Well we already looked at the objective listening (previous blog here), and now we’re looking at talking. This tactic uses the groundswell to spread messages online. Marketing has been largely aimed with talking at their market, talking to the groundswell is aimed at talking with, by creating and encouraging two-way discussion.

The figure at the top of the screen shows a traditional marketing funnel. A funnel that herds consumers down a path from awareness to purchase and loyalty (Bernoff & Li, 2011). However, the authors note that the groundswell is changing this traditional process. A shift in consumerism has marketers no longer dictating the paths of consumers. People are learning from each other, through the groundswell. Online reviews, instant word-of-mouth, discussion forums, etc. all influence users in the middle of the marketing funnel and can drastically alter outcomes.

Authors Bernoff and Li (2011) outline the four most common methods for talking with the groundswell.

  1. Post a viral video
    Organizations can pursue online videos for a variety of goals. To boost sales, build relationships, etc. The goal should be to create a conversation through a video, and use it as a mechanism to link people to social networks, blogs, etc. to allow further interaction with customers.
  2. Engage in social networks & user-generated content sites
    Ah yes, social networks, we’re all on them aren’t we? One? Two? Five? And we’ve seen the expansion of business presence over social media. Many companies have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as a tool to talk with the groundswell. Use the Social Technographics Profile to see where your customers are. If they are joiners social networks are a likely a good communication tool.
    Remember the  example we did for the Canadian tech company hiring young talent? (You can refresh your memory here.) Our target market was joiners. Creating conversation about job postings over social networks can reach a wide market. Encouraging job-related questions and responding to encourage two-way conversation can attract the talent you may be searching for.
  3. Join the blogosphere
    socnet-05
    Blogging. (Glasbergen, 2006). Retrieved from here.

    Now I know you all probably assume I went through years of training at the Global Blog Institute to create a blog like this but the truth is, the task of creating and managing a blog is not as daunting as you may think. Blogs can be used to increase awareness of your organization, update consumers frequently, listen through comments, and stimulate discussion (Bernoff & Li, 2011). Because blogging is personal, no one should be forced to blog, instead, it should be someone who wants to engage in dialogue. Authors suggest prior to starting a blog, consider the P and of the POST Method (found in my last weeks blog here). Your people and objectives – if you know whom you want to reach and exactly what you want to accomplish, it’s far more likely to succeed (Bernoff & Li, 2011).

  4. Create a community 
    If you are interested in creating an online community, look to see whether your market really is a community or has the potential to be one (Bernoff & Li, 2011). Then look to see what communities are already out there for your market. What would your competition be? And do not create a community if you cannot support it through maintenance, new content, new features, etc.

A shift from traditional marketing to talking with a groundswell in like the transition from shouting to pleasant conversation. The bombardment of television ads have been replaced with online review forums. It creates dialogue and two way conversation through comments and feedback that organizations can listen to, and hopefully be proactive with. Here’s what authors noted about talking to the groundswell.
“Even as technologies change, the basic conversational nature of those technologies will remain central. If you learn to talk, listen, and respond, you’ll master the middle of the funnel” (Bernoff & Li, 2011, 126)

So where do companies reach you the most online? Where do you wish they reached you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks!

Taylor

Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard.

Featured Image: Marketing Funnel.  Retrieved from here

 

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