Forrester Research’s Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff wrote a fascinating novel that examines social media. “Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies” looks at how companies can harness the power of the groundswell.
The groundswell is “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.”
So everyone knows that companies are willing to shell out millions of dollars to run an ad on tv. Super Bowl Sunday is a prime example of this theory. But what do ads really accomplish? What if you could talk to your customers…
How do you talk to the groundswell?
1. Post a viral video.
George Wright and Blendtec put together the viral video “Will It Blend?” These videos advertise the product and reach a mass audience the even the Super Bowl can’t compare with. The company even has a “Will It Blog?” area to their website that allows customers to weigh in.
2. Engage in social networks.
Ernst & Young Careers page on Facebook allows college students to asks questions and get real answers and advice. The company takes time to respond to each comment posted on their wall. Students are exposed to traditional media, but they talk!
3. Join the blogosphere.
GM’s blog has loads of information on a variety of topics. Blogging can offer lots of different opportunities, so businesses have to decide their purpose for the blog. You can’t start a blog just to save costs and be successful. Most importantly, you need to use your blog to start and engage in conversation with your audience.
4. Create a community.
Companies that create and maintain a community can tap into the groundswell with incredible. First make sure your audience will join the community (see Social Techographics Profile). Proctor & Gamble targeted tween girls for feminine care products with the creation of beinggirl.com. Being Girl gave girls the chance to ask questions and get answers on questions they were too embarrassed to ask anyone else.
If you’re company is looking at social media and aiming to become part of the conservation, then simply start by talking to the groundswell!