Want to increase your business success threefold? Tap into Groundswell. According to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff a 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.
Social technologies are enabling tools, so forget technology for a moment and ask yourself "Why do I want to be participating in the groundswell?" "What are my customers ready for?" and "What are my objectives?" In other words, do a POST and figure out the:
- People - before you start, find out your customers' Social Technographics Profile. Go ahead and build one for your customers here. For example, are they online at all, are they inactive? This is a question we asked at a recent panel discussion on social media. If they are online, what is their level of participation? Are they creators, joiners, critics, collectors, or spectators?
- Objectives - what are you trying to do? As you answer this question, bear in mind that with social technologies and dialogue, talking and energizing or otherwise tapping into the groundswell can and may lead to generating sales while the actions and dynamics that get you there are very different from a direct marketing or integrated marketing campaign. The missing link - listening - is built-in here.
- Strategy - you're a good business person so you know that in order to know if you've gotten where you wanted to go, you need to figure out up front what changes and how you're going to measure the distance between destination and where you are. To map that course, define what change means to you - more engagement, better testimonials? Change in customer behavior will also mean change in how your organization or business serves your customer base. Address that, too.
- Technology - now that you've done the heavy lifting, it's time to pick the tools - wikis, blogs, forums, social networks, etc.
How do you read the groundswell? By participation. Like all good things in life, this book will be useful to you in direct proportion to the amount of interaction you plan to have with its content. Decide before you pick it up:
- Three things you are going to do as a direct result of learning from the how to's and stories. In fact, you might want to write down the case in which you tried and failed at social media. You might find answers or better questions in the book and research presented. For thoughtful questions and answers, check out the book's forum.
- What is your own ROI for reading. In other words, measure your progress against your goals. Your start up costs are $19.77 for buying on Amazon and $X (this is the value you place yourself) for your time in reading, folding corners, underlining and writing notes. The ongoing costs are paying attention to the material, remaining aware of the information and how it relates to the conversations with your customers, technology learning curve, content production, periodical readjustment of your thinking. The value of the benefits to you is directly proportional to the quality of investment you make to give it a try.
- How flexible and ready for change you're going to be. The hardest part of learning is forgetting what you already know. Put down your assumptions, get ready to engage both sides of your brain, and to be motivated. This decision will come in handy when you're going to share the material with your team.
My involvement in social media forever changed the way I think about and look at marketing - for the better. It has allowed me to be much closer to the market, where the action is. Imagine the three things you can do with your business to increase success.