Shawn Buckle's Reviews > Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

Groundswell by Charlene Li
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Feb 11, 12

Read in February, 2012

Groundswell is defined as the social media momentum that has swept over us of recent. With almost a billion people using Facebook alone, social technologies have allowed people to connect in ways never before. This has had dramatic effects on the way businesses operate.

It goes without saying that it is fundamental you go where your customers are, meaning it's important to participate in social media, since that is where people are but also because there is an expectation to be there. There shouldn't be debate if you should participating, but how you should participate. This can be nightmarish for departments like IR, HR and IT since control is threatened. And from a brand standpoint, this loss of control also effects marketing communications since the groundswell now has a big say in what brands mean.

Given that participation is a must for most companies, just how you participate is important. Li and Bernoff rely on Forrester's Social Technographics Profile to map out how segments of people use social media (Creators, Listeners, Joiners, Critics, etc). Companies should understand what their customers do online and cater to that. If you're target tends to be into creating content like blogs, YouTube videos, it's vital to be in that space by not only creating your content for their consumption, but also to listen and respond to the content they create. And once you're there, it's essential to be authentic, because, unlike traditional advertising, the people have a voice and can call bullshit with ease.

The longer a company waits to get involved; the longer they wait to use social media to energize its customers, the harder it will be to enter with credibility. The people are there already talking about you, wanting to interact, so do what it takes to go to them and listen and create with them.
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