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Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

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Corporate executives struggle to harness the power of social technologies. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube are where customers discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals but how do you integrate these activities into your broader marketing efforts? It's an unstoppable groundswell that affects every industry -- yet it's still utterly foreign to most companies running things now.

When consumers you've never met are rating your company's products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In Groundswell, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity.

Ngay lúc này đây, khách hàng đang bàn luận về các sản phẩm của bạn trên blog, "chế biến" lại các clip quảng cáo và tung chúng lên YouTube. Họ đang định nghĩa lại bạn trên Wikipedia hay lập ra các nhóm bàn luận về bạn trên Facebook. Tất cả đều là các yếu tốt của một hiện tượng xã hội - một làn sóng ngầm đang khiến thế giới phải thay đổi. Tuy nhiên, hầu hết các công ty lại xem đây là mối lo ngại.

Trong Làn sóng ngầm, hai chuyên gia phân tích hàng đầu của Forrester sẽ cho bạn thấy cách thức điều khển các lực đẩy từ khách hàng theo hướng có lợi nhất cho mình. Với 25 nghiên cứu điển hình trên khắp thế giới, từ lĩnh vực y tế cho tới hàng hóa tiêu dùng hay dịch vụ doanh nghệp, Li và Bernoff cho thấy các công ty hàng đầu đang nắm bắt tình hình, gia tăng doanh số, tiết kiệm chi phí và tăng cường năng lượng cho khách hàng như thế nào. Bạn không thể "làm ngơ' trước xu hướng này. Hãy đọc Làn sóng ngầm và học cách lướt sóng. Bạn sẽ không phải hối tiếc.

286 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Charlene Li

14 books98 followers
For the past two decades, Charlene Li has been helping people see the future. She’s the author of six books, including her latest, The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Businesses Transform While Others Fail. She also wrote the New York Times bestseller Open Leadership and co-authored the critically-acclaimed book, Groundswell.

Charlene is also an entrepreneur, the Founder and Senior Fellow at Altimeter, an analyst firm acquired in 2015 by Prophet. With over 20 years of experience advising Fortune 500 companies, she is an expert in digital transformation and strategy, customer experience, and the future of work. Charlene also serves on the regional board for YPO, a global network of CEOs.

Charlene is a sought-after speaker and has appeared at events ranging from TED and the World Business Forum to SxSW. She has appeared on 60 Minutes and PBS NewsHour and is frequently quoted by news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The Associated Press.

Charlene was named one of the Most Creative People in business by Fast Company and one of the Top 50 Leadership Innovators by Inc., Charlene graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in San Francisco.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 252 reviews
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews714 followers
October 12, 2017
A book I read for my Brand Management & Reputation Master studies. It interests me as it concerns the current fastgoing development of social, online applications and social media. Where a company years ago could control the reactions of its environment, nowadays opinions and views of people are easily and very quickly distributed via social media, blogs, wiki's etc. Well... look at goodreads, where people share opinions on books, independent and of free will.

Quoting also Harvard Business Review (link to the article below): "Businesses and other institutions have long practiced “community outreach” to nurture positive, cooperative relationships between themselves and the public. Before the internet, firms had far more time to methodically monitor and respond to community activity. With the rise of social media, that luxury has vanished, leaving a community-management vacuum in dire need of fresh skills, adaptive tactics, and a coherent strategy"....

The book and the article describe the changes wrought by social media platforms and show how a company can make the most of this brave new world. "IT-enabled collaborative tools such as social networks, wikis, and blogs greatly increase a community’s speed of formation and magnify its impact and reach. Social media platforms enhance the power of online communities in four ways: They promote deep relationships, allow fast organization, improve the creation and synthesis of knowledge, and permit better filtering of information... In no small part, online activism drove powerful community opposition." And for example in the medical world, communities have shown that people can support each other with information, experiences and joint initiatives to gain improvements in medical treatments.

The book's message: Companies need to be part of the 'Groundswell', a trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. HBR says this about it: "As you modernize your company’s approach to community relations, you’ll need to recognize the key distinction between two fundamental activities: preventing damage to your reputation and brand, and identifying new opportunities. The former calls for marketing and public relations skills, whereas the latter calls for business-development skills. You should assemble a social media team with strengths in both areas."

It's a different (online) world today. If you are interested but do not want to read the full book, here's an interesting article, 'Community relations 2.0' of Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2009/11/community-rel...
Very interesting topic. I love the lively Goodreads environment full of buzz and opinions. I intend to creat a solid social media strategy & way forward for the company I work for!
Profile Image for Linda.
13 reviews
August 17, 2008

Nearly everything I do in marketing has to do with the groundswell, the current movement of everything Web 2.0, blogs, viral, social networks and more. Or simply put, people + technology.

I also happen to live at ground zero for all this stuff, so when I spotted the spiraling lime-and-wasabi colored book at work and asked to borrow it, I knew it'd be an investment in timeliness and relevance.

What I like best about Groundswellis how authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff built out stories of real people facing the challenges of adopting groundswell in different ways, and each ending with actionable results you could act upon right now-- despite the fact that all the case studies are about established brands in the US. What I'll put to work right away are the concepts of measuring the effects of your groundswell efforts, as well as the perspective that groundswell is all about how people use technology for their conversations, socializing and learning-- especially, for their desire to connect.

There's also meaty Forrester stuff: a demographic analysis called social technographics which segments your audience according to social technology ladder of participation, a customer profile toolto calculate audience targeting against criteria which determine what kind of relationship you want to build with them, and all sorts of other useful bar graphs.

There's still a lot to know about the groundswell and what it means to you, but there is something to be said for just jumping in.
Profile Image for J.D. Lasica.
Author 7 books42 followers
December 26, 2008
Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, is the definitive guide to how businesses are grappling with the social media revolution. The revolution is still in its early stages, and the old order still clings tenaciously to power — we're living in the throes of transformative change, which can be at once exhilarating and disorienting.

Li and Bernoff provide a framework for describing these fundamental changes, which they call "the groundswell," and they do so chiefly within the context of marketing rather than sociology or politics. While this is a book for businesses (brands) and the people who do their handiwork (marketers and consultants), anyone who's interested in better understanding the tsunami of social participation that is subsuming our institutions will find lots to absorb in these pages.

Written in accessible, no-nonsense prose, Groundswell breaks its narrative its three parts: what the social changes are all about; strategies for taking advantage of these changes, and an assessment of how these changes are transforming businesses.

Li and Bernoff, analysts at Forrester when this was written, offer dozens of rich examples of the groundswell at work. (Bernoff is still there. Li left to begin a social media strategy company, and I've known Charlene for years from the speaking circuit.) And it is through these concrete accounts that Groundswell shines most brightly.

There are the well-known horror stories, of course, like Jeff Jarvis dealing with Dell Hell and Dell's brilliant response. And Rob Master's masterful Dove Campaign for Real Beauty at Unilever.

But most of the lessons are less well known and thus especially relevant in informing a business's approach to social media: Josh Bancroft almost single-handedly moving Intel in a new direction with Intelpedia (see Business Week article). Intuit's wise decision not to create a software wiki or TurboTax wiki but a tax information wiki. Best Buy almost accidentally enabling employees to help each other — and in turn increase productivity — through its Blue Shirt Nation program.

Like top-tier analysts do, Li and Bernoff capably synthesize these and other lessons into handy bullet-point lists that businesses should laminate and pass out to every department head. For example, in the section "tips for successful blogging," the authors advise:

1. Start by listening.
2. Determine a goal for the blog.
3. Estimate the ROI (return on investment).
4. Develop a plan.
5. Rehearse.
6. Develop an editorial process.
7. Design the blog and its connection to your site.
8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog.
9. Remember, blogging is more than writing.
10. Final advice: be honest.

By and large, that's a list that would serve any blogger well, not just corporate bloggers.

Groundswell deserves a wide readership, not just for explaining the social tsunami now engulfing us in down-to-earth terms but for presenting a loud and clear wakeup call to corporate America: Get with the program, before the swift, the nimble and the socially adept eat your lunch.
Profile Image for Gummih.
77 reviews4 followers
November 21, 2022
Having placed this in my reading list and bought this book years (and years) ago it was kind of funny reading it now. It covers the social landscape in the very beginning of highly influential social media.
While I enjoyed the read and it does contain some insightful ideas and strategies that still hold true today, the majority of it is just too outdated by now ("What, you mean to tell me I can produce a youtube video that can outperform a Super Bowl commercial?")
2 reviews
May 4, 2010
While I'm sure that this book as informative to those not already familiar with Facebook and Twitter I did not find that it told me anything really new. I came away with the feeling that it was full of valuable argument content for convincing our unknowing associates that social networking has value and that it works.

Unfortunately I was looking for information geared to the entrepreneur / small businessperson rather that the multinationals that were used in the book as examples. The aut... (show more)

While I'm sure that this book as informative to those not already familiar with Facebook and Twitter I did not find that it told me anything really new. I came away with the feeling that it was full of valuable argument content for convincing our unknowing associates that social networking has value and that it works.

Unfortunately I was looking for information geared to the entrepreneur / small businessperson rather that the multinationals that were used in the book as examples. The authors failed to recognize that there is a world of difference between the Ford Motor Company and Joey's Diner and Brewpub. They interact with their clients and environs from completely dissimilar perspectives and the strategies for communicating to their respective audiences can not be casually interchanged.

Perhaps this viewpoint and audience was what the authors intended, if so I would encourage them to follow up with an equally thorough look at the world from a start up perspective.
Profile Image for Puja.
49 reviews30 followers
December 16, 2013
This book is a great overview of social media and offers detailed insight into how brands are affected by the new media revolution. Essentially it is a guide for marketing in an Internet driven world; it highlights the same principles of offline marketing - understanding the needs of the target audience and interacting with it accordingly - with inputs on what efforts are needed to achieve the business goals in a more open and interactive medium that is only growing in importance everyday.

The four primary areas of discussion are listening, talking, energizing, and embracing. There are a host of ideas to utilize the tools available for connecting with customers. The authors lay particular emphasis on concentrating on the relationships and not the technologies.

Although the book is most ideal for companies wanting to reach out to their stakeholders, it is also a valuable and relevant read for just about anyone wanting to understand the groundswell and explore the myriad of opportunities that come up there. The book has ample examples and the instructional style of writing makes it accessible to all.
Profile Image for Richard MacManus.
Author 4 books104 followers
July 6, 2008
This book is aimed at company people who may not know much about the Social Web, other than they want to be in on the action. So *I'm* not the target market.

I browsed through the book on a lazy sunday and thought it had some great data in it. The authors obviously know their stuff and I have huge respect for Charlene Li as a social media analyst.

I must admit I was also checking to see if ReadWriteWeb was cited. Disappointingly, no. The book can't be that cutting edge then, ay? ;-)

Overall, solid book and recommended for mainstream folks who want to know what web 2.0 is and how they can use it in their jobs.
Profile Image for Aldis Erglis.
3 reviews2 followers
August 14, 2017
Sākot lasīt grāmatu liekas, ka autori stāsta jau zināmas lietas par sociāliem tīkliem un sociālām kustībām. Bet lasot arvien talāk patiesais grāmatas "mesedžs" sāk nonākt līdz lasītājam - pasaule ir mainījusies un dīvainā veidā problēmu, kuru risināja daudzus gadus korporācijas un menedžeri, sabiedrība pateicoties tehnoloģijām atrisina savā veidā. Tehnoloģiju pieejamība maina sabiedrību uz visiem laikiem.
Profile Image for Jessica.
146 reviews
October 14, 2012

Despite my version being published in 2011, I feel most of the authors' predictions for "several years down the road" have already come true by summer 2012. Good book for convincing the unbelievers (do they exist any more?) or reaffirming what a believer already knows to be true.
January 12, 2021
I'm reading this book because it was required reading for one of my digital marketing certification courses. I saw a review in this list that talked about its only value is to beginners in the social space. I disagree. The data and research that went into this book make it extremely valuable. If you're a data-driven individual looking below the surface - Super interesting.

As a digital marketer, I'm finding the book insightful and an interesting take on how a groundswell builds from the inside out. On the surface, the book seems simple but as you move through the concepts it offers a deep understanding of why people gravitate to the places they do and act as they do within the environment.
337 reviews2 followers
October 5, 2020
An excellent read on the jungle that is social media. I found it fascinating even though it was first published in 2011.

I like the level of depth the authors have gone into while explaining various aspects. From a marketing perspective, it tells you what to do to engage your customers in the online space. From an HR perspective, there's a chapter that talks about using these techniques to engage with the employees of your organization. I enjoyed the examples that were shared and learned a lot from them.

It should be mandatory reading for marketing students and HR professionals who seek to engage employees in the online space.
Profile Image for Sarah Rigg.
1,606 reviews17 followers
November 23, 2018
I read this because I knew that I need some insight on marketing as a freelancer. It's geared more toward big companies, but I still found it really useful. Just their basic idea of breaking down people active in Web 2.0 into "creators" vs. "critics" vs. "collectors" and "watchers" was useful to me, for instance. A required read for anyone running their own business or in management who wants to tap into the power of social technologies to energize customers and employees.
September 26, 2017
Typically I am not one to sit down and read a non-fiction book. However, this one kept my interest all the way through.
Profile Image for Rob Kall.
Author 4 books12 followers
May 8, 2018
this is a bit dated by 2018, but I found it to be very valuable. Loads of details on how people use social media and internet sites.
Profile Image for Michelle Lach.
14 reviews
March 10, 2019
A bit windy. Overall it has some really good concepts but I feel like it could have been much more concise and about half as long without losing steam.
Profile Image for Guy Powell.
Author 3 books
August 14, 2022
When this book came out it was a game changer. It was a great help for marketers to refine their marketing strategy.
375 reviews2 followers
March 10, 2017
Groundswell has a solid foundation of ideas. I most enjoyed the conversation around leveraging user groups and forums to better listen to your clients. The book could use an updated edition as many of the technologies have significantly evolved since it was written.
Profile Image for Jelinas.
173 reviews16 followers
January 9, 2011
I'm a writer. I'm not a techie. I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm just a girl who hates grammatical mistakes and improprer use of punctuation and enjoys snappy prose.

Well, Groundswell isn't written for people like me, but it was still an interesting read. Charlene Li does an excellent job of examining the ways in which companies and brands are able to build a groundswell of support for themselves on the internet.

What it really boils down to is listening to your online community and showing them that they matter to you. Your customers are your greatest resource for improving your product, and a disgruntled customer can quickly turn into your biggest fan (and a huge source of free advertising) if you quickly rectify the situation and show them that you actually care.

Come to think of it, Pajiba has done an excellent job of cultivating groundswell. When I first visited Pajiba, it was about a year old, and there were maybe fifty regular commenters and two regular features. Now, they have thousands of fans on Facebooks, hundreds of Eloquents who spend more time commenting than working at their jobs, and has a giant pool of willing writers who are willing to give of their free time to comb the internet for fun links, highlight the funniest comments of the week, and even run a ginormo book club .

I myself shoot out of my chair and do a happy dance on the rare occasions when I happen to make it to EE or get a CBR review featured on the site. It makes me feel like I'm being heard; that people care about my opinion and are willing to have civil conversations about it. It makes me feel like I'm part of a fun, witty, and urbane online community of nerds who, despite their affinity for the scathing, are fiercely loyal to one another and care deeply about each other (see Pink, Alabama).

Pajiba has always been good at fostering community. Way back when I was still relatively new to the site, I posted a comment on a thread about music that is inextricably linked to specific scenes in movies, and I mentioned the soundtrack to Billy Elliot. That day, I got a personal e-mail from The Rowles himself, telling me that he, too, loved that movie and was planning to do it justice at a later date (I'm still waiting on that, Rowles, and I doubt that Pajiba will come to an end on that day.

I knew right then that Pajiba was all about listening to its community. And the community has really taken on a life of its own. And it's because Pajiba has listened to its community that it's able to foster such a positive community. Also, much of the community members love the TV show "Community." That has nothing to do with this paragraph, but I'd used the word so much in this paragraph that I thought I'd throw it in there one more time.

The moral of the story? Watch "Parks and Recreation," y'all.
Profile Image for Amber.
18 reviews
March 4, 2013
I read Groundswell as part of a course on social media marketing that I am taking at George Brown College. I was immediately engaged by the simple, conversational tone of the writing and interesting case studies. When I read something for professional development purposes I expect examples of how to apply the techniques or tools being discussed, and this book delivered: every tool type had multiple cases studies and discussed successes and failures. I also appreciated the formatting of the book as it included many summarizing bullet point lists, and clear headings so that I could easily return to information when I needed to. Business and strategy discussions can be dry so I was glad to come across humorous analogies and straight talking examples.

The reason I chose this book off a list of suggested readings was because it offered an equal focus on multiple types of social media tools and a thorough introduction to the strategy and potential behind these tools. I felt like it delivered a great overview of WHY and HOW to introduce social media into your marketing strategy and gave realistic parameters to work within. It is not a fad, and it requires real energy and resources to be successful with these tools, so it isn't something to just add at the last minute or to develop separately from the rest of the marketing strategy. It also had a really good section on finding advocates within an organization and empowering the whole team to be energized by the potential. The number one message I retained from this book is that social media marketing is about listening as much as talking (or posting or sharing) and that the traditional advertising model of shouting information at customers is no longer ideal. If you open yourself up to the groundswell you better be ready to listen, to respond, and to act based on your customers participation.

The biggest downfall of this book for my purposes was its age. It was published in 2008, which is still quite recent but is a really long time in terms of technological advances in social media tools. They discuss Twitter as a new technology that is bound to catch on and there is no mention of several very popular tools. However, they give you a way to look at a new tool and evaluate its potential to become more than a fad, which is very useful. They are aware of the issue of information in physical books becoming outdated.

All in all a great introduction to books on the topic, but not the last I will read. I feel as though I’d like to fill in some gaps with another title or two. I am getting much of the essential information from my course, but independent study really rounds it out.
Profile Image for Levi.
50 reviews7 followers
November 4, 2016
Although Groundswell is admittedly a little dated, it does provide much insightful advice regarding social media marketing. Written in the elder days of 2008, my second edition was released in the slightly-less ancient age of 2011.

It was rather jarring to hear the book discuss things such as MySpace as significant factors concerning the topic of social media. It was even more incredible to find that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were hardly mentioned at all. Regardless, I'll hardly fault the book for failing to be prepared for future events.

This book was obviously written as a guidebook for executives in established corporations who are trying to navigate the brave new world of social media. It provides several case studies regarding the issue, providing more in-depth advice than I have found to be available from marketing gurus such as Gary Vaynerchuck. I like Vaynerchuck, but Li and her colleagues are a little more technical in their approach to distilling business principles.

This means that Li and Company have two big things going for them. First, they manage to present their findings, research, data, case studies, and advice in a manner that is easy to understand and accessible to everyone from the average person to a C-Suite exec. It's largely free of corporate-speak and industry jargon that might have hindered a lesser book.

The other big strength that they have is that although the future of social media was made of Playdough when this book was written (and still largely is now), they do manage to give mountains of good advice regarding what is still a very new subject. It's good to know that there's someone from the old school of doing business who gets it.

For example, they perceptively note near the end of the book that it would be foolish to force everyone in a company to be part of social media. It would not only be ineffective, but might backfire. It's smarter instead to empower people who are already engaged in social media and let them do their thing.

This and other good pointers, combined with interesting case studies, make Groundswell a book that should be read by all corporate executives at big companies that are still trying to tell Retweets from Likes. It's written in their language but remains quite readable.
Profile Image for Gene Babon.
181 reviews75 followers
September 9, 2022
The groundswell is a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect. Groundswell was one of the first, and best documented, books chronicling the social media phenomenon.

Since the book was published in 2008, it would be easy to dismiss this research-oriented guidebook as dated. After all, a technology called Twitter is relegated to single page. The authors conclude as follows: "Twitter is likely to find its place among other groundswell technologies, and companies should pay attention to it."

The focus of Groundswell is measurable business success. The guiding principle is to concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies. In so doing, the authors advise business leaders to master groundswell thinking because the technologies are ever shifting and ever growing.

POST is the foundation of groundswell thinking. The POST method is a four-step planning process used to build a groundswell strategy. POST involves people, objectives, strategy and technology.

The five objectives that companies can pursue in the groundswell are as follows:

~ listening
~ talking
~ energizing
~ supporting
~ enhancing

Using this framework the authors proceed to document several successful case studies that target each objective.

The authors conclude that "companies that aren't wired into the groundswell in 2012 will look very twentieth century—which is to say, out of touch."

Additional books to consider on the topic of social media include the following:

~ Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence Improve Reputation and Earn Trust
~ Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone

Access Gene Babon's reviews of books on Business Leadership and Business Strategy at Pinterest.
Profile Image for Frank.
Author 2 books3 followers
January 23, 2016
Groundswell is a really great survey book about the importance of social media for business. Here, the authors interpret social media as the groundswell, "a spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their experience, and get what they need -- information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power -- from each other."

The book is well-structured and begins at a high-level, defining the groundswell and why it's vital for businesses today. Next, the authors include case studies and go through various strategies for tapping into the groundswell. The final section includes tactical examples detailing how to implement social media initiatives and gain buy-in throughout an organization.

As you read the book, it's easy to tell that Groundswell pulls together a ton of relevant information, and the authors did an excellent job of leveraging data from their parent organization (Forrester Research) and gathering new information though many in-person, telephone, and email interviews.

I'd rank Groundswell as one of the best books that's been written to date about social media. Along with Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, it's the most useful text on the subject I've read.

As a final aside, it's worth noting and fitting that in my case I was compelled to read Groundswell after hearing about it, well, within the groundswell. Those who are familiar with LinkedIn know that the popular social networking site for professionals allows you to join Groups which feature Discussions. A few months ago I joined the LinkedIn Group Social Media Marketing, and, shortly after joining, I quickly noticed an active discussion entitled "What is your favorite book on the subject of Social Media Marketing?"

As of this writing, this discussion has generated 369 comments, with lots of great suggestions and back and forth. I haven't done a tally, but my sense is that Groundswell has received the most recommendations from people who have responded to this thread.
Profile Image for Shawn Buckle.
93 reviews4 followers
February 11, 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.
March 13, 2013
Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies is an excellent read for anyone wanting to dive into the world of social media, and I can see using it as a handbook for understanding and developing social media strategies.

Unlike some of the other books out there claiming to unlock the secrets of social media using only the author's opinion or personal experience, Groundswell pairs sound advice with diverse case studies and actual statistics. It doesn't promise to give you the "quick fix" (it actually points out that patience is critical), but encourages understanding of the different groups of people by their social media use, the various objectives that companies can work towards, and how social media can impact a company from the outside and from within.

While the parts that go into detail and explain the workings of specific platforms (like twitter, blogs, wikis) might be a little slow for those who already use them regularly, everyone, no matter how social media savvy they are, can find great value in the real life case studies. Not only do these case studies provide great examples of how social technologies can be used successfully, but they also include examples highlighting common mistakes.

Overall, what I enjoyed most and found the most helpful about this book was the straightforward way in which it laid out all of the facts and provided the tools for creating my own effective social strategy. While the technology itself keeps evolving, which some may think would cause this book to become quickly dated, it’s the way of thinking and understanding of social behaviour that will keep this book relevant.
Profile Image for Sheryl.
50 reviews8 followers
October 31, 2009
Groundswell is a great book to help people understand the revolutionary social technology changes that are occurring, why they are happening, and how to tap into it and transform your business. It’s a very interesting read with good information, much of it familiar though, particularly for those already actively involved in social media.

The authors explain that people utilize social media to connect, collaborate, react, organize, and accelerate consumption. They give numerous examples of tools for each of these categories, and explain which of the five primary objectives these tools help companies meet. For example, blogs are effective tools for talking and getting feedback, while ratings, reviews, and online communities help energize the groundswell. In addition, people engage more or less with social media, and their involvement will range from completely inactive to active creators, with several levels of involvement in between.

Thus, planning is a large part of success. The idea is to look at the objectives first, especially since technology constantly evolves, and select appropriate tools that will develop the relationships to get there. The authors introduce a four part planning process that consists of people, objectives, strategy and technology.

Concrete examples and case studies provide additional substance and make the information easily digestible, enabling you to create actionable steps to move your company into the groundswell. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about social media and the steps to take to get involved.
Profile Image for Dane Cobain.
Author 21 books308 followers
June 20, 2013
Groundswell is highly-rated, one of the first so-called 'social media books' to be released and one which reveals all kinds of interesting information that will change the way that you look at the world. We're experiencing a groundswell, a term that's used to refer to the social phenomenon which has changed both the way that we interact with each other and the way that we access information.

Today's consumers are empowered to tell your brand's story whether you like it or not, through blogs and social media sites. In fact, you can no longer control your brand through brand guidelines alone - consumers are telling your story, and all you can do is try to guide them through it.

As the authors explain, "Right now, your customers are writing about your products on blogs and recutting your commercials on YouTube. They're defining you on Wikipedia and ganging up on you on Facebook. These are all elements of a social phenomenon - the groundswell - that has created a permanent shift in the way the world works. Most companies see it as a threat. You can see it as an opportunity."

Despite being five-years-old, Groundswell is semi-timeless and the concepts that are detailed by Bernoff and Li, both Forrester employees at the time of the book's writing, are the foundations of many of the thought-leading social research projects that are still taking place today.

If you're interested in marketing, the internet, social media or even the way that our society interacts with each other, this book's for you. Make sure you look out for the book's sequel, Empowered, too.
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