“Energizing the Groundswell” according to the author of Groundswell, Josh Bernoff, is one of the most important and effective steps that a company can take in utilizing social media to it’s advantage.
To “energize” the groundswell, a company must first conduct research to find out where and through what channel their customers are communicating about their product. Are the majority of their customers on Twitter, or is that demographic more apt to Facebook? These are questions the company’s researchers must ask.
Once a community is located, the company can then take steps to energize the members of the group. If a community has not already been established, the company can form one, if a community is applicable to the product. People aren’t going to be enthusiastic and eager to blog about products like toothpaste or light bulbs, but if a company sells something that people are going to be excited about, like handbags or electronic devices, than a community is an appropriate place for consumers of those products to interact and share experiences.
Some companies partake in ambassador programs, which constitute interactions between the company and opinion leaders of communities called ambassadors. The ambassadors provide the companies with feedback on their products and in return receive rewards such as free products or first hand information about featured or new products the company offers.
These ambassador programs are inexpensive for companies to facilitate, and the reward is a substantial incentive for the ambassador, especially if that ambassador is passionate about the product and eager to help the company improve.
The book offers 5 techniques for “energizing your organization”. They are:
1. Figure out if you want to energize the groundswell
(Sometimes companies have a lot of customers with negative experiences, and if your company is one of them, encouraging your customers to voice their opinions could be a death sentence.)
2. Check the social technographics profile of your customers
(How actively involved is your target audience in the social media? If you are selling denture or pacemakers, the groundswell might not be the most efficient way to interact with your customers.
3. Ask yourself, “what is my customer’s problem?”
(What problem are you solving for the customer? If you sell used books, maybe your customer’s problem is that new college textbooks are too expensive.)
4. Pick a strategy that fits your customer’s social technographics profile and problems
(If your customers have already formed a community on their own, let them run with it! Don’t create a competing community.)
5. Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul
(Energzing the groundswell can have notable rewards if you put in effort and constantly adjust your methods to be as efficient as possible. You have to commit!)