Strategies for Tapping Groundswell
Okay, so you’ve made it this far into my blog wondering
why your company should implement social media. You know you need to get involved in today’s technology advancements but you’re still hesitant in taking the initial step. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath.
The authors of Groundswell, which we have mentioned in previous posts, have developed a four-step planning process, also known as the P.O.S.T method.
P.O.S.T stands for people, objective, strategy and technology (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 67).
People. This asks, what are your customers expecting? It is based on the Social Technological Profile as discussed in a previous blog post. It’s important to assess how your target customers will engage online to create a more precise social media strategy for your business. In an interesting statistic, only 34% of marketers listen to groundswell and asked their customers “what they want” instead of 74% who believed they “know what their consumers want” (Pivot, 2012).
Objective. This section asks what are your goals within Groundswell? For example, do you want to listen to your customers or would you like to influence their purchasing decisions? “The clarity of your objectives will make or break your strategy” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 67). Li & Bernoff suggest 5 primary objectives that can be beneficial.
Pick the one that best matches the overall objectives of the company (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 68). The table below describes some existing business functions and how they can be altered to fit the groundswell.
Strategy. How do you want your customers to interact and engage with your company (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 67)? Once you know your direction, it’s easier to put changes in motion and measure progress within your company.
Technology. After deciding on the first three steps, you can pick the appropriate technology applications for your business.
Remember, “if you don’t enter the groundswell with a specific goal, you will fail” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 70). By following this method in order, you will gain a better understanding of your customers and the direction needed to move forward. When creating and implementing your plan, remember to start small because groundswell and technology influences will change.
When evaluating WestJet using the old Forrester tool, we saw that the majority of their Canadian consumers were 18-24. This tool suggested that WestJet’s internet users are Spectators (85%) and Joiners (83%)
This information provides an understanding of the “people” influenced by WestJet and where they are online. The majority of Sectators and Joiners actively listen and read online content.
It is believed that one of WestJet’s main social media objectives is to listen to their customers. They base their reputation on listening to their shareholders and caring about their customers. WestJet is also known for engaging with their customers and stimulating two-way conversations.
Their strategy is to ask how they want their relationship with their customers to change? It is believed that they even utilise their current customers to energize current customers and increase word of mouth advertising. This increases their engagement on their social media platforms, corporate social responsibility and overall advertising. Their strategy should focus on how they will accomplish engaging with their customers.
Finally, WestJet utilises many forms of social networking technology platforms to engage with their target customers. Becuase the majority are spectators and joiners, they created a Blog, youtube channels, and make the most of Twitter to inform the public about the company. These are only a few of the platforms that coincide with their objectives and overall social strategy.
Just remember, “There is no “right way” to engage with Groundswell” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 75). Do what’s best for your business!
Forrester Research Inc. (2008). Existing business functions and their groundswell alternatives [Picture]. Retrieved from https://glowestjet.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/people-objectives-strategy-technology-post/
Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, USA: Forrester Research Inc.
Pivot. (2012). The perception gap [Picture]. Retrieved from https://joiningthegroundswell.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/perception-gap-graphic.jpg