Groundswell is an approach to marketing coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. It is the idea that individuals, organisations and the public in general, use social technologies - such as blogs, wikis, forums, etc. - to create, share, discuss and discuss products, services and ideas. Groundswell is a model for engaging, listening and responding to the public via these social technologies.
At the heart of Groundswell is the idea that companies must listen to the public and respond to the conversations that are occurring about them and their products or services. Companies must also use these conversations to engage with consumers and build relationships.
Groundswell is different from traditional marketing approaches, such as advertising and direct marketing, in that it is focused on conversing and connecting with individuals, rather than advertising to them.
The basic Groundswell approach is to listen to customers, monitor their conversations, join in the conversation and then respond to the conversation in a relevant way. This approach encourages customers to become involved in and engaged with a company or product.
The Groundswell model consists of four main steps: listen, talk, join and act.
Listen: To listen in the Groundswell model is to use social media analytics, such as hashtag searches, to find and track customer conversations about your product or service,
Talk: This step is about ensuring that you are part of the conversation and making sure your message is seen by customers. You can do this by creating content, such as blog post, videos, or images and then sharing them with customers.
Join: The join step is about joining conversations that customers are already having about your product or service. You can do this by responding to customer comments, engaging with customers in forums, or starting conversations yourself.
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Act: Finally, the act step is about using the insights you’ve gained from conversations to act. This might be making changes to meet customer needs, or setting up campaigns to engage with customers.
In addition to the four step Groundswell model outlined above, there are some general best practices and guidelines to keep in mind when implementing a Groundswell approach.
Firstly, it is important that customer conversations are monitored in an appropriate way. Companies should ensure that they respect the rights of individuals and comply with any applicable laws or regulations in relation to customer conversations
Secondly, it is important that companies engage in appropriate ways. Companies should make sure that they are responding to conversations in a way that is relevant and meaningful.
Thirdly, companies should be prepared to respond to feedback quickly and efficiently. Companies should not only respond to customer assertions but should also have a plan in place to follow up and address any issues or complaints.
Finally, it is important to ensure that customer conversations continue. Companies should ensure that they listen to customers, and seek ways to engage customers in conversations. This includes seeking out conversations on relevant topics, encouraging customers to provide feedback or reviews, or helping customers to share their experiences with other customers.
The key to successful Groundswell marketing is often dependent on the ability to monitor and respond to customer conversations, and to engage in conversations in meaningful and relevant ways. Companies should use Groundswell to ultimately foster stronger relationships with customers, build brand loyalty and increase customer engagement.