Blog Post 10 – Chapter 12

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The Groundswell Inside your Company

I cant believe we’re finally just about done the groundswell…..sigh. What a fun adventure blogging has been.

We’ve come so far and learned so many valuable lessons about the ways social media and technology can truly change companies around for the better.  Not only this, in todays highly competitive business world it is important to stay connected with your customers in new innovate ways.  Simply answering the phone is not enough anymore. Well, maybe its enough…but its becoming more and more about setting yourself apart and creating those close relationships with the customers who have the ability to push your company forward.

Chapter 12 focuses on your employees.  The first ten chapters gave great insight to how to connect with your customers, but its essentially your people who will be the key to making this work.  My company is generally fairly small, but as companies expand and become larger there is more issues in terms of communication and information flow.  Here are five important factors that Best Buy Blue Shirt Nation accomplished that led their company to groundswell success:

  • Listening – Listening to your people can turn into solving
  • Talking – Incorporate everyone together so each person can see where changes are occurring – keep the communication!
  • Energizing – Enthusiasm in your employees will leak into your customers. Positivity spreads like fire!
  • Supporting – commitment to support and promoting employees from within
  • Embracing – Embrace the relationships and communities you create

Check out this great article I found on how to encourage employees to adopt new technology changes within the organization! This article makes some great points that can be applied to the implementing the groundswell.  Check out my twitter for some great ways to motivate your employees (also make sure to check my replies to some great website links & articles).

The internal groundswell is all about “creating new ways for people to connect and work together, and to that end, its about relationships, not technology” (Bernoff, 2011).

I think this is so important for ANYONE, no matter what industry or company you work with to fully understand.  Without those relationships, trust, communication, effort and passion, the groundswell will not succeed.  People must be willing to be involved in a participative culture that encourages participation.  MOTIVATE YOUR PEOPLE. The groundswell also talks about the importance of management support in chapter 12. In order to be successful, management must lead their people, participate actively, and sponsor/initiate involvement throughout the company or these efforts will simply fail and this could be a huge loss financially.  The important lesson here: there is no substitute for management involvement.  Lets all remember this as we move forward in our careers and potentially encounter businesses who are starting on the groundswell path. And guess who might be the future manager? you!

Remember, the secret to thriving in the groundswell is culture.  yes, the customers are important, but nothing will ever succeed without the teamwork and dedication within the organization.  Everyone must be involved to see change occur. Find the rebels in your company and rather than thinking about all the risks – think about the opportunities.  Think about the future!

Until next time groundswell friends.  Remember to stay in touch on twitter where I will frequently update my feed with new and exciting groundswell/social media marketing links. @amandacam19

Sources: 

Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff,. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. (expanded and revised edition.). Harvard Business School Press.

 

Blog Post 9 – Chapter 7

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Energizing the Groundswell

As we continue to learn more about the groundswell, chapter 7 teaches us about what energizing the groundswell really means which was discussed in the previous blog post as well.  Its important to understand why word of mouth truly succeeds and is important when trying to achieve a media presence.

1) Its believable – More credible than media sources

2) Its self-reinforcing – If you hear it from multiple people, even if you don’t know them, it has to true

3) Its self-spreading – “If a product is worth using, its word of mouth generates more word of mouth in a cascade that’s literally exponential”

Word of mouth is proven to be one of the most honest forms of marketing.  I can relate to this in my everyday life because the way I usually like to learn about a product or service is by conversing with someone who’s bought it before.  To me, that is the most genuine, honest and credible way to find out if something has worked in the past or not.

Some people might ask, why is it worth to energize with your customers? The answer is that you create a community with your customers where they self-select you because they like your products and will continue buying/talking about them for years.  Here are some great techniques that successful companies have used to connect with their brand enthusiasts:

  • Tap into customers enthusiasm with ratings and reviews
  • Create a community to energize your customers
  • Participate in and energize online communities of your brand

Its also important for companies to understand the benefits of ratings and reviews.  Exhibit 7-1 shows a cost & profit analysis of ROI in terms of ratings and reviews. Its crazy to see that rating increase the conversion rate by 20% and the transaction size for those customers by minimum 10%.  In the construction industry we usually bid on small to large jobs through “active bidding” which generally requires our company to hand in a bid-binder that lists our rates, prices, and other important information.  Word of mouth AND reviews are a HUGE part in how a lot of companies win contracts.  Yes, price comes into account and is a big factor, but if a large company like EPCOR or ENMAX continually hears from clients and other industry people that a certain company did an awful job, this most definitely affects who they reward the project to.  I’ve seen this happen multiple times over and over again.  Its all about creating that positive image for yourself so when people talk, which they will, good things are said.   Here’s an interesting article that talks about small businesses relying on WOM and that 85% of their clients generally come from this simple and effective marketing tactic.

Not only does the groundswell focus on the importance of customer-business relationships but also how it can improve business-business relationships (which can sometimes be more important for those companies where other businesses ARE their customers – like the construction industry).  How you energize your customers also depends on how you want your relationships to change.  Reviews, ratings, and communities are all good examples but there are many more.  Businesses can design strategies & technologies that match the relationships they already have and then provide ways for their customers to extend those relationships.  Here are five great steps for applying the techniques of energizing to your own organization!

  • Figure out if you WANT to energize the groundswell (its more powerful & riskier than just listening or talking….people are now discussing your products)
  • Check the social techno graphics profile of your customers – how active are your customers participating in the groundswell?
  • Ask yourself – What is my customers problem? – to determine how you can fix it
  • Pick a strategy that fits your customers social techno graphics profile and problems
  • Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul

This chapter provides more great insight to the groundswell, and valuable information for companies to think about.  Its important to understand that energizing can potentially transform your company for the better. Its all about embracing your customers, learning from them, and letting these new opportunities take your company to a completely new place.

Until next time groundswell friends!

Sources: 

Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff,. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. (expanded and revised edition.). Harvard Business School Press.

 

 

 

 

Blog Post 8 – Chapter 10

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Tapping the Groundswell With Twitter

Now we really get into a resource that can help industries all over the world connect with their customers.  Twitter is a great asset to connect, share, and converse with customers as well as a way to gain more information about the world.  Before we get started, here’s a great video that shows how twitter can be beneficial for your business. Check it out here!

The chapter starts out telling readers how twitter is rapidly becoming a key part of the groundswell & how it has become an entire ecosystem of interactions between people and businesses.  Here are some key components & terminology of twitter for those who aren’t familiar:

  • Followers
  • Hash tags & Searches
  • Mentions and Retweets
  • Links
  • Lists
  • Apps & Tools

Some of the most influential people are on twitter, and even though in 2010 only 7% of adults were engaging on this social network, these individuals are three times a likely to be creators, critics, and half likely to be joiners compared with the typical online consumer. This is crazy to me. Only 7% of ADULTS online?? I can’t image the potential relationships and business opportunities if this increased to even 30%.  Its also important to understand that once on twitter, people will expect you to be extremely engaged (listening and responding), and lack of this could affect the whole purpose of having it in the first place.

Global companies such as McDonalds, Southwest Airlines and Dell use this resource to give promotions, deals, links to important sites, answering questions, complaints, concerns & feedback, and giving the company an opportunity to really connect with the people involved in their organization on a daily basis.

Its also important to understand that the key to energizing people (people that like your products) is LISTENING. Hmm! this topic seems familiar in the groundswell.  Companies who create twitter accounts energize by responding and retweeting them which ultimately reinforces ties.  Getting employees on board also helps energizing while making sure that their purpose is to build reputation, connect with the consumer, and using it as a support objective.

In the construction industry, particularly my company, twitter could be extremely beneficial because there are SO many competitors right here in Alberta.  Being able to follow these accounts would be a major resource in terms of acquiring information not only from others, but giving our company more leeway into the groundswell. I think it would be smart to make the younger people the “leads” on these accounts.  I find that the younger generation has so much more knowledge & experience with these social networking sites, and would find this sort of task more exciting. Here is some potential advice I could give to my managers when trying to implement twitter into my company:

  • Lock up the handle – Be the one behind the screen – make it a verified account – make it YOU
  • Listen first
  • Be ready to support people and be active
  • Follow others – create a community
  • Be read for a crisis – use these situations to your advantage! turn negatives into positives when possible
  • Respond, retweet and link
  • Staff it – make this certain peoples priority (it can almost be a full time job!)
  • Check with legal and regulatory staff – ensure your statements are appropriate to the public and don’t go against any rules in terms of privacy
  • Having gathered a following, don’t waste it! – give people a reason to stay connected

Now that we’ve gotten into twitter, lets start tweeting!!

Check out my personal twitter account for social media marketing updates & to stay connected with me 🙂 @amandacam19

Until next week groundswell friends.

Sources: 

Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff,. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. (expanded and revised edition.). Harvard Business School Press.