When I first picked up the book, Groundswell, my first thought was what is the groundswell?  After reading the book I now know that the groundswell is a social phenomenon where people use technology to get what they need from each other instead of companies.  The following video features Groundswell co-author Charlene Li providing a brief overview of the groundswell.

People look for ways to connect and this is aided by technology.  However, technology is constantly changing causing us to focus on people’s connections rather than the technology to support them.  Relationships are highlighted as the most important element rather than technology.

The authors of Groundswell have illustrated a planning process called POST (people, objectives, strategy, & technology).  First, you need to start by knowing your customers before you can continue to the next steps.  A Social Technographics Profile helps us to understand the different participants in the groundswell.  The Social Technographics Ladder is shown below.

After understanding the people portion of the POST method you can move on to objectives.  Five different objectives are highlighted in the book.  The objectives are listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing.  After understanding what your objectives are you can move to creating a strategy.  Finally, you should choose a technology that will suit your strategy.

Groundswell featured many real world examples of companies that have entered the groundswell.  One that really stood out to me was Procter & Gamble (P&G) and their creation of a community, BeingGirl.  P&G was able to create a community that caters to young girls and focuses on being a girl.  Even though P&G is in the business of selling feminine care products, the community they created does not revolve around their product line.  This is a wonderful example of how understanding people and what they need is vital to a successful groundswell strategy.

After reading Groundswell I believe that my client can engage in the groundswell.  My client is a company that deals with complicated technology.  In order to create a successful social media campaign the POST method should be followed.  My client’s customers want information.  The best suited objective for my client at this point in time is talking.  Coming up with a strategy and choosing the correct technology will involve more research.  However, the book did provide me with support for a corporate blog.

Much like the example given in the book regarding HP, my client has to deliver complicated messages to their customers and potential customers.  I think that a corporate blog would be a great way to connect to my client’s customers.  This would be an effective way to engage customers and relay important updates.  The blog could drive web traffic to the company website and reach larger audiences.

Groundswell made me think differently about social media.  I enjoyed reading the different case studies included in the book.  It reinforced that companies can approach groundswell in many different ways.  I was not aware of many of the case study companies’ involvement in the groundswell.  After reading the case studies I visited their websites and was able to see the groundswell firsthand.  I will be using this book as a social media reference throughout my studies.


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