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Charlen Li and Josh Bernoff, two leading analysts from Forrester, have written a wonderful book “GroundSwell” which opened up doors to master Social technologies to influence customers and learn from customers in the social media. This book covers from what is Groundswell, how to trigger and ride on the groundswell with a lot of practical tips and steps using case studies.
The authours defined Groundswell as : A social trend inwhich people use technologies to get the things they need from each other , rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. The rational behind the groundswell timing is:
1. People: People depend on each other. They share as well as influence each other
2. technology: Technology and its usage has eanbled people to connect and share with each other.
One should care about groundswell because it is a game changer for many professionals. For brand manager, its a threat because brand is no-longer depends on what and how you project but it is depends on how consumers interact and impress on each other. For a news media, its changing how the news are evolved and distributed. The groundswell has changed the balance of power.
At the end of this book, the authors summarized the lessos that would help businesses to make social media transition:
1. Never forget that the groundsell is about person-to-person activity. This requires a level of emphathy with people(customers). Blogging, connecting in communities, friending – these are all personal activities and engagement needs to be at the personal level with personal tone.
2. Be good listener: This is an important tips to marketers who often think that they know all and their job is to talking to customers to educate them or impress on them. However, in social media engagement, “the best listeners will end up the smartest”.
3. Be patient: Social media initiatives and apps touch too many parts of enterprise businesses and transitioning in terms of people, process and tools takes time and patience.
4. Be opportunistic: Start with baby steps but have a grand vision in mind and surge with speed when there is a green light.
5. Be flexible: Groundswell is full of surprises. Events happen without your control. This requires groundswell thinking to constantly adjust and learn from the events.
6. Be collaborative: Work collaboratively with those with similar ideas in your company.
7. Be humble: In the social media world, the world power comes only to those who are humble.
These are vary fundamental principles, nothing to do with technologies or apps, but are basic practical tips for mastering social media for businesses.