Listening to the Groundswell

Listening to the Groundswell

This past week in Social Media Marketing focused on the art of listening to the Groundswell.  While you may think listening is easy, it’s not as easy as you think.  In the business world your brand is your image, how people perceive you and ultimately your company when customers are making consumer decisions.  You may think you have control over how people view your brand but in reality you have little control over your brand’s image in this social media age.  Instead “your brand is whatever your customers say it is” (Bernoff & Li, 2011).  Since customers have so much power in deciding how a brand in perceived in the social media world, it is imperative that your company listens to the groundswell.

Listening Strategies

The following are two listening strategies that your company can use to tap into the power of social media in order to listen to what the people have to say about your brand/image.

Setup a Private Community

Use the power of social media to your advantage and setup a private social media community where people discuss the products and or services that your brand offers.  Think like a focus group but instead it is continuously running and larger. Private communities have all the typical functions of social media like profile pages, discussion and chat functionality, and media uploading. Unlike typical social media platforms, a private community can only be seen by members, the vendor and the business owner. Vendors for Private Communities include:


The following video further highlights private communities.

Begin Brand Monitoring

Brand monitoring consists of monitoring social media feeds for what customers are saying about your brand. Instead of you doing the “listening”, you hire a company to do this for you.  They monitor things such as keywords, hype/buzz surrounding a product, and positivity/negativity surrounding things like customer interactions/experiences.  The company then creates a report based on their information that relays this data into a report that your business can use to make marketing decisions with.

Vendors for brand monitoring solutions include:

The following video further highlights brand monitoring:


 Using either of these two strategies; either Private Communities or Brand Monitoring, can yield a great deal on information about what and how people view your brand online.   The quality of information collected regarding your brand’s perception can be increased by understanding how social technographics can tie into the two strategies.  Recall from my previous posting that social technographics deals with how people interact in the online world.  Using the technographics profile can highlight social media user groups for which your brand should focus such strategies on.

Why Listen?

In today’s socially connected world, listening to what people say about your business online has quickly become one of the most important processes for a business to undertake.  By using Private Communities and Brand Monitoring listening strategies, business owners can:

  1. Find out what your brand stands for.
  2. Understand how buzz is shifting.
  3. Save research money; increase research responsiveness.
  4. Find the sources of influence in your market.
  5. Manage PR crises
  6. Generate new product and marketing ideas.

(Bernoff & Li, 2011, pp. 93-94)

Just by listening to your customers, you gain a powerful understanding of how people view your business, and have the potential to drive your businesses success.

Before you make a marketing decision for your brand; in the lyrics of the great/not so great Vanilla Ice, “All right stop, Collaborate and listen”.



Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.




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