This week I’m going to lay out the foundation for your company to start talking with the Groundswell. In previous blog postings, I have discussed topics such as:
- Choosing the Right Form of Social Media Technology
- The Social Technographics Profile
- Listening to the Groundswell
- How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms Your Company
- POST: Strategy Development for the Groundwell Age
With these topics mastered, I believe it is time for you to start talking within the groundswell. The whole idea behind the groundswell way of thinking is to be vocal on the internet, and use the social media technologies at your disposal to talk to your customers.
To talk in the Groundswell, first you must understand how marketing for a mass market works. Below is the traditional marketing funnel
In this funnel the opening represents where the majority of marketing is directed at. This mass marketeering is designed to try and convince consumers to choose one brand or product over another, all without the engagement of conversations between consumers and the company.
Since groundswell is all about talking/listening and responding to customers, we will focus towards the middle sections of the funnel. As conversations are happening in the middle of the funnel, consumers ultimately narrow their choices down and act on their decisions by buying their product or service. This is where traditionally, companies have little control over the purchasing decisions of customers, due to conversations happening between potential customers and those who want to provide feedback/recommendations. In the groundswell age, you can influence these decisions by engaging and taking part by starting or continuing conversations with these undecided customers by using the power of social media technologies that you have at your disposal. By engaging with customers in the groundswell, you can eventually gain their loyalty and trust just by listening to them, thus creating customers for life, but to do so you must first learn to talk.
There are many ways to talk in the social media world, many of which are great to engage with customers but for the “biggest bang for the buck” impact I would consider the following:
Post a Viral Video
Viral videos are just like they sound. Designed to catch the attention customers through an attention catching video. Usually these videos go outside of the traditional way of marketing a product and are very different from what others companies are doing. They spread like wildfire through social media networks and act as a catalyst for starting the conversations between customers and companies.
One of the best viral video series is the Will it Blend series of videos. These videos showcase the blender but instead of blending traditional food items, they blend anything and everything.
Engage in Social Networks & User-Generated Content
Create your presence on social media to engage the start of conversations with your customer base. With this make sure that your social media presence has a personality and is not just a method for corporate talk to be divulged to customers. By having a personality your customer base will see your brand as being different from the norm, and will be more inclined to engage in talking to your company.
To gain idea of what a personality is in the social media world, check out the 10 Brands Doing an Amazing Job on Social Media as per Social Times.
Join the Blogosphere
Have someone that is passionate about your products or services start a blog to connect with consumers. Use the blog to be show some transparency into the company as a way to show consumers that your company is committed to hearing feedback from your customers. When creating and writing a blog remember to be open to listening to your customer base, be yourself, rehearse to be professional, connect the blog to your site, market the blogs existence to your customers and finally be honest with people.
For examples of the best corporate based blogs check out The 10 Best Big Company Blogs in The World from Mark Schafer.
Create a Community
Create a community for customers to engage with each other and your company. This private community should be used to deliver value to customers through engagements with your company. If engaging with customers through your company’s community remember to listen and not shout out to customers. By listening to your customers you can develop marketing initiatives that can connect with your target market and also you gain the benefit of having the ability to deal with customer issues before they become a bigger problem.
For examples of communities that you can model your own company’s on, have a look at the 10 Exceptional Examples of Brand Communities by Linkdex
Remember before talking on the Groundswell, your business must develop a strategy for operating in the social media realm (preferably POST), identify the target market you want to communicate with (Social Technographics), be prepared to listen, and with any business decision be prepared to analyze potential ROI and risks associated with actions in social media. Talking through social will bring consumers closer to your business and position your company as being different than the competition.