Feb 25, 2009

Groundswell Blook Report:Chapter Seven-Energizing the groundswell

Groundswell is broken down into three parts. Part two (chapters 4-9) focus on tapping the groundswell. The authors provide advice and a strategic framework on how to do this.

Chapter 7: Energizing the groundswell

FriendFeed Room: Chapter Seven reference links and case studies from the book. Join the room and start a conversation.

Feature Video: Constant Contact: Creating B2B Communities, Josh Bernoff

Feature Presentation: Online Community Best Practices, Jeremiah K. Owyang

Slides 5-11: Start with an objective
Slides 12-20: Developing a plan
Slides 21-25: Getting your company ready
Slides 26-28: Staff you will need
Slides 29-31: How to pick a vendor
Slides 32-34: Kick-starting
Slides 35-41: Growing and maintaining
Slides 42-47: Widgets and Open Social
Slide 48: Recommendations

What I learned:
1) Word of mouth/mouse is critical when it comes to energizing your groundswell. If your customer base’s Social Technographics Profile over-indexes in the critics segment then you have a base of people who are high potential energizers. Remember, if you want to an energized base you’re going to have to let the chips fall where they may. So, if someone says your product sucks then swallow your pride and find out why IN THE community. Others may come to your rescue with other points of view. Reach out to people, especially the Jim Noble’s of the world who will provide you with authentic feedback and ideas. Hey, and they love to help and be heard.

2) Use energizing to help buyers reduce purchase risk and cognitive dissonance. eBags uses reviews as a way to get around a consumer not being able to touch and feel the bag in a retail store. This is essentially how eBay works in some respects.

3) B2B markets are fertile ground to establish a community and then as Captain Kirk would say “Energize” it. Why is that?

First, b2b buyers (especially those who evaluate and buy technology) have taken social media like a duck to water. They are using social media in their professional and personal lives.

Second, b2b buyers have a lot in common and they look for people who are in the same boat as they are. They need a place to bump into people who are and who have experienced the problems they are experiencing in their business. Online communities are a great place to bring these people with common interests together. If you’re a vendor selling stuff to these folks get involved but don’t be fake, don’t spam and don’t sell. Engage, encourage, listen, learn and figure out where and how to belong.

Third, if your a technology manufacturer or systems integrator, your buyers are looking for relevant content. The problem is that 58% of the time they can’t find it. Social media can help fill those gaps.

4) Whatever stage you are at in building your groundswell you must have commitment from the senior leaders in your company. They should take a long term view and realize that as you progress through the groundswell objectives (listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing) your potential risk increases as does the level of commitment. But, the potential reward does too!

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