Talking with the groundswell is different from marketing:
Marketing: there are two main methods used in marketing, advertising and public relations. Advertising is measured by the number of people reached and the frequency. On the other hand, public relations aims at exposures in free media. Here is the marketing funnel that describes how consumers march down the path from awareness to purchase and loyalty.
The stages in the funnel include awareness, consideration, preferences, action and loyalty. Shouting (Advertising) gathers buyers at the big end of the funnel. While activities in the middle try to pull them down to the purchase. If you are lucky they come out the other end as customers. However, a 2007 report from Forrester analysis confirmed that the funnel has outlived its purpose in the business world and has been replaced by social technographics profile “‘Face it: marketers no longer dictate the path people take, nor do they lead the dialogue. Once people are aware of your product, a new dynamic kicks in: people learning from each other” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 102). Nowadays, customers in the middle are engaged in the conversations on blogs, discussion forms, and social networks. Your company can get engaged in these areas, but don’t forget that shouting doesn’t work. Conversations do.
Techniques for talking with the groundswell:
There are a lot of techniques used to talking with the groundswell, but here are the most effective ones:
- Post a viral video– posting an interesting video online. One that viewers would want to share. If people are unaware of your company, viral videos can help in brand recognition.
- Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites– This approach helps the company create a personality within the social networking sites. Thus it is used to expand the brand reach. Although this might be viewed as one of the cheapest and simplest ways. Yet, companies might find it challenging to creating and maintaining conversations
- Join the blogosphere– companies can empower executive and staff to join the blogosphere. Not only by writing blogs, but also by listening and responding to other blogs.
- Creating a community– this is a powerful technique of delivering the message to your customers and creating a continuous engagement. Once they are engaged, they will help spread the word.
Branding on social networks isn’t for everyone. Here are some advises on deciding whether you should use social networking to talk with your potential customers:
Use Social Technograghics Profile: using this tool helps you verify that your potential customers are present online. If around half of your target are joiners then it makes sense to create a Facebook or Twitter account. Keep in mind that age makes a lot of difference.
Move forward if people love your brand: if your brand is loved and you have loyal customer who would friend you than you can move to the next step.
See what’s out there already: some brand already has pages and networks even before the company gets involved. They are usually created by fans of the brand. This should be viewed as a bonus to encourage the company to create their own page.
Create a presence that encourages interaction: your fans want to connect with you through the social network you created. Pay attention to what are you providing them that would keep them engaged. Once that is done, they will spread your message.
Keep in mind: no matter what your company does, who it sells to, or what parts of the world you do business in, people are blogging about your product.
Tips for successful blogging:
Before you even start your blog, you should “want” to be engaged in dialogue with you customers. This is because blogging requires effort and commitment. Another prerequisite is knowing whom you want to reach (people) and exactly what you want to achieve (objective). Once you are at this stage, here are some suggestions for starting the dialogue:
- Start by listening: listening to what is going on out there before you join. This will give you a better understating of what customers are looking for and how to engage with them. You can do so by monitoring competitor’s blogs site.
- Determine a goal for the blog: this give you a better focus as to where you want to go and how are you planning to utilize the blog.
- Estimate the ROL: determine how the blog is going to pay off and how much it costs.
- Develop a plan: determine how many authors are going to be blogging and who has the right to blog.
- Rehearse: writing a few practice blogs gives you an idea of what topics can be covered in the future and what should be changed.
- Develop an editorial process: figure out someone who is willing to go over the blogs is always a good idea. Also, ensure a backup person to review the blogs in case the other ones are not available.
- Designed the blog and its connection to your site: decide whether you should feature the blog on the company’s website. If so, how would you design it?
- Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog: it is a good idea to start with traditional marketing methods to point people in the direction of your blogs. You may also want to buy words on search engines.
- Remember, the blogging is more than writing: it not only about writing you should also monitor the blogosphere and responding to the content out there.
- Final advice: be honest: blogs are not like any other networks. Here people are expected to be real. Talk about both the bad and good to boost your credibility.
Which of the four ways of talking to the groundswell works for you?
The decision is based on what your communication problem is, which, in turn, based on what your customers are doing in the middle of the funnel. Here is a match of each problem to its appropriate technique:
- Awareness problem: this is when people don’t know about your company or brand. For this, the viral videos are the best choice, but remember it is not as easy because you need a unique idea to get people engaged.
- Word-of-mouth problem: this is when people lack communication and you cannot spread the message through them. For this, social networks are the best choice.
- Complexity problem: this is when your company have a complicated message to communicate. For example, multiple set of of customers, complex products or services. For this issue, blogging would be the best choice. This is because it helps with consideration and reassure people before, during and after the sale.
- Accessibility problem: this describes a situation where you customers are buried deep in the funnel where you can’t reach them at all. For this issue, creating a community.
Have you figured out what your problem is? And which technique you need to successfully talk to the groundswell? Share your thoughts with me …
Google. (n.d). Marketing funnel [Diagram]. Retrieved from: http://marketing-made-simple.com/static/images/articles/purchase-funnel/forester-purchase-funnel.gif
Google. (n.d). Talking to the groundswell [image]. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/images/r7xfRT
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. massachusetts, boston, united states of america: forrester research, inc.