Hello fellow followers!
Well, we have talked about talking and listening objectives with the groundswell, however we must learn how to get people talking and spreading the word! Word of mouth advertising is perhaps the most effective type of advertising; it is regarded as trustworthy, believable, self-reinforcing, and self-spreading. Usually, if a product is worth using it generates a ton of word-of-mouth, as people cannot help but talk about it to their family, friends and colleagues.
This is where our next groundswell POST objective comes in: energizing the groundswell! Energizing means to tap into the power of word of mouth by connecting with your most committed customers and turning them on with your products/services. Here is how you can begin:
- Tap into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews – this works best for retail companies and companies with direct customer contact
- Create a community! This works best for truly passionate customers who have an affinity for one another.
- Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts
Your customers are your best asset. It is therefore important to utilize them to your advantage in order to sell your product or service. Don’t forget, however, that you must take the good with the bad. When your customers write a bad review, address it immediately and take the steps to improve the product or service and satisfy the customer to keep them coming back.
It is important to note that energizing the groundswell is riskier than talking or listing, because now you are dealing with people who are going to talk about your brand. In order to energize your customers you must be prepared for a new way of thinking. Here are some tips:
- Figure out if you WANT to energize the groundswell – energizing works well for customers who are enthusiastic about a product or service; it is not for everybody. If your product or service doesn’t have a strong brand or emotional connection, energizing may not work for you. For example, it may be difficult to get people to be enthusiastic about copy paper or post-it notes.
- Check the social technographic profile of your customers – you need to know how your customers are participating in the groundswell. For example, refer back to the social technographic profile for Westjet. The majority of their target market is spectators (54%). This means that people are listening; they are observing and listening to Westjet’s website, so why not use creators and critics to energize through word of mouth!
- Ask yourself what your customer’s problem is – remember that communities don’t form around your products. For example, at Westjet when a customer has a problem it may be about travel rules rather than the actual service they received.
- Pick a strategy that fits your customers’ social technographics profile and problems – ratings and reviews work well for some companies, especially if their customers are critics.
- Don’t start unless you can stick around for the long haul – like a marriage, a community requires constant adjustments in order to grow and become more rewarding. If you are not in it for the long haul, perhaps think about ugly marriages that have ended because of the lack of long-term effort.
When you energize the groundswell you will realize that your customers expect you to listen! They want a response and they want you to give them what they desire most: information about the company’s present and future products, as well as evidence that they are making a difference.
In summary, in order to energize the groundswell you need to pick out your most committed and enthusiastic customers. These customers act as leaders, providing valuable word of mouth.
We did an interesting activity in our social media marketing class the other day. We were able to extract information from Facebook in order to find the common link in our networks. Look at the image below; you will see clusters of groups. For privacy reasons, I removed the names from the circles. The green circles on the left, however, are my mom and my sister. They connect a large number of family members in the network, therefore I would look to energize them in order to promote my product or service. Knowing who to energize can be difficult, however the benefits are extremely rewarding!