Why Companies Should Embrace The Groundswell

By: Andrea Blythe

Twitter: @ablythe23

“The groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions, like corporations.”

- Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

Corporations typically prefer a one-way communication street, where they speak about their business and the consumer simply listens.

A two-way communication stream has developed involving media, where corporations can no longer monitor exactly what the consumer hears, because now the consumers can share their own opinions about businesses and products, for everyone to hear.

Compared to the way things were before web 2.0 developed, the trend of people connecting with and depending on each other is clearly accelerating.

The groundswell is rapidly evolving, which creates an incredible challenge for corporate strategies. The businesses who choose not to fight the groundswell and embrace ideas similar to the Cluetrain Manifesto, are the ones that thrive.

Yes, the groundswell is filled with threats that may not fit well with corporate public relations or marketing plans; but instead of dreading the possibility of a social media platform criticizing companies in a negative light, businesses should embrace the new ability to fix a problem or complaint with interaction and relationship building.

Once a corporation takes advantage of the opportunities groundswell provides, they realize that they can improve communication with customers by listening to their concerns and directing traffic to an appropriate channel or blog post from within the corporation.

Ultimately, the beneficial results of using groundswell outweigh the bad. Social media blogger Laurie Lei highlights that by embracing the web-driven economy, a company can manage customer service, increase sales, and improve its reputation.

5 Ways YOU can join the groundswell:

1. Start your own blog
2. Add ratings & reviews to your site
3. Market through social networks
4. Begin reading blogs surrounding your company and market
5. Participate in relevant conversations by commenting on blogs or videos

Remember: Concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies. Quality always triumphs over quantity.

For more business strategies on how to utilize the groundswell, watch the author of Groundwell, Josh Bernoff, discuss conceptsfrom his other book: Empowered, below.

(photo courtesy of Ashworth Creative)




6 thoughts on “Why Companies Should Embrace The Groundswell

  1. Great blog, so true that developing real relationships is the ultimate goal for a company to be successful using social media. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives and I am excited to see how businesses react and begin using social media in an even greater way.

  2. Great post Andrea. It is interesting to observe companies/businesses that do not take on social media compared to those who do. It is so important for companies to join the groundswell and start forming and keeping good relationships with their customers.

  3. I definitely agree with you Annie. I think your advice for how to participate in the groundswell is spot on. While I see why companies are initially skeptical, social media provides a great way for organizations to communicate with consumers and build up trust and relationships with them. If done well, social media can be helpful in dealing with the issues that the public may have. I also think it is a good idea for companies to have a social media policy readily available therefore it is clear from the beginning how the organization is going to handle comments and responses.

  4. I love that we now have a two-way communication stream and that companies are starting to embrace it. An example that I think of is Domino’s pizza commercials and advertising that are all about changing to overcome complaints they have got from consumers.
    Also, your 5 tips are super helpful and are a great way to start interacting and connecting with others via social media.

  5. I really enjoyed your quote, “Quality always triumphs over quantity.” I think numerous companies and organizations should really consider the quality of their social media instead of just quantity. Too often I see companies that have their hands in every single social media technology: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. They may be present in all of these outlets but in reality they are probably barely there. It’s better to just focus on one or two social media sites at first and develop great relationships with your audience than to just have a surface-level presence on all platforms. Once they develop a solid presence on Twitter, for instance, they can move to Facebook and then YouTube.

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