Listening to the Groundswell

For my Social Media for PR course, three classmates and I gave a presentation on the “Listening” chapter of  Groundswell. In this post I’m going to give an overview of what the Groundswell is and the sections of the chapter I was responsible for presenting.

The Groundswell is all about using forums, blogs and social media to learn more about products and services, rather than using search engines or going directly to the businesses’ websites. Customers listen to friends’ recommendations as well as reviews found on forums and blogs. This is an important notion for businesses to realize because they need to have an ear out for what consumers are saying through those various outlets about their products and services because brands are what customers say they are. YouTube can act as one of those resources where consumers are having conversations as you may well know that many customers will post product reviews, especially for products like cell phones, tablets and laptops.

Here are six reasons the book offers why businesses should begin listening to the Groundswell:

1. Find out what your brand stands for.

2. Understand how buzz is shifting.

3. Save research money; increase research responsiveness.

4. Find the sources of influences in your market.

5. Manage PR crises.

6. Generate new product and marketing ideas.

Image Credit: “y2.d7 l that edit girl by B Rosen

The following are four ways the books says that businesses can begin listening to the Groundswell:

1. Check the Social Technographics Profile of your customers.

2. Start small, think big.

3. Make sure your listening vendor has dedicated an experienced team to your effort.

4. Choose a senior person to interpret the information and integrate it.

Now that you know why and how to listen to the Groundswell, let’s take a look at what the book says about how listening will change your business or organization:

1. It’s likely to change the power structure of your organization.

2. The instant availability of information from customers can become like a drug that companies can become addicted to.

3. Listening to the groundswell will relentlessly reveal your stupidity. When customers can complain, bitterly and accurately, about the way you do business and you can measure and quantify their complaints, it’s hard to deny your own flaws. The constituency for stupid policies and products will evaporate in the face of highly visible customer feedback.

4. You may think that listening is the easiest way to engage with the groundswell because it’s low risk– it doesn’t require you to put yourself into the conversation. But while listening is part of a conversation, every conversation includes talking as well…So if you’re listening now, expect to be talking soon, too.

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