Embracing the Groundswell
First and foremost, the authors of Groundswell are really good marketers. The entire book they present situations and problems that you didn’t even realize you had, discuss how horrible your business is going to be because you’re not doing something, make you start freaking out and re-evaluating your entire strategic plan and any knowledge you thought you had on social media, and then as soon as you’re on the brink of thinking you’re a failure they propose this company that they just happen to know of that just might happen to solve all of your problems in the blink of an eye with a small fee. Hmmm…. I wonder how many expensive dinners were had determining which companies would be named in each chapter and how many times throughout the whole book? Everything just seems to be so perfectly set up. Carrying on. The chapter regarding ratings and reviews on websites was spot on. I, personally, won’t buy something if I don’t have at least one review to read beforehand. And for all I know, the person writing it could be either some idiot who doesn’t know what he or she is talking about or they could have been a third party endorser, but I still find it comforting to read something besides the product description. People don’t want to hear from you or your company; they want to hear things from other customers. Like the book mentioned, if you hear it from one person it makes it sound more credible, and if you hear it from five to ten other people then it’s got to be true.
In the College of Business we use Constant Contact as our email marketing system, and I’ll be honest I’ve never heard of their “ConnectUp!” community. I also attended a Constant Contact seminar last month and neither was it mentioned there. We were told about their online chat, support phone lines, help search bars, etc., but never was there a mention about an opportunity for other Constant Contact customers to get together in their own community. Now that I know about it, I will definitely look into it and see what other people are talking about when I have technical difficulties or other issues. Sometimes you just don’t want to hear step by step instructions from someone on the other end of a phone line, you would much rather read about someone else who is in the same boat as you and how they managed to row to shore.
Like the CBS Jericho example, I agree that companies are now starting to realize the power of the groundswell and how they have to work with them instead of against them. It’s not going to stop so everyone might as well embrace it.
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Levenshus’ article regarding the case study of Obama’s campaign kind of goes hand in hand, in my opinion, with Thackery’s article about youth advocacy. “Some campaigns now use the Internet to empower supporters to do traditional grassroots activities like hosting events, fundraising, and registering voters” (Levenshus, p. 313). This website shows a really good breakdown of Obama’s social media campaign as compared to McCain’s campaign.
“Providing opportunities for youth to successfully participate in social change, giving them a voice, and be involved in civic affairs may develop a generation of youth who carry these skills into adulthood” (Thackery, p. 578). “Giving them a voice” is the most important part of that statement. A lot of young adults feel that their input either isn’t heard or won’t actually see any change from it. But if you utilize an outlet such as SNS that they feel comfortable using then enough people can get together and create a strong voice, kind of in a similar manner that the Jericho fans did to get the attention of the producers.