The traditional marketing funnel is no longer the be all end all of marketing. Yelling at your customers to try and herd them down the path of purchase not as affective as it once was. The groundswell is dictating more and more what customers see and hear. Sure a big ad campaign may grab the attention of a potential customer but once they start their research, and believe me they will hit up Google, they can see what others are saying about not only the product but you as an organization. Sure you may have a superior product, but some questionable business dealings or allegations on social media sites could lead the potential customer away.
This is why it is important to talk to the groundswell as an organization. You need to have a presence so that you can at least contribute to what is being said about you and respond. That means if you post a video, blog, or photo you need to monitor the activities with it. Respond to comments, engage feedback and keep an open communication in the groundswell. There are some easy ways to start the conversation: post a viral video, use social networks and user-content sites, blog, and create a community (Bernoff & Li, 2011).
So which one should you use to start the conversation? You need to decide what your communication problem is. If you need to get in front of your audience because they are unaware of you then a viral video is the best approach for you (Bernoff & Li, 2011). Creating a smart viral video can create a fast spreading message and attract customers to your websites and other groundswell Medias. If you have a word of mouth problem then social networks and user content make the most sense (Bernoff & Li, 2011). You can engage the consumer on their turf and have two-way conversations, reaching more and more as they can see your responses. Maybe you are trying to relay complex information or have such a widespread product offering that you need to cater the information to the audience, blogs will be your answer (Bernoff & Li, 2011). You can adjust your message and the blogger to fill each audience need and be able to address numerous topics with your blogs. You can use all 4 of these conversation starters or start off with one and see where it takes you. Whatever you do make sure you have plan and once you plant the conversation seed take care of it. You need to spend more time watering the seed and making sure it has light to grow then you did planting it. As always, consistency pays off in the groundswell. Here is a quick and easy list of social media mistakes to refresh your memory.
Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2011). groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.