Psychic income… sounds weird doesn’t it? It seems like it’s not real, but it is and it is happening in the groundswell every day. The groundswell has demonstrated that people like to turn to other people for advice, help, product reviews, opinions and random bits of information. Support forums, wikis, and question & answer sites are all places in the groundswell that produce psychic income.
Forums can be used to help lessen the load of customer service centres by having a place where people can post their questions or search out answers. Wikis act as a place to store mass amounts of information about a company and your products. Question and answer sites allow for questions to be asked and answered by anyone. The best thing about these options is that some or all of the content is supplied by existing customers or subject matter experts for free. Your company should still monitor the information to ensure that customers are not being giving faulty advice or that a false impression of your company is being put forth.
These groundswell activities will not remove the need for customer service. They will take human effort to monitor and contribute and don’t forget about the initial startup costs to actually create these sites. In all, helping the groundswell grow and support itself will make sense for most companies. Once you have created them you need to get your customers to use them. This plays back into knowing the social technographic profile of your target audience. It is also good to check and see if what you want to create doesn’t already exist. If it does, join it and save yourself the startup costs.
Like any activity in social media marketing you need to have a plan. Make sure whatever you create is scalable so you can grow as needed. You need to get people to your site and continue to build the reputation of the system. Pay close attention to what your customers are saying and have them direct where the forum will go.
A great example of a wiki is catawiki. This started as a site for cataloging comic book collections for collectors (catawiki). The wiki was published in the Dutch language it quickly expanded to other languages and products and has been offering online auctions since 2011 (wikipedia). Catawiki monitors the auctions and ensures a high level of quality (catawiki). The example shows how you need to have scalability in your product and let your customers lead you to where they want to go with it.
Creating, contributing and monitoring these communities is a great way to help the groundswell grow and continue to support itself.
(n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catawiki
(n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from catawiki: https://www.catawiki.com/help/about
Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2011). groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.