Li and Bernoff (2011) created a planning strategy in joining groundswell called the POST method. The POST method is the “foundation of groundswell thinking — a systematic framework for assembling your plan” (p. 67).
POST is an acronym that stands for people, objective, strategy, and technology:
People – This first step allows companies to determine how their clients or customers will engage based on their groundswell strategy. A social technographic profile is one option a company can use to assess how different demographics(people) are engaging in groundswell. One example is an accounting firm. Individuals and business owners who are looking for financial services are the key target market of these accounting firms. As we can see from the social technographics below, this demographic is using groundswell as joiners and spectators.
Objective – This step asks companies to make sure that companies have clear objectives because “it is the key to a successful strategy”. There are five objectives that companies can pursue in groundswell:
- Listening – “Use the groundswell for research and to better understand your customers. This goal is best suited for companies that are seeking customer insights for use in marketing and development” (p. 68).
- Talking – “Use the groundswell to spread message about your company. Choose this goal if you’re ready to extend you current digital marketing initiatives to a more interactive channel” (p. 68).
- Energizing – “Find your most enthusiastic customers, and use the groundswell to supercharge the power of their word of mouth. This works best for companies that know that they have brand enthusiasts to energize” (p. 68)
- Supporting – “Set up groundswell tools to help your customers support each other. This is effective for companies with significant support costs and customers who have a natural affinity for each other” (p. 69).
- Embracing – “Integrate your customers into the way your business works, including using their help to design your products” (p. 69).
For an accounting firm, the best objective to use is #2. Since there are many restrictions when it comes to advertising and soliciting, the best way to spread their brand or a message would be to have word of mouth do it for them. Examples are using social media and forums to reach out to potential clients.
Strategy – This step is concerned on how companies will manage its relationship with its customers. Using “talking objective” helps the company by using current clients as messenger to carry messages(word of mouth advertising) to potential clients.
Technology – Once we figure out the people, objective, and strategy, we can now focus on the technology that we want to use. For an accounting firm, I believe the best medium to use is social media, and forums. Since 47% are joiners, many of the target market are always joining the internet/media bandwagon, therefore, there is a high chance that they would be on Facebook, Instagram, etc…
Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing