Tapping the groundswell with Twitter


Hello again readers!


In the book this week was on the topic of Twitter and how you can tap into the groundswell if you decided to use it. Over the past few years, the use of social technology has exploded into a whole new way of keeping connected with others. Thus, the trend to follow was with organizations adopting it as a new channel to connect with its market. Of the many out there, Twitter has become one of the largest, allowing for its users to post short public messages directed at whatever content they wish, while allowing for the message to be shared by whoever may see it. Described as being an “ecosystem of interactions”, it consists of the following elements (some of which are color coordinated to the image above):


  • Followers – “A follower is another Twitter account that has followed you to receive your Tweets in their Home timeline.” (Twitter, 2017)


  • Hashtags and searches – “A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click or tap on a hashtag, you’ll see other Tweets containing the same keyword or topic.” (Twitter, 2017)


  • Mentions and retweets – “Mentioning other accounts in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention.” Also refers to Tweets in which your @username was included. A Tweet that you forward to your followers is known as a Retweet. Often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter, Retweets always retain original attribution.” (Twitter, 2017)


  • LinksLinks are web addresses in which users can add to tweets to increase the value and power of the message. “You can share an article or anything else on the web along with a note recommending it… These links, videos and photos make twitter far richer than just text updates”. (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 199)


  • Lists – “From your own account, you can create a group list of other Twitter accounts by topic or interest (e.g., a list of friends, coworkers, celebrities, athletes). Twitter lists also contain a timeline of Tweets from the specific accounts that were added to the list, offering you a way to follow individual accounts as a group on Twitter.” (Twitter, 2017)


  • Apps and tools – There are many apps that associate with Twitter as a result of it content being open to the public. This allowed for the creation of many apps and tools in which allows for twitter content to be analyzed in different ways. One of the examples mentioned by Li and Bernoff (2011) is TweetDeck, a free application for collecting your mentions and searches into columns in a full screen interface to make responding to them easier.


Prior to entering the world of Twitter, Li and Bernoff (2011) once again says you should ask yourself the question “what do you want to use it for?”. By participating in Twitter and it’s elements, organizations can use it to help achieve the objectives in their strategy, of which have been described in my previous blogs. With this, the chapter closes with some advice to consider when your business decides to use of Twitter:


  • Lock up your handle – If someone else obtains and tweets from your handle (i.e. business name) before you are able to get it, you will most likely be misrepresented and your consumers being subject to imposter information. Luckily to help prevent this Twitter has a “verified account” feature that brands and individuals can use to ensure the handles belong to a real company/person.


  • Listen first – “Know what people are tweeting about you before you start posting” (Li & Bernoff, 2011 p. 2010)


  • Be ready to support people – “Consumers will expect your Twitter handle to support them… You need a procedure to identify tweeters who need help and hand them off to your customer service or technical support group” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210)


  • Follow others – To be able to “direct message” people, you must be a follower of that handle. It is also “…a best practice for providing support where people need to share personal information with you” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 210).


  • Be ready for a crisis – People will look to your account when something goes wrong. A plan is needed that allows your Twitter handle to act as an information channel for the public when crisis arise, regardless of what your initial objective was for your Twitter account. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)


  • Respond, retweet, and link – Respond to people tweeting you; retweet or mention posts that your followers will find interesting; link interesting material on your site as Twitter handles that lack this participation only frustrate your customers. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)


  • Staff it – Twitter needs to be in somebody’s job description, whether it’s the “…marketers, PR people, or support people, their job description should allow time in their day for tweeting” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 2011).


  • Check legal and regulatory – Since all Tweets are of public speech, are searchable, and can be linked/shared, such statements that are inappropriate to publish are also deemed inappropriate for Twitter. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)


  • Having gathered a following, don’t waste it – If your building interest in an account, make sure to create a plan for what to do once you’re finished using it. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)


With this information, I would hope I have given you some insight into the online world of Twitter, as well as some guiding points to help make your handle successful.


Until next blog,


  • Jordan



Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell expanded and revised: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.


Twitter. (2017). Twitter glossary. Retrieved from https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337#


POST Process

This week in the groundswell we looked at a four-step planning process, known as the POST method, that looks at the people, objective, strategy, and technology aspects of your business to help build your groundswell strategy. The POST method, broken down into each step, is as follows:

  1. People The first step in utilizing the POST method is to look at your people. In this step, you will want to ask the question “What are your customers ready for?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 67). This is important because to utilize the groundswell effectively you must know your audience and how they engage and interact with the online community. For example, if your audience does not understand or use social media, such as Facebook, it would be pointless to try to engage with them though that channel.


  1. Objectives – According to Li & Bernoff (2011), the next step that you will want to take is with asking yourself the question “[w]hat are your goals?”. This is where you would look at whether you want to utilize the groundswell for external purposes (i.e. increase marketing by talking or generate sales by energizing customers), or internal (i.e. help your employees work together more efficiently). This section consists of five specific objectives that you can choose from:
  • Listening – “Use the groundswell for research and to be understand your customers” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68)
  • Talking – “Use the groundswell to spread messages about your company” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68)
  • Energizing – “Find your most enthusiastic customers, and use the groundswell to supercharge the power of their word of mouth” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68)
  • Supporting – “Set up groundswell tools to help your customers support each other” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 69)
  • Embracing – “Integrate your customers into the way your business works, including using their help to design your products” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 69)


  1. Strategy – The third part of the POST method addresses your strategy by asking the question “How do you want relationships with your customers to change?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68). For example, you can either aim to have the customers help by spreading the word about your company, or you can aim to have these customers be more engaged with the company.


  1. Technology – The final aspect of the POST method is technology. This is where the question “What applications should you build?” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 68) is asked and an organization decides on the appropriate technology (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) to interact with the people, go forth with their strategy, and work towards the organizations objective.


To put this method into perspective, let’s refer to RBC from some of my previous blogs. Using this, we’ll first look at the people. In terms of the who they target, it can be considered pretty general. Any person old enough to do banking and who chooses to bank at RBC is considered their target market. Looking at the Canadian Social Technographic Profile, the main users are more likely to be spectators at 64 percent, Joiners at 57 percent, and critics and 29 percent. So, when determining who to target, RBC would be best suited to focusing on these key groups.

One of the key objectives that RBC should focus on is talking. Using this, the organization would be able to create stronger two-way communication with their customers to bring awareness to what RBC offers, new marketing campaigns, and to increase customer interest and interaction.

The strategy that RBC should implement will include getting the customers more involved in the organization through conversations about hot topics, future marketing campaigns, changes to certain aspects of the company, etc. This will allow customers to provide insight into what they think, as well as potentially even suggest new ideas for the company to consider.

As for the last step in the process, RBC should be trying to utilize their social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to the full extent. This will help to increase the communication between the organization and customers allowing the organization to introduce and participate in a variety of conversation topics to help obtain their customers attention, as well as create some polls/surveys to get input on new ideas, how to improve, etc.


Until next week,

Jordan Fewer



Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell expanded and revised: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.