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