Charlene Li just presented at the Forrester's Consumer Forum 2007. Titled 'Your customers are revolting', Charlene discussed how to better strategize in the social networking environment and ways to better connect with social netwroking participants.
She discussed her upcoming book Groundswell and her definition of the title:
"Groundswell – a spontaneous movement of people connecting, using online tools, taking charge of their own experience, and getting what they need – information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power – from each other."
If you want to be successful in the era of Groundswell, she and her co-author Josh Bernoff created an actionable framework called POST:
P = profile (what are your customers doing in the groundswell?)
O = objectives (what are you trying to accomplish?)
S = strategy (how are you trying to change your relationship with customers?)
T = technology (what social technologies will you use?)
Most brands skip the first three steps and immediately focus on Technology.
Point well taken. It takes a lot of restraint not to focus on the coolness and newness of innovative communication platforms, instead focusing on the people and how they currently interact with and discuss your brand on social platforms.
To give a better framework for more relevant interactions with people, Charlene introduced the Ladder of Participation - People on social platforms display different degrees of participation:
- Creators (They have something important to share - Bloggers)
- Critics (The Tripadvisors and Amazon reviewers of the world)
- Collectors (People that organize information - The Wikipedia editors)
- Joiners (The people that join MySpace and Facebook because their friends are there)
- Spectators (They don't join the conversation - just come by and visit once in a while)
- Inactives - They might have broadband and are tech optimists but they have no interest. Yet. They can join at any moment.
Warning: This is not a segementation technique because these degrees of participation change from brand to brand, from interest to interest. You might be a critic on Amazon reviewing marketing books but a spectator on Facebook while being a creator on your own blog.
According to Charlene, by understanding how your customers utilize social platforms and embracing their needs and desires, you will turn the current customer revolt into reformation.