In this week’s reading, we’re taught how to “energize” consumers in the groundswell. That is, learning how to locate enthusiastic consumers (or convert those unhappy consumers to happy ones) in order for them to pass on a company’s positive image through word of mouth. According to the Groundswell, creators and critics play a critical role. They are the ones who will be doing the talking, and at little cost for a company if done right.
I find energizing to be the most interesting strategy in utilizing the groundswell because it just makes sense. In today’s world of social media, people are always talking, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or reviews. There are opinions, both good and bad. Though it’s important to be aware of the bad press, therefore having to “listen” and “talk” to the groundswell to mediate a crisis, being aware of the good press is just as important. In this day of reblogging, retweeting, and sharing links, digital “word-of-mouth” methods are the key to spreading and uplifting a company’s image. What’s even better is that it takes little effort and is cost-efficient in the long run. Assuming a company is already utilizing the groundswell to talk and listen to consumers, energizing can be seen as an added bonus.
In the case of eBags, they energize their consumers by encouraging those who have purchased their products to write up a review. If there are any bad reviews or a consumer contacts eBags directly with complaints, eBags makes sure to compensate those consumers with new bags or fix their problems. With such great customer service, consumers may then reciprocate by writing an enthusiastic review on both the service and/or product. Other consumers will then read those reviews, decide to make a purchase, and perhaps may even write their own review. It’s an endless cycle of energizing.
Another way to energize according to the Groundswell, is participating in online communities of your brand’s enthusiasts. In the case of Adult Fans of Legos (AFOLs), they started their own community, with no ties to the actual company. Rather then Lego having to start its own community and try to get those enthusiasts to move on over, it worked with the self-made community and created a Lego Ambassador program. The most influential of the AFOLs would then be selected as Lego Ambassadors, who worked with Lego to improve and design new products. I found this way of energizing important because the Groundswell teaches companies not to start a community if one already exists. That would only be a waste of resources. Therefore a company should use the Social Technographics Profile to locate their consumers, analyze their situation, and move forward from there on how they approach their energizing.
Overall, energizing is a great idea and can even be done on a small scale. For example, I’ve mentioned that I follow a lot of writers on Twitter. They of course, tend to tweet their works, retweet reviews of their works, and initiate conversations with their fans, which include such people as bloggers, reviewers, and other writers. As a result, these fans will sometimes retweet these writers in excitement, spreading those tweets to their own friends. This then increases the chance of a potential new fan to discover the work of the writer and give it a try. It’s amazing that such a domino effect can happen with a simple tweet or review.