Chapter 4 of Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (2011), throws light on how companies should develop strategies to build their social media activity. The authors have developed a four step planning process known as POST Process. This method is “a systematic framework for assembling your plan” (LI & Bernoff, 2011, p. 67). This stands for People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology.
People: This step assesses how your customers will engage in social activities, in relation to what is being done currently. It involves using the Social Technographics Profile (explained in my previous blog). Technographics give information about a target market and their behaviours. In relation to Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s largest departmental retail store and I am currently a part-time employee, their target market ranges from babies to seniors. Some customers are inactive and some are very active in social media. These individuals join social media to keep up to date with the latest trend and seek vital information related to particular products/ brands.
Objectives: This step is where an organization would set goals to accomplish for groundswell activities after a certain time frame. They should include:
- Listening- Use the groundswell for research and to better understand your customers.
- Talking- Spreading a message and increase interaction between business and consumer.
- Energizing- Engage with enthusiasts, and make use of word of mouth advertising.
- Supporting– Support goals and set up tools to help customers support each other. E.g. rating and reviewing other companies about a service/ product.
- Embracing- Integrate your customers in the way one’s business functions, and using their help design your products.E.g. contests involving customers to design a product and when they win, their product gets published or advertised (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
One of Hudson’s Bay objective would be to increase Energizing, Listening and Talking. Taking the customer’s opinions into consideration and applying it, then spreading the word, this would generate a positive image in the society for the company, hence generate more sales (explained in my Listening blog). Currently Hudson’s Bay uses social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to communicate with its target market.
Strategy: This step is one of the most important ones. It determines how you want your message to be sent across to your customers, how they should engage in your company and what changes are needed to be done, if necessary, in order to stand out in the crowd and be successful. Hudson’s Bay main strategy would be to listen and act on responses from their customers in the social networking sites of their target market ideas and concerns. This will help build relationships with customers with engagement. This will also help gain a competitive advantage in the competitive industry.
Technology: This step is only done after the first three are completed. It requires you to choose technologies as your application tools, e.g. blogs, wikis, social networks, etc. Using more than technologies is ideal to achieve goals because the target market uses several technologies. Hudson’s Bay, a blog such as WordPress could be used with the latest trends on fashion. Additionally, with blogs, customers can interact with each other on certain products. Its social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter will aid with promotion of new products and events such as new store openings and charity events, that would eventually reach their target audience.
Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.