Listening, Give It A Try

Throughout this chapter they discussed the importance of listening to the groundswell and how it can change your organization for the better. The groundswell holds a large amount of power due to the countless individuals who openly communicate their feelings towards certain products and services. Through social media an organization’s reputation could be strengthened or weakened depending on consumers thoughts and experiences. When an organization decides to properly listen to the groundswell opportunities of improvement and innovation can arise leading to higher customer satisfaction.

In the text they talk about how “your brand is what your customers say it is” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.78). This is a great example of how organizations can either become successful or a disaster depending on consumer’s reactions. If you want to ensure you have a strong brand you need to be able to meet your target markets needs and be constantly updating your product to stay relevant in todays continuously changing market, this can be done through listening. There are two main strategies that can be used to help organizations focus their listening tactics. The first is to set up a private community where focus groups can take place and direct insight can be provided. The second is to begin brand monitoring; this is where organizations hire a company to collect data by scanning social media websites and developing reports on their findings. This strategy is the most beneficial when the Social Technographics Profile indicates that 15 percent or more of your consumers are both Creators and Critics (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Creators and Critics are essential to listen to when gathering information on your organization. They give a strong public personal opinion, which allows other consumers to join in on the conversation and voice their own approval or concerns about an organization and their products and services. This is where a large amount of market research is generated.

When interested in a product I personally will turn to social media to see the reviews and blogs wrote by consumers about their experience with the organization and the product. I mainly do this when I am looking to buy something online and am unsure about the reliability of the company. By reading other consumers feedback I can get a good sense of who the organization is and the quality of their products. Although there is usually negative feedback posted as well it is easy to decipher what organizations to trust through comments left by fellow consumers. The groundswell is a great tool for consumers to utilize but also an easy way for organizations to gain insight on customer satisfaction.

By listening to the public an organization can start too experience a great amount of change. All feedback provided by the groundswell can be analyzed allowing for educated decisions to made. This will allow changes to be made that are best suited to creating customer satisfaction and a competitive advantage within the market. Organizations have the ability to take advantage of the groundswell and use it for their benefit. It provides them with the opportunity to thoroughly understand their target market and better meet the needs of their consumers.

References:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Massachusettes: Harvard Business Review Press.

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Instagram’s Opportunities

Groundswell brings up lots of good points when talking about how to appeal to the right type of consumer.  It was interesting to see the examples that were brought up throughout the chapter of organizations determining if groundswell is the right choice for their targeted market.  The one I found the most interesting is on the support for obesity.  Today’s society more than ever is focused on having fitness goals and social media plays a huge role in marketing for these organizations.  “Obesity treatment and weight loss depend heavily on support” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.59) which is how the online chat rooms and blogs have become so popular for many people.  The creators and conversationalists in this category have grown astronomically throughout the years and due to that the joiners and spectators have as well.  I took a different approach to this blog and analyzed the target market of Instagram.

Instagram, a strict upload of short videos and photos has taken over the social media spectrum and become a way for consumers to not just interact with their friends but to promote their company’s products and services.  “Over 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35, which makes it an attractive platform for many apparel, entertainment, and media brands focused on the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket” (Smith, 2014).  The fitness aspect has severely grown due to Instagram and has allowed fitness promoters to easily create and access their target market through social media.  The way they have reached their consumers is through showing them numerous videos and recipes of how to have a healthier lifestyle.  Instagram is much like promoting by word of mouth but through social media.  To explain, on Instagram you follow friends, family members, organizations and celebrities and when they like something it shows up on your newsfeed.  This allows you to know which pages have had your friend’s stamp of approval.  This marketing tool has allowed for rapid growth within the fitness industry.  What many trainers have started doing is marketing their online blogs, meal plans and works out plans to the public by showing before and after pictures of themselves and pre-existing clients to draw in consumers.  Trainers have taken advantage of the accessibility of social media and used it to start their own businesses from home.  Once you join these blogs (for a fee) you are able to ask the trainer questions and also associate with others on the same program as yourself.  This is what they call an online support system.  It helps keep people on track and motivated by talking to others and finding out what worked best for them.  By following these trainers on Instagram cookies imbed and more fitness related pages start to appear in your newsfeed making it easier for organizations to reach their target market.

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I personally have downloaded a couple different packages that I had seen on Instagram  but they have proven to be ineffective for me.  I feel that personally I would still be considered a spectator.  The majority of the time I spend on social media is to see what everyone else is doing and looking to find new techniques to improve my lifestyle through others posts.  Many people who have jumped on the fitness bandwagon this past year have taken it upon themselves to start posting about their journey due to the influence of others.  People are slowly starting to make the move from being spectators and joiners into critics, conversationalists, and creators which has led to the growth of Instagram and social media as a whole.

An organization that has identified their target market to be demographically between the ages of 18-35 and have a geographic segmentation that is limitless has the opportunity to utilize Instagram and reap the benefits of offering products and services online.  The proven success of reaching ones target market through Instagram is astronomical allowing for more and more people to climb up the Social Technographics ladder and be an active participant in the growth of an organization.

References:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Massachusettes:   Harvard Business Review Press.

Smith, C. (2014, August 17). Here’s Why Instagram’s Demographics Are So Attractive To Brands. Retrieved February 7, 2015, from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-demographics-2013-12

The Effects of Social Media

Through reading the article by Andreas M. Kaplan & Michael Haenlein, Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media it reinstates the significant growth of social media and the effective it has on not just organizations but on peoples everyday lives. Our society today has become so dependent on the Internet and its applications that we do not realize the extreme advances that have taken place over the years. We have just continually adapted to the changes because they seem to make our life easier and more organized. This is always a topic that interests me because I continually think about the future and wonder what’s next. For I am not much of an innovator myself I have difficulty seeing things evolving more then they already have but I know that someone somewhere has a vision and a plan and truthfully that can be unsettling.

Social media has taken the world by storm and has been able to be implemented in all different aspects of our lives.  It is a tool “that makes those connections more interesting, more varied, or more frequent, it as a good potential for adoption” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.36).  Currently at work we find it extremely useful when hiring. It allows a more efficient way to attract talent and scan through large amounts of resumes in a short amount of time. We post on social media sites such as Linkedin and Twitter when we are looking to fill a position and are able to receive applications from all over the province. Although this is the way industry has gone I still struggle with the limited personalization of it all. Considering my age my resistance may seem odd towards the automated online systems and effortless applications but I feel that more and more the creations of networks and personal connections are leaving society. I still feel more confident in applying for a job if I can drop off my resume face to face with a manager or employee and make a professional impression. The system themselves also can have many glitches and applying for jobs can be lengthy and frustrating online. While attending job fairs and asking about potential jobs they direct us to keep an eye on their website and create a profile. Soon networking events such as these job fairs are going to start to deteriorate because of the utilization of Internet applications and social media advertising.

When looking at society as a whole it grows frustrating for people of all ages are continually stuck on their devices. It is difficult to make it through a supper with a group of friends without someone being on their phone and not interacting with the people around them. People don’t know how to not be connected anymore. The virtual game worlds that have been created now allow people to recreate themselves in being whom ever they want online. They can live viciously through these webpages and even make money off them. This is causing people to completely become unglued from society and lose their ability to interact in a normal social setting. This is not the only issue though; kids are now glued to their social media and lose the essence of just being young. Kids having access to these sites such as Instagram are causing them to have misconceptions about their appearance, hobbies and life in general.  The authors were spot on when they stated, “Obviously, Mobile Social Media does not come without a price. Some would argue that while it enables the detailed following of friends half-way across the world, it can foster a society where we don’t know the names of our own next-door neighbours” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Even as an adult I have found that these social media pages have influenced me in ways I never could have imagine and I can relate to what the authors are saying.  I do not go anywhere without my phone, and when alone in public it is highly unlikely for me to not be on my mobile device.  Like so many others it is in my comfort zone, no awkward conversations have to be had and you can zone out the world around you. When you think about it it is very sad, there are many missed opportunities and conversations thanks to hand held technology.

The article had predicted the future of social media quite well and I have no doubt that it continues to grow just as rapidly in the future. The Internet has definitely made lives easier and the pros in organizations and ones personal life can be seen to out weigh the cons. Organizations and individuals no longer have the ability to hide their misdoings for the amount of users online allows information to go viral in a matter of seconds. It has made organizations more cautious, and given individuals the ability to have a voice. In the future I do feel that I will learn to utilize the Internet and its applications to a greater extend and start to see more benefits coming from it professionally. The way I see it is this is the way society is moving and you either jump on the train and learn to utilize and appreciate the innovations or you get left in the dust ultimately failing trying to keep the face to face interactions a priority. Although it may prove to be difficult in the future I will strive to keep my connections with friends and family as personal and meaningful as possible because that is one thing I do have the ability to control, for now..

References

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons , 53.

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Massachusettes: Harvard Business Review Press.