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There is a wide-spread anxiety amongst companies called the groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome. People affected by this are typically nervous about moving forward in social media. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Strong, and in some cases obsessive, interest in the blogosphere and in online doings at sites like Facebook and YouTube. Repeated forwarding of articles on said topics to fellow sufferers.
  • Excessive salivation upon hearing much-repeated stories of corporations that have developed partnerships with social networking sites, started online communities, or otherwise managed to get held up as winners in news reports and at marketing conferences.
  • Anxiety at the thought of actually participating in social technologies, balanced by similar anxiety at the thought of missing out (Li 66).

Fortunately there is cure for this syndrome called the POST method. “POST” is the foundation of groundswell thinking – a systematic framework for assembling your plan.” (Li 67). POST stands for people, objective, strategy, and technology (Li 67). The POST method asks very important questions for each step.

  • People. “What are your customers ready for?” It is important to evaluate how to involve your customers based on what they’re already doing.
  • Objective.  “What are your goals?” There are five primary objectives that companies need to consider, such as listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing. Entering groundswell with a specific objective is a great start for a company’s strategy.
  • Strategy. “How do you want relationships with your customers to change?” Answering this question helps you measure desired changes for your plan.
  • Technology. “What applications should you build?” Examples include blogs, wikis, and social networks (Li 67-69).

With your strategy, it is also important to think about the consequences of your plan. “If you find your initiatives floundering or changing direction frequently, you need to reexamine your choice of objectives.” (Li 74). This is especially imperative if your customers engage unexpectedly, but by using the POST method, you can quickly diagnose and fix any problems.

Both the Groundswell and Brand Media chapters put great emphasis on researching a target audience.  Joining the world of multi media is a growing and ever-changing environment that needs to be monitored and studied by companies that are wishing to become serious players within the Groundswell.  Antony Young, explores two major reasons for why campaigns fail.  He states, “First, there is not a clear understanding of the goals or the key performance indicators at the outset of the campaign. Second, there is no process for consistently evaluating progress, and so campaigns lack sufficient focus and consistency” (Young 50).

An example of a successful campaign that was brought up in Brand Media Strategy is that of President Obama.  Obama’s goal and audience was to reach out to a younger demographic and get undecided voters to “join” the cause.  What we found to be intriguing about his campaign was how it used Twitter as a way to communicate with the public.  What differs between Obamas use of Twitter and that of Hillary Clinton throughout the campaign was that Obama followed those that were following him as a way to actively engage and receive feedback from those he was reaching out to.


An article titled How Obama Really Did It summarizes the kind of campaign Obama ran by quoting Andrew Rasiej, founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, a website covering the intersection of politics and technology.  He says, “The campaign, consciously or unconsciously, became much more of a media operation than simply a presidential campaign, because they recognized that by putting their message out onto these various platforms, their supporters would spread it for them” (Talbot 5). Some such strategies included posting Obamas speeches on YouTube or linking them to followers’ own videos.  By doing this many went viral.

“Today’s leaders must embrace social media for three reasons. First, they provide a low-cost platform on which to build your personal brand, communicating who you are both within and outside your company. Second, they allow you to engage rapidly and simultaneously with peers, employees, customers, and the broader public, especially younger generations, in the same transparent and direct way they expect from everyone in their lives. Third, they give you an opportunity to learn from instant information and unvarnished feedback.” (Dutta 3)

What is significant about all this is the fact that Obama had a very specific goal before the start of his multi media ventures, and his campaign took an active role in listening to the people, which is also described by Li as a great strategy plan in Groundswell.

In Chapter 10 of Brand Media Strategy, Young mentioned that “paid search adds value in several levels” (Young 180). Alec Brownstein used paid search to help land himself a job. He had one clear objective and used a cost-effective and creative technique to capture the attention of some of the top creative directors in New York City. Here is an interesting video on how he used the POST method.

Dutta, S. (2010 November). What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy? Harvard Business Review, page 1-6. Retrieved from

Google Job Experiment [Video file]. Retrieved http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FRwCs99DWg

Langde, R. (n.d.). 5 Free Social Media Brand Monitoring Tools. Retrieved from http://www.blogsolute.com/free-social-media-brand-monitoring-tools/13710/

Li, Charlene and Josh Bernoff (2011). Groundswell.

Talbot, D. (2008 September). How Obama Really Did It. Technology Review, page 1-11. Retrieved from

Young, Antony. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era.

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