Talking with the groundswell.

I’ve been learning a lot from the groundswell. I’ve been learning new things about what it means to make a real impact using social media, something that can be a source of noise in our lives. Recently we looked at the POST process and how it can help us plan our online and social media strategy. Prior to that process, we needed to figure out what it was we wanted to do – what is our objective? Of those five objectives, we chose talking. 

When it comes to groundswell thinking, talking is more than “advertising.” In “Groundswell”, advertising is described more like shouting than talking (p. 168). Think about your news feed on Facebook – how many artists in your friends’ list are shouting? For the marketers reading this blog – maybe they shout in 15 posts daily touting their new video (that’s frequency)… or maybe they only tout it to their 150 followers (that’s reach). As a music listener, do you enjoy being shouted at?

In Chapter 6, I read about the different ways we can talk with our audience through social media. If you’ve got quality content to share, people will talk about you with their friends (that’s reach), and the amount of shouting you’ll have to do will hit zero (that’s frequency). Talking with the groundswell isn’t the same thing as marketing; don’t shout – have a conversation.

According to our friends Li and Bernhoff, there are 4 ways to talk with the groundswell (p. 171):

  1. Post a viral video – Putting a video online and let people share it (simple, can be low-cost)
  2. Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites (low cost)
  3. Join the blogosphere – listening and responding is key (low cost, depending on the size of your organization)
  4. Create a community – a way to engage with your customers and deliver value (expensive – think McDonald’s or Proctor & Gamble.)

The key to all four is simple: Interaction. If you’re going to engage with the groundswell, you have to create and sustain a conversation. Depending on your objective, it can be challenging to do so.

Is placing your brand as a musician and/or artist on social networks the only way to promote? Not even remotely. In fact, Li and Bernoff offer some advice (p.171):

  • Use the Social Technographics Profile to verify your customers are using social networks; remember, Joiners are those who are using social networks. If your target market isn’t there, does it make sense to focus your time/effort there?
  • See what’s out there already – it’s possible that there is love for your work already budding organically on the interwebs. It’s also doing it *gasp* WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION???
  • Create a presence that encourages interaction. See Funk Volume’s DFUOB competition. Maybe create a hashtag. Think brand interaction. Think bigger – what is your message, and how can you influence others to spread your message?

Personally, I’ve chosen to implement this blog as a way to share my experiences in the music industry with new up-and-comers, and maybe teach some old dogs some new tricks. I’ve seen an uptick in Twitter followers since putting this together in September – and it’s only getting started.

I’m looking forward to putting together some tutorial videos for quick tips and tricks, as well as some stories to go along with all this music industry talk.





Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Review, 2011. Print.

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