Groundswell – Charlene Li and Bernoff

Officially defined: “A social trend in which people use technologies to get things they need from each other rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.”

What it really means: People have strength in large numbers. And the Web 2.0 world has fostered communication between people with similar interests.

Nearly everyone in the developed world has access to technologies that allow us to be connected with our networks all the time. Web 2.0 is our medium for the 21st century, and web traffic, like television viewers, or magazine subscribers, is highly valuable.

The authors from Forrester Research offer a crash course in marketing methods and strategies for businesses that may be able to connect with a variety of publics through social media. The book draws from 25 case studies from around the world, and uses them to highlight the advantages and value of engaging with customers and employees online. Business executives need to understand how to best reach those publics they wish to develop relationships with, and the tools available to assist with those communications. Written for marketing and management professionals, this book remains a great read for those slow to transition and for new businesses looking to leverage the groundswell to grow. While this would have been a remarkable read when published in 2008, today most people and companies have at least dipped their toes into the digital waters. The book remains relevant with clear examples and recommended strategies. In 2010, we have a better grasp on the technologies, so it is time to focus on the relationships. If you claim to be a “social media expert” (which few people are), and the rest of the book bores you, at least the final look at what 2012 could be like is entertaining and fun.

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