Tapping the Groundswell with Twitter

Twitter is one of the easiest, but powerful social media sites that is available to us right now. Twitter is now an essential part of the groundswell, and all companies that want to have an online presence should get on Twitter and start up some conversations; In 140 characters that is. However, “the richness that Twitter packs into these tiny updates is amazing” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, pg. 197).

Here are some elements that makes Twitter so unique to the groundswell:

  • Followers: Twitter also people to connect with whoever they want, which forms connections quickly, and enables people to develop followers in the thousands or hundreds of thousands (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


  • Hashtags and Searches: Hashtags are more precise than other searches, and because by default they are public, it makes them searchable (Li & Bernoff, 2011). This makes it super easy for people or companies to see what people are talking about.


  • Mentions and Retweets: Twitter makes it easy for people to reply or reference another Twitter user within a tweet, simply by using the @ symbol, along with the users Twitter name (Li & Bernoff, 2011). As for retweeting, this allows you to share others messages at the simple click of a button, and allows for ideas to spread virally, really fast (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


  • Links: Only having 140 characters makes links very convenient in your tweet. This could include links to articles, blogs, websites that you want to share with your followers, and gives more space to write something along with it! You can also shorten links using a URL shortener, like this one.


  • Lists: Twitter added the ability to create lists of people you follow and share them (Li & Bernoff, 2011). This allows you to organize your followers and share this information with others, so they may follow them too.


  • Apps and Tools: One of the best tools for Twitter users is TweetDeck. A free application that links with your Twitter account, to see your news feed, messages, and notifications across one full size screen in real time. This allows for better organization and engagement. Below is an example of my personal TweetDeck.

    Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 1.00.29 AM.png

Twitter and the Five Groundswell Objectives

As we’ve talked about before it’s important to listen and talk with your customers online. Every company needs a primary objective, however being ready for anything is always a good thing. Here’s how to use Twitter for each of the groundswell objectives:

  • Listening to Twitter – Someone should always be monitoring this, and keep track of what people are saying about your company and products. Look at trends people are tweeting about, and identify if any influential people are talking about your products.
  • Talking to Twitter – Get involved and start talking with people, just listening isn’t always going to work. Respond to questions and concerns, retweet interesting things your followers might like, and market your business. But don’t overload your feed with advertisements as this could annoy your followers.
  • Energizing with Twitter – This starts with listening, and enables you to find those you want to energize. This includes people that like your product and current follow you. Energizing simply means responding to fans and retweeting them, as well as giving them content to tweet about (Li & Bernoff, 2011). People will get excited if a big named company starts following them and retweeting things they are saying, it gives them a following too!
  • Supporting with Twitter – More companies are using Twitter as a means for support, by answering customer inquiries, questions and concerns. Instead of waiting on long drawn out phone calls, people resort to tweeting to the company in order to get the answer they need.
  • Embracing with Twitter – collaborating with customers on products or marketing strategies can be the toughest objective, however can be beneficial (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Twitter makes it even harder, as there are only 140 characters available, and be able to gather a big enough following. Driving customers to partake in surveys along with an incentive to do so will help this spread. Asking people for new ideas will also help them feel empowered, and keep the conversation going on your Twitter.

What to Include in Your Twitter Strategy

Below are a list of things to incorporate into your Twitter strategy to help in succeed.

  1. Lock up your handle
  2. Listen first
  3. Be ready to support people
  4. Follow others
  5. Be ready for a crisis
  6. Respond, retweet, link
  7. Staff it
  8. Check with legal and regulatory staff
  9. Having gathered a following, don’t waste it


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


Talking with the Groundswell

This week was all about talking with our customers, and not just shouting at them when it comes to advertising and communication. In 2009, marketers spent more than $400 billion on advertising , mostly on TV commercials (Li & Bernoff, 2011). This isn’t talking, this is shouting. Companies need to create personalized ways for communicating with their customers, instead of the old fashioned way of TV commercials which are becoming  ineffective.

The Marketing Funnel

Below is the marketing funnel concept, which describes how consumers go down the path from awareness to purchase and loyalty (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Advertisements, or shouting, brings people in to the funnel metaphor, and once they get to the middle, shouting doesn’t work at all (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Once customers are in the middle of the funnel, this is when companies need to reel them in with a personalized experience, which will hopefully bring in a purchase. Using the social media sites and communication forums we have discussed in previous blogs, companies can start conversations with current and potential customers, instead of shouting at them in commercials.


Techniques for Talking with the Groundswell 

Although there are many ways to talk with customers, below are four of the most effective ways to communicate, along with some examples within the hospitality industry!

  1. Post a viral video 

    Post a video and let people share it amongst their social media sites. A great example of a company who does this is West Jet. I’ve seen so many videos of amazing things they do for so many people, and although this isn’t advertising people to buy their flights, its a form of communicating in which people remember the amazing things they do and will more than likely choose their company over another.This video is one that’s close to home. The Fort McMurray wild fires brought so much devastation to so many people, so West Jet decided to host a Christmas party for them to release some stress and create memories with their family. They also threw in a free flight for everyone that attended! How amazing is that! This video was trending all over social media, which thousands of people saw. Yeah they gave away some flights, but image the publicity they got and how much more money they made by connecting and communicating with people on a personal level like that.

  2.   Engage in social networks and user generated content sites.

    Creating a social media presence online is a great way to extend your brand reach. A company that does really well with this is Taco Bell. They are all over Twitter replying to peoples tweets. Below are some examples of types of conversations they get into. They have a great sense of humour that so many people love!enhanced-buzz-23115-1342106429-8taco-bell-social-media
  3. Join the blogosphere.
    Empower your executives and staff to write blogs, and don’t just listen, talk! Responding back to comments and blogs is an integral part of the strategy (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

    Marriott International is one company that connects with their customers through a blogosphere called Marriott on the Move. This blog is written by Bill Marriott, the executive chairmen, and chairmen of the board for Marriott International, as well as the son of the founder of Marriott. Although he is in his 80’s, he realized that the world is changing to a heavily online presence, and the internet is a huge part of a companies success. He adapted to this change and is succeeding in it quite well through his blog. Goes to show you are never to old to join the online world!

  4. Create a community. 

    Communities are powerful ways to engage with customers and deliver value to them (Li & Bernoff, 2011). As long as you listen and don’t just shout, this is also a good way to market your brand (Li & Bernoff, 2011).


10 Tips for Successful Blogging

In Groundswell, Li & Bernoff (2011) give 10 tips to implement the strategy and goals you wish to accomplish. Remember to first start with the POST process before beginning.

  1. Start by listening.
  2. Determine a goal for the blog.
  3. Estimate the ROI.
  4. Develop a plan.
  5. Rehearse.
  6. Develop an editorial process.
  7. Design the blog and its connection to your site.
  8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog.
  9. Blogging is more than just writing.
  10. Be honest.



Li, C. Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.