Groundswell is the clearest introduction to social media strategy I've ever read. Rather than focusing on technologies, Charlene and co-author Josh Bernoff focus on relationships--between businesses and customers, businesses and suppliers, and staff with staff. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a big picture for how to evaluate and plan a social media policy for their institution. The examples are primarily focused on large businesses with budgets much higher than those of museums, but the lessons learned are highly transferrable.
Charlene and Josh recommend a four-stage approach to engaging with the groundswell:
- profile your target audience's current use of social media
- determine your institutional objectives
- develop a strategy to meet your goals
- find the right technology to make it happen
I will not be covering the first four chapters of the book, which introduce social technologies, the four-stage approach, and the Forrester social technographics tool (previously introduced here). Instead, we'll be starting with the chapter on listening, taking a look at how monitoring visitor conversations across the Web and in private communities can improve your understanding of and communication with your audience.
And as a quick follow-up to the post earlier this week on walled gardens, I encourage you to check out the Groundswell website and how easy they made it for me as a blogger to take and reuse the images you see in this post. They also do something incredibly useful for readers: aggregate all of the footnotes and associated links in one place so you can click through them without having to type each link out. Of course, they're selling something, so they want to make it easy for me to get all of this stuff. But aren't we selling our exhibits and programs as well? Shouldn't we make it this easy to evangelize museum products?