Twitter Tapping Into the Groundswell

Twitter. It is one of the easiest yet powerful social media tools out there right now. The reach is massive and the message can be clear; well has to be clear because you only have 140 characters. Yet, if we look back at the Social Technographics Profile, these tweetsters are going to be creators of content 3X more, going to be critics 2X more and will join 2X more as well (Li & Bernoff, 2011). So what does this mean for marketers and business? That your company needs to connect on Twitter.


In chapter 10 of the novel Groundswell, the authors state that Twitter can pack richness into such tiny updates that caused a ripple effect of interactions; retweets rejoice. Thus, here are the described key elements that make Twitter, well Twitter:

  • Followers: Not friends, followers. This can be anyone allowing connections to be made easy and fast.
  • Hashtags and searches: You can easily search a business or key words and find a timeline of everything that users have been saying about that topic in real time. twitter-word-bird
  • Mentions and retweets: Mentions is an easy way to reply to someone by mentioning another user in your tweet. While retweeting is a tool that allows you to pretty much copy someone else’s tweet to your own page, sharing their message.
  • Links: You can share links to websites rather than trying to fit what needs to be said in 140 characters.
  • Lists: Can create a list of people you follow and share that list with people.
  • Apps and tools: Feeds are open so other tools can connect.

Just like any other marketing strategy or social media website, companies must know their objective before hand (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Here are Li and Bernoff (2011) said to use each of the 5 groundswell objectives:

  • Listen to Twitter: Monitor tweets about your company, find the trends that are regarding your company and products and find influential tweetsters who are talking about your company.
  • Talk to Twitter: Get your message “picked up and repeated by others” by tweeting yourself and replying to others, this will show users you are and are invested in that relationship (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
  • Energize with Twitter: Will want to find users who like your product and amp up that users voice. Also, responding/retweeting fans will energize these users as well as content they will want to respond and retweet.
  • Support with Twitter: Twitter can let companies know about any problems their customers have, thus they have to power to fix these problems and answer questions to provide support.
  • Embrace with Twitter: This includes collaboration with customers on Twitter on business operations; including them in the process.

A company who uses Twitter very well is Starbucks; their @mystarbucks idea allows for customers to share ideas of what they want to see (embracing), voice concerns (listening), as well as be able to respond to customers (support) and share content that their follows want to know (talking). Li and Bernoff (2011), listed advice to companies using Twitter:

  • Lock up your handle: Make sure users know your account is real and others with your name are not
  • Listen to what people are saying before you start posting
  • Be ready to support people
  • Follow fans who love you company, it will give these users something to talk about
  • Be ready to use Twitter in a crisis as an information channel
  • Respond to users, retweet users, and add links – get actively involved
  • Twitter needs to be someones job, even if not a full time position
  • Check with legal and regulatory staff to ensure everything on this public platform is appropriate to publish
  • Make your page worth following – keep the interest going

Tweet away tweetsters!


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


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