This book,  with the full title of “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies” is a must read for anyone trying to figure out how to benefit from the social networking phenomenon.

This book is perfect for anyone who doesn’t understand ‘social media‘…and for those that think they do! It  provides case-based examples of how organizations have used social media to engage their users.  The examples provided in the book are quite good and describe how organizations have used social media to embrace their community.

Before you go out and buy the book on my recommendation, let me point out a couple of important points:

  • This book does not tell you how to implement a social network.
  • This book will not solve your social media problems.  It will help you with understanding your problems and give you some ideas for solutions.

What this book will do is help you understand that there isn’t any one answer to the question of ‘how to embrace social media”.  The book provides many examples of social media experiments…some successful and some failures.

The book provides a ton of information about demographics and age group differences and how age normally affects social media usage.  Excellent information that everyone should review.

For me, the most interesting section of the book is the one in which the authors state very clearly that any social media project (or really any project for that matter) can be made more successful if the following four steps are followed:

  • First, look at your People.
  • Second, Set at your Objectives.
  • Third, Review your Strategy.
  • Fourth, look at Technology.

This approach, which the authors abbreviated as POST, is no different than any proper strategic planning initiative…at least in my book. When any organization starts to look at new things like social media, they must first look at their people and their customers.  Is this new strategy something that can be achieved easily? Is it viable?

The second step is to Set your Objectives for the project.  What are you trying to achieve with this social media project (or any project)?  The third step is to review your overall strategy as well as determine your ‘go to market’ strategy.  The last step (which most organizations perform first), is to select the technology platform that you will use to carry out your strategy.  I can’t count how many times I’ve seen this process performed backwards with technology selected before any real thought was put into the strategy, objectives and people.  Many of those projects failed miserably because of that.

The book is well reviewed…and is well deserving of those reviews.  Its an excellent book for anyone interested in this topic.  Highly recommended.