The book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies provides a great overview of how social media is changing the way businesses, large and small, are interacting with their customers and conducting their business. The book covered the following topics.
An Overview of Social Media:
The first section basically describes how technology has enabled individuals to push for changes in products, ideas, and services that companies offer. Li and Bernoff provide some real-life examples of how social media has played a role in business decisions and also provide some information on the demographics of social media. A brief summary of the tools of social media are also outlined in this section (blogs, podcasts, social networks, wikis, open source, forums, and tags).
Using Social Technologies in Business:
The bulk of the book revolves around how businesses can use social media tools to enhance their business and connect with their customers. The authors advocate what they call a POST method, with POST standing for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology. The POST approach can be achieved through one or a combination of the following objectives; Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting, and Energizing.
The Future of the Groundswell:
The final section of the book provides a discussion on some of the challenges associated with implementing social technologies, how to internally connect companies through social media, and a brief discussion on future trends of social media.
Overall this is a great book if you are looking to learn more about how larger businesses and organizations are using and responding to the use of social technologies. The book is written to have more of a business and marketing angle than a personal use angle and being written in 2008 is slightly out-of-date already. Nonetheless, I found the book to have great information for any user of social media technologies.
Some of the best parts of the book revolve around the case studies. Some very prominent large and medium sized companies are featured in the book including Best Buy, Dell, Salesforce.com, Unilever, Mini, Special K, HP, Comcast, ebags, and Lego (amongst several others).
To learn more, you can visit the Groundswell blog at groundswell.forrester.com.