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« Winners of the 2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards | Main | Google search vs. Twitter search vs. your own personal groundswell »

October 29, 2009

You CAN do a successful social application. Anyone can.

by Josh Bernoff

I was looking over the winners and finalists from the Forrester Groundswell Awards and it hit me: this proves excellence in social media can come from anywhere.

The consumer and employee winners sell car races, yarn, security software, credit scores, books, and shipping. The B2B winners sell computer products, marketing services, online services, regulatory compliance services, environmental services, and enterprise risk services.

The finalists came from a diverse set of industries including travel, education, retail, financial services, auto, media, wine, weight loss help, insurance, and steel manufacturing. Not to mention a product that lets women go the bathroom standing up.

The methods are diverse, too. The winners included online market research communities, blogs, podcasts, a word of mouth campaign, and online communities. Finalists used YouTube, widgets, avatars, idea communities, Facebook, and online events. And a number of successful entrants created campaigns that spanned multiple social channels.

The geographic diversity wasn't as great, but one winner was from Australia and one finalist came from Brazil. In the past we've gotten some fantastic European entries.

Look, people the message is this: Do not tell me you cannot do this. People in every country and in every industry, with all sorts of customers and all sorts of management and all sorts of objectives, are creating not just innovative but incredibly effective social applications. I've worked with six insurance companies in the last two years. I just talked to a bunch of milk processing executives ("got social?"). I have yet to find a company, an industry, or a geography that can't benefit from connecting its customers with each other through social.

There are no excuses left. Just do it.


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Tom Rau

Hi Josh,
I was following the competition for the Forrester Groundswell Awards closely. What I found very interesting was the fact, that social media works in basically every industry. You might assume that less tech related industries would have problems with it but it works for wool just as fine as for the environment or retail section.
Personal social interaction is natural human behavior and as people are adopting to online social interaction this will become natural to us as well. Looking forward to see how things will develop.

Chad Symens

My company launched a social networking site for our software user group and we have opened it up to retail industry professionals at large. Thur far we have over 200 members which is great…but… we are tracking activity and see the average member reades 4.6 posts per day but they post almost no comments. We are posting tons of new content every day so it’s not like they don’t have the opportunity to sound off. What tips can you offer on getting members to participate?
our community http://www.acceleratedanalytics.com/acceleratedcommunity


The age of the niche social networks is now here. Not only are businesses interacting on the social networking giants (Twitter,Facebook)but are creating their own online communities to bring their target audience closer together.

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