Josh Bernoff Kicks of Digital Impact Conference

Forrester VP and Author Outlines Four Steps to Digital Relations

By George

Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research vice president and co-author of the upcoming “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies,” kicked off the PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference in New York City today.

Bernoff, who focuses on social technologies for the research firm, got right to the point. “Concentrate on the people, not the technologies,” he told a crowd of about 200 public relations people during his keynote address.

Bernoff said that marketers and PR people need to understand that controlling the conversation on the Web is an impossible task. He said he wrote “Groundswell” with fellow Forrester analyst Charlene Li as a manual for using social technologies effectively. Bernoff said participation and a willingness to engage freely are the keys.

During his presentation, Bernoff outlined his four step process for engaging with what he calls the groundswell of people using social and digital technologies.

1. People. Companies first priority should be assessing their customers’ social activities. What technologies are their customers using? How are they communicating? Where can they be found online?

2. Objectives. Companies then need to decide what they want to accomplish with social and digital media relations. What are the goals? Is digital and social media the best channels?

3. Strategy. Thirdly, companies need to expend the energy up front to plan for how social and digital media relations with change relationships with customers. What are the short and long-term consequences of engaging on the Web?

4. Technology. Lastly, companies need to decide which social networks, widgets and tools are best for them and their customers.

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