How To Win A Social Reach Groundswell Award

We’re in our entry period for the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards (entries accepted through February 28th), and I want to examine the winners for social reach in 2013 and highlight how to put together a winning entry.

For social reach, show us how your program got new people (business people or consumers) to discover your solution, and how you measured its impact on your business — either by helping your engaged customers to discover additional offerings or by using them to create discovery among their friends. We’ll be less interested in how many social posts were made or times something was shared (although it helps), and more interested in how those posts, or shares, drove people to explore your brand and eventually make a purchase. 

Our B2C winner, City Year, is an education-focused nonprofit that works with at-risk students in urban schools. It enlisted its existing corps members to get the word out through social networks. Those members posted almost 29,000 tweets using the #makebetterhappen hashtag, and in total generated more than 26 million Twitter impressions — phenomenal reach. But even more critically, the results was that brand awareness among college students nearly doubled, and the number of students who said they’d either applied or planned to apply to City Year went up by five times in one year.

Our B2B winner, Brainshark, a company that offers online video services to businesses, knew its customers loved its offerings — but those customers weren’t always telling others how great Brainshark was. So it built an online community for its champions. It more than quadrupled the number of companies willing to serve as reference customers, and the program has increased Brainshark’s reach by more than doubling Twitter activity around the brand.

Two of our finalists also measured effectiveness in powerful ways: Rise Interactive’s personalization of influencer marketing measured by new website visits, and SodaStream’s word-of-mouth campaign with consumer influencers, measured by both impressions and actual trials of the product. 

For a recap of all of the finalists and winners, check out my colleague Nate Elliott’s blog post.

To submit your entry and learn about the different categories, check out this blog post.