Great community-building ideas from the 2008 Groundswell Awards

Last week saw announcement of the winners of the 2008 Forrester Groundswell Awards, crediting some the year’s most effective corporate and nonprofit users of social media.

Divided into eight categories – Listening; Talking; Energizing; Supporting; Embracing; Managing; Social Impact; and Company Transformation – the winners provide a rich source of ideas and inspiration of how social media can be used to achieve consumer engagement that in turn delivers a significant, measurable business or organisational benefit. If you’re currently using social media to engage with supporters, or considering it for the future, then it’s well worth you taking a close look at the campaigns that won – and were shortlisted – to see what ideas they might give you.

For example, winner in the Energizing category was the Hershey’s Bliss Chocolate Party. Run by a word of mouth marketing agency specialising in the use of social media to get consumers to host branded house parties, this comprised 10,000 parties involving 129,000 people in support of the launch of a new Hershey’s chocolate line. Take a look at the House Party site and home page of the Hershey’s party community for some great ideas that any fundraiser looking to build integrated online-offline communities of supporters around a national event can learn from. It’s not that the use of technology is especially advanced (so no virtual parties in Second Life), just using the basics to great effect in terms of engagement, resourcing, use of consumer-generated content, and brand messaging.

Some great work by the Brooklyn Museum too, including the creation of a community curated exhibition, and from Starbucks with

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