Web 2 Point What?

We’ve all heard it mentioned at least once. Web 2.0. You may have even heard it called “Social Media.” But what is Web 2.0 and how does it fit in with marketing a service company.

Most of you can probably skip this paragraph, but my mom always taught me to be thorough so bare with me. The 1.0 version of the Internet was “Here’s our nice polished website…have a look…read about us…maybe send us an email.” Now, think of Social Media, or Web 2.0, as the two-way Internet. The user is no longer looking at websites, they are participating in them. This includes uploading videos (YouTube, Joost, Babelgum, etc.), creating content/feedback (blogs, forums, etc.), connecting with friends (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace) manipulating avatars through virtual worlds (Second Life, Stagecoach Island, World of Warcraft). The user has become king. The user is quickly becoming the Internet.

So besides the fact that it scares the heck out of most companies, how does a service company navigate the Web 2.0 waters? My response would be “honest” and “mindful.” Remember that as a service company you want to be viewed as an expert. So I say “honest” because if you put something out there that is not true the consumer will be all over it like…well…use your favorite analogy. The consumer now has a well deserved voice and boy do they enjoy using it. The news is rife these days with stories of companies struggling with negative posts about their service or products. Which brings up another aspect of being honest. Don’t ignore the consumer voice. It will only grow louder. Consumer’s don’t expect perfection, but they do except to be heard. If you ignore them they will only grow louder. A quick, well thought out and honest response to any problem is a must in the Web 2.0 world. And utilize the same medium from which the voices are coming from for your response.

“Mindful” simply means that you need to be smart about what you put out there and where you put it. Absolutely do not regurgitate the same type of marketing fluff that was used in the world of Web 1.0. At the very least you will be ignored, at the worst you will be mocked. You have to provide value with your content. It can be entertainment value, it can be educational value, or it can be whatever value. But provide something of value for the consumer. And be honest in what it is. Don’t try to pass off a high dollar video as an authentic, user generated piece of work. You will be skewered…..unless you can do it REALLY well like the popular Dynamite Surfing video from Quiksilver. And even then the responses can be fairly mixed.

Remember, “honest” and “mindful” and you should be fine. Be then again, isn’t that how we were supposed to be operating in the first place?



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