Nov 20 2008

Web 2.0 Marketing Strategies 1

What exactly is Web 2.0?

Almost everybody seems to be talking about Web 2.0 these days. Never mind the fact that many people throw around the term without knowing too much about it.

Do you do that too? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. But it’s time you explored what Web 2.0 is, and more importantly, what it can do for your business or for you if you are thinking about opening a business.

Before we get into Web 2.0 software and define what it is in dry as dust terminology, take a moment to answer my question: What do these websites have in common: wikipedia, del.icio.us and Digg?

The answer is simple really. They are all websites that aim to use the power of the information highway (also known as the Internet) to connect people.

They look to users to create quality content, share expertise and provide balanced opinions (and checks and balances) through social interaction.

Their fundamental ideology is: people have an axe to grind, so, why not let them do it in public? Give them a place to express themselves, share knowledge and information, and connect, and the resultant site, or base of knowledge, will grow exponentially, and make the web the better for it.

Obviously, social networks have become popular, and those built around a common theme can become quite successful, with loyal groups sharing information and often becoming ideal marketing platforms for those who have commercial products or services to share with that group, commonly referred to as a niche (pronounced either nitch or neesh).

A niche in Web 2.0 can be the ‘sweet spot’ of marketing because you have found a group of like-minded people interested in the same thing, and they can not only become your customer, they can pass on news of your products and services to others (go viral).

They literally ‘infect’ others with their enthusiasm. The danger is, of course, the opposite. That your products sucks and they complain about it long and loud on a public forum, which is why many top companies actually have employees who scan Web 2.0 for mentions of their products, and even blog about them and how great it is to work there.

Perhaps it is even human nature that more negative critiques are posted than positive ones, but also look at what is being said. A vague versus a specific complaint with details is more likely to be taken seriously and be of value than ‘it sucks’.

So while there are some risks involved in stepping into the Web 2.0 sphere as a marketing tool, the rewards can be great if you know your niche and produce real value for money (especially in this economy).