All you hear about these days is web 2.0 and it is common knowledge that everyone knows what this is right? I find that most people do not have the first idea what web 2.0 is - even the ones that talk like they do!
Here is what Wikipedia says..."Web 2.0" refers to what is perceived as a second generation of web development and web design. It is characterized as facilitating communication, information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. It has led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and web applications. Examples include social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups and folksonomies.
Who knows what that means? I have been building websites professionally for 10 years and I think I pretty much get it - although folksonomies is new to me and I will be going to reseach that as soon as this blog post has been finished. :)
The most important difference (at least from a marketing standpoint) here is that Web 1.0 was a company building a website that displayed it's products and services in a way that they thought their customers wanted it. Web 2.0 is more of a shift in mindset than a shift in technology. You need to communicate with clients and prospects in a way that helps you build lasting relationships with them. You care what they need and want, you actually ask them for that information and then you provide that for them. Here are a few ideas for people trying to get started in Web 2.0.
Start a blog (or start posting on that one you set up a year or two ago and has been sitting there just waiting) and showcase your expertise by regulary posting about your company and industry. The key here is to pay attention to the comments that your blog readers post. Jump in and answer their questions or concerns where applicable. Always remember that critical posts are a way for you to improve your product - don't take it personally!
Set up a Facebook account and Facebook fanpage for your business. I have many clients that tell me they are too busy or old to use Facebook. My advice - get over it! Facebook is a business tool as much as it is a way to stay connected with your friends - if you aren't already using it get signed up today. You can check out the Web Station fanpage here.
LinkedIn - A business oriented networking tool that is free and easy to use. If you aren't using it get started - you will be amazed how quickly your network can grow.
Twitter - Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that has taken the Web 2.0 world by storm this year. You are limited to 140 characters so you will need hone your copywriting skills. Twitter is a great way quickly test products, run promotions, ask questions, etc... to other Tweeples that are interested in your market. If you would like to follow Web Station on twitter you can do it here: http://twitter.com/webstation.
Video sites: YouTube.com is the one you always hear about but there are a ton of them out there...Blip.tv, Revver.com, Viddler.com, Imeem.com, Truveo.com, etc.... if you have video start leveraging it on these sites - video is only going to get bigger in the coming years.
Company Profile Sites: Squidoo.com, Wetpaint.com, hubpages.com, kaboodle.com, etc... the list goes on for miles. Utilize these sites to cast your net as wide as possible.
Photo Sharing Sites: Flickr.com and Photobucket.com are the big ones but there are plenty more if you search.
Web 2.0 is huge but this is a good start for beginners.
The bottom line: Leverage the free resources offered in our Web 2.0 world and then communicate with the people that find you to find our what it is they really want. Take that information and rule the world!