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5 things to do about Web 2.0 right now 12 October, 2006

Posted by Jay Ball in web 2.0.
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So you’ve heard about the technologies, you’ve read a few blogs, and watched something hilariously funny on YouTube – but from a marketing perspective, what should you actually be doing about Web 2.0? And where do you start?

Sometimes it can seem as though unless you immediately launch a blog, put up a wiki, tag all your content and host an unconference, you’re being left in the dust. But there are some relatively simple things you can begin doing right now.

1: Hear the conversation

Go to Technorati and set up a watchlist to track blog mentions of your company, your products and key team members (eg your CEO, your CIO etc). Do the same for your competitors.

2: Join the conversation

Begin to engage with those who post about your brand and market. Nominate people internally who can talk passionately (and helpfully) about the industry. Give them the freedom to be themselves.

3: Cultivate advocates

Consider giving prolific posters more privileged access to your company. Invite them in, show them around, drink tea together. Don’t merely spin the company line to them. Don’t PR them. Don’t try to place product on their blogs. Find out where they are coming from, get to know them better. Then as stuff happens, keep the conversation going with them to give your perspective on events.

4: Think community

Look for opportunities to bring groups of customers together to work with you. This might be to develop new products and services, it could be to open new ways of communicating with them, or it could be any number of other ways to collaborate. Importantly, this is not a ‘seminar’ or a ‘showcase’. The best model for this is the BarCamp series of events and the Yahoo! Open Hack Day.

5: Bring a little 2.0 to your site

Start to look at how you can use some of the Web 2.0 technologies on your corporate site. This could be as simple as incorporating the Google Maps API on your contacts page or as complex as developing an AJAX self-service configurator to help customers get the products that are best suited to them. There are so many useful technologies and services being developed – it seems rude not to extend them to your customers.

That’s it. Of course this is not rocket science and is far from the cutting edge. But it’s a start and, judging by some the conversations I had at the Inside the bubble event, right now that’s what many in marketing seem to need.

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