A Publication of WTVP

For many companies, Web 2.0 means opportunity. According to Wikipedia (a Web 2.0 example), Web 2.0 refers to a trend in World Wide Web technology and web design—a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social networking sites, wikis, blogs and folksonomies, all of which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration and sharing among users. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end users use the Web.

What does this really mean?

It means that the trend toward websites that allow user contribution of content is here to stay and smart marketers will embrace that fact. Particularly if you cater to a younger, web-savvy customer base, Web 2.0 needs to be a part of your marketing strategy.

That’s what movie studios learned shortly after MySpace became a household name a couple of years ago. They could spend virtually no money on media and create the kind of buzz that can make or break the box office by incorporating simple social media site pages on MySpace and Facebook. They gave their audience an inside scoop that looked more like it was a friend recommending a flick instead of a corporate entity with slick marketing selling them on a movie.

Imagine what a goldmine this type of marketing can be—and for virtually no cost (besides the time it takes to create your pages on the various sites!). The social sites even pay to host the pages and provide basically free traffic to your content.

How can your company take advantage of Web 2.0’s benefits?

The first thing to remember is that the beauty of Web 2.0 is that it’s a personal type of communication—not a company-to-consumer kind of attitude. If you create a page that’s overly commercial looking, people will ignore it much like they tend to ignore old-fashioned mass media creative messages.

Put yourself in the mindset of a potential visitor and think about what they’re likely to be interested in. Is there some knowledge that you have about your industry that would help them when shopping for a product or service? Can you save them money, time or hassle? By providing that information, you’ve created the beginnings of trust—which is something that’s incredibly valuable.

If you can continue to post useful information to your blog or social site pages, or better yet, create an informational or tutorial video of how to do something that relates to your product or service, you’ve proven that you are helpful and credible. People who read or watch your content will feel as though you’re a friend, not a salesperson. And people are far more likely to buy something from a friend than a salesperson.

Don’t let the thought of creating a blog or social networking page be daunting—most of them are really simple to use. You can set up your own blog for free without having to host at either or You can even select from several different templates.

If you’re a little more daring and have hosting available, you can install your own blog with a free download from with their famous five-minute install. There are loads of free templates available for the .org version available online too. This version allows you to add RSS feeds, images, audio, video and widgets, and generally have more control over what your blog looks like. But if you’re just starting out, one of the free options is all you really need.

As far as social networking and bookmarking sites, there are many—the list grows longer every month. The biggies are MySpace and Facebook. If you are really eager to jump in with both feet to attract new visitors to your website (and eventually your brick-and-mortar location too), check out HubPages, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Squidoo. There is very likely a social site (or two or 10) that are related to your business, so make sure to do a search for your main keyword plus the words “social network site” to find them.

Many people fail because they feel they have nothing to write about. This can become a sticking point, but don’t let it. If you’re having writer’s block, review your main website. Create a post or page that helps people solve a problem they face. Write about the solution in a generic, but meaningful way; in other words, don’t sell! Make sure to really help your reader. This will go a long way in creating a relationship that can ultimately lead to the reader becoming a customer.

If you’re still stuck for something to say, do a search on Google, Yahoo or MSN for your main topic and see what comes up. Or, go to the bookstore and peruse the magazines or books that relate to your business. There’s a wealth of ideas out there. Again, the more you engage your visitor, the better. Solve their problems or help them achieve their goal.

There are added benefits of creating your own blog or social site pages. Since the search engines love Web 2.0 sites (because they have new content posted constantly), you’ll most likely see search engine optimization benefits and, ultimately, more traffic to your main website as a result. Your pages and blog should include links to your main company website. One note on these links: make sure to create them within posts to interior pages on your site, not just your home page, to help increase the ranking of all of your site’s pages. IBI