Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World -

[The Journal Report: Business Insight]Consumers are flocking to blogs, social-networking sites and virtual worlds.

For marketers, Web 2.0 offers a remarkable new opportunity to engage consumers. If only they knew how to do it.

Join the Discussion

Don't just talk at consumers -- work with them throughout the marketing process.[The Journal Report: Business Insight]

Give consumers a reason to participate. Consumers have to have some incentive to share their thoughts, opinions and experiences on a company Web site.

Listen to -- and join -- the conversation outside your site. Consumers tend to trust one another's opinions more than a company's marketing pitch. And there is no shortage of opinions online.

Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell. When consumers are invited to participate in online communities, they expect marketers to listen and to consider their ideas. They don't want to feel like they're simply a captive audience for advertising, and if they do they're likely to abandon the community.

Embrace experimentation. One Web 2.0 strategy does not fit all, and sometimes the best way to find out what's best for a given company is to try some things out and see what happens.

My Take

The Wall Street Journal is not exactly the San Jose Mercury News. Now that social media is becoming east coast news, it's time for Main Street small businesses to pay attention.

The rules for using social media are not cast in stone. Any approach with which you are comfortable can establish your presence on the Social Web. You may see results quickly.

It is hard to go wrong taking a first, baby step. Your only misstep is no step.

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