• Sam Decker

Why, How and Who of Web 2.0

A couple weeks ago I moderated a panel and roundtable for Austin Venture portfolio companies on Web 2.0. As many of the companies were not in the "Web 2.0" bullseye, the discussion focused on the what, why, how and who of Web 2.0. I’ll skip the "What" question…here are the some of the other notes:

Why?

* Analysts read blogs. Reporters read blogs * Empowers customers * Blogs are turning into a trusted media outlet * 78% of online customers trust brands more that have reviews on their site * Marketing (PR) is being Master of Reality (Edelman) * From conversation about your brand, to your brand’s values (ex: Saturn’s findyourdetour.com site) * From monologue to dialogue (how web 2.0 changes marketing’s voice) * Demonstrates your brand’s authenticity * Longer life vs printed articles * Get insight into audience and build relationship * 90 / 9 / 1 rule: 90% read, 9% participate, 1% narcissism (+1% paid participation) * Viral growth via networking and connectivity * Your brand = your Google content * 25% of Google search results is user generated content * C to C marketing (customer to customer) is much more effective * Word of mouth marketing works online because the content is archived while word of mouth marketing offline can be quickly forgotten

How?

* Keep messaging consistent through channels * Treat online media same as traditional media, but use a different pitch to target each media * Video metadata, and taking advantage of Google’s universal search * Think hard about why we are doing it. Are we educating the market? Looking for SEO feed? Engaging our existing client base? Giving sales content they can point prospects to? The answer to that dictates content – should it be original content or more of a news aggregator w/commentary? Do we want to mix in some commercial messages * Start with the business objective, not the technology. Ex: Troux’s third party community to meet industry education objective. Bazaarvoice blog to meet industry education, corporate credibility and sales tool objectives * Make sure that sales are in on the blogs/forum content so that they can use the participants as leads * Use any negative comments to your advantage. There is an opportunity in all negative comments. * Controversial to pay someone to write reviews on your blogs/forums – marketing people can not be conversation starters Blogging – You can’t just leverage Web 2.0, you have to participate – Key to blogging visibility: giving visibility, interviews, links to other bloggers – Need to connect to other blogs, drives SEO results up – Go after influential bloggers and build relationships – Blogger relations (BR): consider exclusives, nuture relationship and give them attention (face-to-face preferably) Web 2.0 requires Real World Relationships – Blog requirements: – updated at least weekly – need someone that is passionate about subject/company to write – genunine content – must stimulate responses – Best blog content is either practical (top 10 lists) or controversial – Find search keywords relevant to us and write about that – Incorporate a blogroll and actively link – Have our PR firm find the A list or almost A list bloggers in our category. Interview them for your blog. They’ll likely reciprocate with links like “I was interviewed here” – Actively comment on existing blogs, especially those above. Another good way to get links and build audience, especially early on – It has to be a group effort or make time for some one persons/people to do it – If you have nothing to say, say nothing. If people (esp. execs) feel they have to write, it will feel that way. Titles matter less than passion – Personal employee blogs can be more effective than corporate blogs – Company blogs: – Educational – Great venue to show who you are – How do you take awareness outside of your company blog? – Glass ceiling for BtoB marketing: Don’t want to give up trade secrets – Competitive environments can be inhibitors for sharing Communities: – If employees are part of forum, there must be full disclosure that there are employees contributing to the content (ie a staff button next to their username) – Debate: Do you advertise products, services, prices, deals, etc. on forum. If so, you run the risk of losing integrity. – Use rating system and list creation. These tools make it easy for quiet/lazy contributors to have their voice be heard as well. – Measuring success: – Track number of users – Size of community – Growth – And how long users stay logged on

Who?

* WordPress (blogging tool for corporate users) * Pligg (www.pligg.com) * Drupal (www.drupal.org) * forums (www.phpbb.com) * rentacoder (www.rentacoder) * addthis (www.addthis.com) * feedblitz (www.feedblitz.com * techcrunch (www.techcrunch.com) * brightcove (www.brightcove.com) * Movable Type (for personal use: www.movabletype.com)

#austinventures #moderation #roundtable #Web20