Web 2.0 has shown a massive increase in user participation. They have gone from being passive consumers to actively participating in what they see and hear on the web. And the more they participate the better the service gets. Think about the way Social Networking sites have evolved over the past few years. The bigger a network gets the faster it grows. It grows exponentially. It grows virally. The result of this is that we usually get one major social network per territory.

Orkut – massively popular in Brazil and India but virtually unheard of elsewhere

Bebo – big in the UK but a flop in America

Facebook – the world leader but particularly strong in Europe and America
Renren – China’s leading social network

This makes sense because people will join a network that their friends are on. A person in the UK is unlikely to use Orkut over Facebook because more of their friends will be on Facebook. It has nothing to do with marketing muscle as Orkut is owned by Google.

TOMS shoes – social media working for you

This highlights the opportunity and threat that web 2.0 represents. On the one hand your idea or service or product might catch a number of users eye and they will tell their friends who will tell their friends and so on. This is good. This is viral. Example of this is TOMS shoes. TOMS are a very new shoe manufacturer and retailer. They sell their shoes through their website and have a very low marketing budget. But they have taken the internet by storm because of one thing; if you buy a pair of shoes from TOMS the exact same style of shoe you buy will be sent to a child in the developing world. This idea has meant that a marketing budget wasn’t needed. The idea was spread by people who thought it was a good idea.

Poor service – social media working against you

One the other hand if someone has a bad experience with your company then they will spread the word. A company we recently worked with had this problem. A customer had ordered a product but it had gotten lost somewhere in transit. She was annoyed by the way she was being dealt with and so set up a thread on a forum asking for advice. This forum was ranking highly for the company’s brand name. This is not good. Potentially hundreds of people a day could see that forum and think twice about ordering.

Blackthron Cider – turning social media to your advantage
Customers can even influence company decisions. Blackthorn cider was reformulated last year to make it sweeter to compete directly with the market leader Strongbow. People were outraged and some hardcore Blackthorn fans created a Facebook group to petition the company to return to the original recipe. Not only did the company relent and pervert the recipe, they used this as a spring board for a successful marketing campaign.

Web 2.0 is going to affect your business, no matter what you do. If you make delicious pastries in a small bakery then the people who love what you do and visit every week and going to talk about you and recommend you to family and friends. These conversations between your customers and potential customers might be offline at the moment but it will increasingly become online. It is up to you to move in and engage with these customers. If given the opportunity they will interact with your brand online through a Facebook page or Flickr images or following you on Twitter.

Freelance SEO are Web 2.0 experts. We can open your brand so you gain more exposure to potential customers. So why not book a free discovery meeting at freelanceseobristol.co.uk

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