Top 10 Tips for Using Web 2.0 to Promote Your Business
By Kevin Stirtz
We hear a lot about "Web 2.0" these days. It sounds neat and it's trendy
to talk about blogging and social media. But does it really affect our
businesses? Is Web 2.0 just for kids and tech-hipsters or is it something
we business owners should use to help promote our businesses?
I can't tell you if Web 2.0 is right for your business, but I can tell you
it's something to be aware of. Ignoring it means ignoring a possible tool
that could be valuable in helping you get more customers.
So, to help you get started in thinking about
Web 2.0 marketing for your business,
here are some things for you to consider.
1. Have a plan:
Don't dive in just because it's cool or because you read an article about
it. Be clear about what you're trying to accomplish, how much you're
willing to invest and what time frame you are working on. Like any aspect
of your business - plan ahead.
2. Make sure your target audience is online:
Web 2.0 tools are fun but useless if the people who see your stuff don't
want what you offer. Or if they don't look to the Web for information to
help them buy what you sell, then your efforts will be less effective.
Like any marketing channel, it only works if your prospective customers
are there to see (or hear) your message and they are receptive to it.
3. Create good content:
Web 2.0 is the social web, but it's still content-driven. Lousy content
leads to lousy marketing, no matter how flashy it is. Make your content
relevant, interesting and real. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and
answer their questions with your content.
4. Don't sell: Help, inform, educate but do not sell. Web 2.0 is all about people
connecting by helping each other. No salesmen allowed! Think education,
not advertising. Deliver useful, nuts and bolts stuff or honest opinions
they can believe. That's how you build credibility and trust that lead to
new customer relationships.
5. Start with a free hosted blog:
Wordpress and Blogger both have very useful and simple blogs you can setup
for free. Use them to start blogging and get a feel for how it works and
how people use Web 2.0. Dip your toe in the water before diving in.
6. Talk to kids: Chat with some kids (ages 8 to 18) and find out how they use the web. They
are the trend-setters. What they're doing now, the rest of us will be
doing soon. Learn what they do and why. This helps you understand the web
from a different perspective.
7. Do it yourself: Web 2.0 is about being real. It's real people connecting with each other.
It's okay to hire a pro to advise you. But to keep it genuine, make sure
you or your employees create the content and do the work. Otherwise people
will know you're faking it.
8. Buy a camcorder and start shooting:
Go to Best Buy or Radio Shack and buy an inexpensive camcorder, tripod and
lapel microphone. Buy 20-30 tapes too. Then take a weekend and shoot film.
Practice, practice, practice. Get comfortable being on camera so you're
not nervous or dorky. Then, write a funny or useful how-to sketch and film
it. Use Microsoft MovieMaker to edit and then upload to YouTube.com.
9. Buy an inexpensive audio recorder:
MusicBarn.com has a package that includes M-Audio's MobilePre USB
recording interface. Add a microphone and you have a high quality setup to
record podcasts and MP3 audio files whenever you want. Then buy NGWave
sound editing software to make it sound professional and you're in
10. Surf 'till it Hurts: Surf blogs, YouTube, Google Videos, Del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon,
Technorati and other social media websites. Get a feel for how they work
and who goes there. Become part of some social media communities. Make new
friends online. Immerse yourself in the Web 2.0 culture so you know how it
works and if it might fit your marketing plans.
Kevin Stirtz helps businesses get more customers without spending a
fortune. He is an author, speaker, consultant and president of
EasyFastWebSpace.com, a web hosting service that helps businesses get
on the web easier and faster.
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