Web 2.0 is a powerful form of communication that goes beyond simply posting something on a blog. According to the Wall Street Journal it’s really about being a part of the CONVERSATION with your customers. This is an important difference.
You go out on a date and your date talks from 6pm – 10pm. What a turn off. On the other hand, how refreshing it is to have a conversation. You speak, your date speaks. You tell a joke and your data laughs. Web 2.0 (social media) is all about engaging with an audience, not just a one way conversation.
The WSJ writes Web 2.0 tools can be used to do what traditional advertising does: persuade consumers to buy a company’s products or services. An executive can write a blog, for instance, that regularly talks up the company’s goods. But that kind of approach misses the point of 2.0. Instead, companies should use these tools to get the consumers involved, inviting them to participate in marketing-related activities from product development to feedback to customer service.
How can you do that? A leading greeting-card and gift company that we spoke with is one of many that have set up an online community — a site where it can talk to consumers and the consumers can talk to each other. The company solicits opinions on various aspects of greeting-card design and on ideas for gifts and their pricing. It also asks the consumers to talk about their lifestyles and even upload photos of themselves, so that it can better understand its market.
Smart companies are using online communication tools to do more than just deliver weekly sales brochures to customers. They are using these tools to know WHAT sales their customers want and WHEN they want to know about them.
Smart companies are not simply sending an email newsletter with CEO messages. But they are using the email newsletter to send a message from the CEO and using social media to post video and encourage customers to post their own video and share their experiences.
The companies who thinks they have all the answers and can ‘talk to customers” simply doesn’t get it. The companies who desire to communicate with customers and LISTEN will succeed and build a loyal base of repeat customers.