Innersync Studio Blog

Marketing with Web 2.0

December 18, 2008

Web 2.0 as we see it

Web 2.0 is a broad term referring to a wide set of tools that enable people to connect, share and collaborate online. Already we hear people poo-pooing the term "Web 2.0" because of its randomly, multi-purpose application to every web-based discussion. To better understand what Web 2.0 is, it might be helpful to understand what Web 1.0 is (or was?). Think of Web 1.0 as the internet as a source of information for users, while Web 2.0 is a way users themselves participate in the building and sharing of information. MySpace and Facebook are popular examples of Web 2.0 at work, but there are many other networks where Web 2.0 technologies are creating and sustaining relationships and driving commerce in the process.

Just about everyone knows someone who's bought or sold something on eBay or Craigslist, or used Mapquest or Google Maps to navigate someplace new. Bloggers are surfacing on every topic you can imagine. These folks are all Web 2.0 practitioners. From simply posting some pictures and stories to keep your buddies up to date, or buying and selling through online auctions and stores, the beauty and strength of Web 2.0 is in the interactivity. Friends and family come together, lovers find each other, buyers and sellers come together. And it's in this realm of doing business that many companies, organizations and institutions are just now scratching the surface of the power of Web 2.0.

It's about shared interests: developing friends and partners

Following the same model of finding and getting friends (customers and prospects) and seeking partners (strong business alliances), Web 2.0 is a powerful method of communications that brings wider scope and application to how an organization builds itself. Take, for example, a company that creates distinct web sites that enable its customers, distributors and employees to add, delete and edit content that's shared. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) form patterns that customer service, product development or human resources can address and improve.

At the heart of a good, sound Web 2.0 strategy is involving the users. This approach organically draws valuable information from your user groups, enables the user communities themselves to promote your products/services, and creates a user focus that helps drive important business decisions.

Some basics in using Web 2.0 in helping your business...

  1. Get users involved
    Let the user communities promote your product or service, and use the knowledge gained from this built-in research tool to help manage your business.
  2. Give customers a reason to participate
    Consumers have to have some incentive to share their thoughts, opinions and experiences on a web site. Come up with a win-win situation. It's only fair, really. The information they're providing you is priceless.
  3. Experiment
    One Web 2.0 strategy does not fit all, and sometimes the best way to find out what's best for organization is to try some things out and see what happens. Some are finding new ways to use time-tested tools. Leaving comments regarding customer satisfaction is becoming commonplace. Some companies use instant messaging on their web sites to allow customers and prospects to chat with customer-service representatives. What about the notion of allowing customers or prospects to chat among themselves?

Web 2.0 at work...

Xavier University and Web 2.0

Consider this example of how a private university benefited from an online community and increased enrollment of accepted students. The Office of Web Services for Xavier University created a student portal that allows its accepted students to connect online, building an online community.  Through this portal, Xavier was able to:

  • Enhance its communication to this qualified market segment
  • Create a 24 x 7 space for students to interact with the school and other prospective students (create a 'buzz' about the University)
  • Enhance the all-important yield from accepts to deposits
  • Trigger other services and information (e.g., financial aid and student services) to be pushed to them
  • Benefit from daily metrics about who is visiting the site, how often, and what information they are seeking


Tags: Marketing , Social media

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To a Happy 'Social' New Year

December 17, 2008

Here's to a happy, prosperous 2009.

Here's to a happy, prosperous 2009.

If there's one thing that's not coming up short this new year, it's the boom of interface design, the care taken to make something just a little shinier – the essence of what's called social media. One thing our gloomy economy has not had an effect on is the surge in web 2.0 and the new ideas that have emerged. Remember, when we all sat back and asked why we didn't think of eBay? Well, today I ask, why didn't I think of Twitter?

Good design, ideas and talent abound even in this volatile economy. For that, we can be optimistic. If improvements in web standards and major shifts in practices are any indication of things picking up, then we're on the right track. Hey, it's a happy thought, right? Innersync continues to revisit and refine our position in the universe so that we continue to provide value to our customers while helping them realize their own visions and maximize their web expenditures. It is a very interesting time for web developers with a passion for the web. On one hand, we need to focus on the paying work, but on the other, there's something driving us to make our products better, easier, cleaner... more social.

It's our thought that updating your web site, or posting a blog should not only be easy but fun. Adding a new idea should be more accessible and less distracting. If we mess up a page, rolling back to any older version should be a click away. If we are searching for that perfect image for a web page, the online image library should be right there. Drafting content and seeing how it will look before you put it live should be second nature. All the things that we once took for granted are being revisited, and re-defined. When we're done, we ask, is it as easy as it could be? If it is, we document it and shout it to the world on our support site.

As we conclude our 10th year of business, we find ourselves being thankful to our clients, who consistently push us and challenge us to build a better web site. These are the clients who almost revel in the idea of stumping us on a new one. These people are the ones who help us breathe life into our tools. We're also thankful for our healthy families and our spouses who support us while we strive for excellence. While the country is in mourning, let us remember the things that matter most to us and those who continue to fight for our freedom.

Let us all be re-energized so we can reach down and pull up our collective boot straps, inspire innovation and promote momentum. Let us become active in our communities -- and not just the online ones -- and love one another with great fervor. Social networking, afterall, was around long before web developers.

We wish you the happiest in this new year. And may good fortunes be yours this year and beyond..

 

Tags: Innersync , jason , Social media

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To a new year, here, here.
cmonkey 8:59PM 12/22/08
That's the spirit we all need.
Susan 4:36PM 12/18/08

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We're Innersync Studio and we like to build web sites that are alive. More specifically, we like to empower you to breathe life into your web site. We want your site to be loved by many and make connections that have never been possible. We put our ideas here, to help stay in touch with our clients and help spread the good word.

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