The following is a recent article I submitted to a marketing publication. Guess I may as well blog it!
Embracing Web 2.0 and social networks is becoming a key component to the success of many firms, especially those in the marketing industry.
Participation in social networks, blogging and online collaboration is no longer limited to the under 25’s, nor should it be limited to an outside of work activity. Firms need to embrace the desire and ability of their staff to use Web 2.0 tools and services and know how to facilitate and extract real business benefit from the activity.
From a marketing perspective, it’s about being where your market is, being part of your market and having visibility of conversations relating to your brand or products.
Yet where social networks such as Facebook are concerned, many employers block access and warn their staff against using such sites. An alternative would be to create a culture where using these Web 2.0 tools is permitted and encouraged in line with a Social Media strategy. Such a strategy would identify the benefits of using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed, and put in place a framework for responding to the opportunities presented. An example would be to implement an internal blog for employees to discuss the trends, contacts, conversations and opportunities they are seeing when participating in such sites. Managers can then act on any opportunities or threats.
The way brands interact with consumers is also changing. On sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we are seeing brands interact with consumers in a bid to improve loyalty and drive brand equity.
For a company looking to engage marketing professionals this kind of familiarisation of Web 2.0 is fast becoming part of the selection criteria. Marketing firms should be able to demonstrate their staff are keyed in to the most popular sites and services on the web and have a process for leveraging this involvement.
Any business wishing to learn more about Web 2.0 and the opportunities it presents can attend the Web 2.0 University on the 30th September in central London.
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