One of the funniest keynotes at the NYC Web 2.0 conference was by Baratunde Thurston: "Everything I need to know about social marketing, I Learned From Being @the_swine_flu". Baratunde demonstrates the incredible power that could be leveraged on Twitter, all done 140 characters at a time. He is profane and perhaps politically incorrect, but look past this - and you will see a highly effective campaign.
View Baratunde's - being @the_swine_flue presentation at the Ignite NYC session. <For a longer version of Baratunde' Swine Flu Viral Marketing Experiment - he begins the hashtag talk at the 2:50 time mark>
More to the point, Baratunde's experiment prove that Twitter can be applied to business to create a viral marketing buzz - a digital word-of-mouth. Another Twitter'r brought to my attention that Kodak did just this in April, to name a new camera. Unfortunately I could not locate the actual tweets onTwitter: the hashtag was #nameakodak (view one Twitter's entries). Another B2C viral #hashtag campaign was with Moon Fruit (#moonfruit). In both cases, the winner in these campaign's won a prize.
Viewing Baratunde's YouTube video will give you a sense of the depth of thinking that is required to make this campaign work. In the case of a B2B/B2C campaign - the rules that exist for bloggers and other social media programs must be kept in mind. Keep it real. Be honest and upfront and try to make it fun. Of course you are advertising your company's product, however make it engaging, and where possible, informative to the participate. A blatant Twitter viral "advertisement' will fail and may in fact be a detriment to your brand.
Listening to Tim O'Reilly' keynote at the New York Web 2.0 conference, he reminisced about the browser wars of the past. He was making the point that there is an unevenness on the web; previously on the web and now on mobile.
In the bad old days, web sites were labeled as being "best viewed on Netscape", or "we recommend Explorer for this web site". If you have the wrong browser, your internet experience will suffer.
Today, there are 100,000 applications for the iPhone, yet if you have a BlackBerry, so sorry. A friend sent me an invite to IM on her Blackberry - sent to my iPhone - outta luck. There is - as there was in the browser wars - different platforms, different applications for different mobile phones. How social is that?
PC World, in a recent article "Fragmentation Prevents Viral Marketing in Mobile" by Nancy Gohring - she echo's Tim (or Tim echos Ms. Gohring). Here she talks about the massive success of web based social networking - which required practically zero marketing.
"On the Internet, sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace grew so big so quickly based on word of mouth,... People told their friends about the sites, and those people told their friends, who immediately could use the sites on their computers. Growth didn't depend on huge traditional marketing programs"
On the mobile platform, if your friends are on Android or Blackberry and you - iPhone, there will be a chasm in your social landscape.
In the PC article, there was no solution - until such time that all mobile phones accept the same operating system (OS). Good luck with that. However - could developers focus their application a step above the fray? Could the launch of a new super-social-app be simultaneously built for all major mobile platforms? Or perhaps a middle-ware layer be constructed that converts each of the diverse OS's and defines a new commonality. Why not? This has been done in the database world, so that data tools could easily and quickly sync with different database types?
I ask.. why not? Your comments appreciated.
The potential audience reach online has expanded exponentially in the last five years, primarily due to Web 2.0 and the social aspects of the web. By focusing primarily on an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to build your sites awareness and ROI, your online success is doomed to fail.
Search Engine Optimization, in its purest state of meta tags, site design and site-based content management is only a one dimension strategy; in a multi-dimensional world.
Blogs, as we know, are great for linking building for a web site, yet many people leave money on the table when it comes to their blog management. Blogs have the potential of very rapid top ranking, especially in lucrative long-tail keywords. We have seen articles ranked high within 15 minutes of release - yea really! Think about your content and links when creating blog articles - especially in terms of your anchor tagging.
Social media completes the strategy by providing a wealth of link building and brand visibility potential. Twitter (Bing scans, Google will soon), Flickr, YouTube, Linkedin and much more should all be including in your overall plan. Be sure to review these and implement a strategy that makes sense for your site and business objectives.
To learn more about building an effecive multi-dimensional online strategy, please read Lee Odden's "Social Media and SEO: 5 Essential Steps to Success" article.
Think through your optimization strategy
At one time, saying the term Web 2.0 would bring in the crowds, whether for a meeting, conference or visitors to your web site. The actual term (or phrase) described the next generation of web sites, which included social Networking and highly intuitive eCommerce and Business Application.
Is Web 2.0 relevant? I do not think so - as it suffered from description fatigue. Ask ten people what Web 2.0 represents, and you will get ten answers. And now, some folks are floating Web 3.0 - for which I have not heard any relevant description.
I wonder if just saying Social Networking and Mobile Technology, along with RIA - suffices. I have not heard Twitter referred to as a Web 2.0 platform... is it?
Let me know is Web 2.0 as a term ... past it's prime?
What makes online marketing so vibrant and exciting is all the new "buzz words" that come into play. The latest that I have latched onto is called - "Influencer's".
"Influencer's" is one that we at Think-ebiz believe represents a major aspect of Web 2.0. Simply put, Web 2.0 is about fostering a conversation and relationship with your customers and prospects online. Influencer's is how one person can affect the branding and buying power of another person through web site enablers.
Recently, I began working with an innovative start-up called StickySurf, where we defined the value proposition as being an "influencer" for B2C (and even B2B) web sites. StickySurf is a tool that can be added to an existing web site that enables easy and efficient conversations with your friends and co-workers.
The premise is simple: You are visiting a web site and notice a product or service that could benefit a friend or co-worker. A digital camera, a unique European Travel Tour, or a new software product that could benefit your Mfg group. StickySurf or a viral enabled web site can help enhance the purchase power of the web site by bringing new visitors onboard - with a friendly recommendation.
Influencer's can exist in other more traditional mechanisms, such as forums and eCommunity advice and image sharing. A web site that enables the visitors to share experiences could increase awareness and sales. A travel web site that allows people to share pictures and advice, and experiences could influence others to sign up for the next tour.
We all know the power of a personal recommendation. Web 2.0 is enabling this capability online, and this is exciting and powerful. Hopefully I am influencing others to consider enabling this capability on their own web property.
If you ask 10 people what Web 2.0 means to them, you might just get 10 different answers. Some, like noted technologist Tim Berners-Lee "...have questioned whether the term has meaning". Yet there are now Web 2.0 Conferences, reams of white papers, technologies declaring they are web 2.0, vendors touting their approach to Web 2.0, and so many different definitions.
In 2004, Tim O'Reilly (O'Reilly Media and Books) coined the term Web 2.0 in a meeting with MediaLive. And since this first utterance, there are over 9.2 million responses in Google to the Web 2.0 term.
What is Web 2.0 to you?
Reading the Wikipedia on Web 2.0 and the O'Reilly Website page on this subject does not help clear up this definition confusion. In fact, to think-ebiz these articles add to the confusion. Even Tim O'Reilly's "compact" definition of Web 2.0 does not seem to help much.
"Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them."
This think-ebiz writer tries to make the complex simple, especially when working with clients and organizations that can ultimately benefit from eBusiness and online marketing. To get to our definition of Web 2.0, we need to step back and look at the history of the web.
Web 0.0: The internet for the general consumer was born around 1991 with Berners-Lee's first web site, made universally available by CERN in 1993. The objective was to give consumers an online brochure of your business, with the goals of attracting as many "eye-balls" as possible. Courtesy of the Wayback Machine, this is the first web site I worked on at ADP (1998). We used to say, "wow we had 1,000 eyeballs last month!"
Web 1.0: Web sites begin to conduct online business, usability begins to matter. You can talk to the web site, tell it what you want to buy or provide information and have it display a customized result. Shopping carts, credit card acceptance, eBusiness and eCommerce engines, along with security and the emergence of hackers were the words of the day.
In 2000, I help create the strategy and implement the first ADP eBusiness environment, Solution Profiler. Small business owners could then enter basic information about their payroll needs and a customized solution and price would be delivered. Conversions, (leads and sales) became the metric of success. We would report to management that we had delivered over 100 leads to the sales force, worth $320K last month.
So what is Web 2.0 to you?
Web 2.0: Think-ebiz believe that it is the social aspects of a web site. It is more than a brochure or a means of making an online sale, it is a true two-way communication between the merchant and the customers. It is about giving the consumer a reason to visit your web site time and again, giving something back while exposing them to your brand. It's enabling sharing of experiences with other consumers, sharing advice on product usage or helping to solve a problem. And yes, making sales... more and better sales! Web sites that support viral marketing, or have influencer capabilities are Web 2.0.
Personally, I do not think of Digg.com as Web 2.0.. or even Wikipedia. I guess it is because this blog is called Think-eBiz, it is about brand building, community sharing and a more meaningful ebusiness user experience.
Disney.com and Barbie.com are Web 2.0. LinkedIn's Answer's are somewhat web 2.0. There are many eCommunities that support forums, polls/surveys, image sharing and the like; Web 2.0.
My daughters love Barbie.com, where they can play dress up games online, share results with friends and are (to my wallet's despair) exposed continually to all the new Barbie stuff.
The metric of success is sustainable traffic AND brand building, which leads to sales (both on and offline sales!).
What is Web 2.0 to you? Let me know what you think and lets build upon the discussion. And please share web sites that you believe are the embodiment of Web 2.0.
Thank You - Thank YOU for this great honor, being named Time Magazines 2006 Person of the Year. And congratulations to YOU too. For this year, the person of the year is YOU.
What Time Magazine observed is just how active on the web we are. Whether it is blogging or MySpace/FaceBook'ing or YouTube'ing - the social aspects of the web are intense and incredible. This social aspect is referred to as Web 2.0, the social interactivity of the web between me and the web masters - and each other - YOU.
And while this honor was being bestowed on us today - there was also an article about how MySpace has unseated Yahoo as the most visited web property (page views/web traffic). Social networking overtakes the old guard.
What will be the affect on web based advertisting? We already see how online ad dollars are benefiting at the expense of traditional offline platforms. Online media will need to transform to meet the needs of the web 2.0 masses - social advertising? We'll explore this in upcoming Think-eBiz blog articles.
The online space is getting more and more exciting every day. 2006 Time Person of the Year, wow what an honor. I can't wait to tell my mom (via email), she'll be so proud!