‘Web 2.0’ has changed the online world from a one-dimensional experience to one that now revolves around audience participation. Indeed, the audience now more than participates: it creates and changes the face of digital space every nano-second.
In my previous blog post attempting to describe what exactly ‘Web 2.0’ meant, I painted a picture of a pre-2.0 desolate landscape of dictatorial rule, where material was controlled solely by the creators of websites. I spoke of ‘Web 1.0’ and the way that businesses could only tell their customers what they wanted to say as a bad thing. So how does the realm of ‘Web 2.0’ present a wealth of opportunity to the average businessman?
Customer interactivity means that companies can build a more accurate picture of who their customer is and what they want. ‘Web 2.0’ has facilitated an exchange of ideas rather than one voice telling you the way things are going to be. Take Amazon, for example. Although the website is ‘Web 1.0’ at the heart of it in the sense that it shows you its wares and tells you what it has to offer, it contains ‘Web 2.0’ tools that let the customer feel that they have a say. Amazon gives customers the opportunities to provide their own reviews. So, if you’re thinking about buying a product, you don’t just have to rely on the official company blurb- you can see what other people think of it in the blink of an eye. It lets you create lists of products for people who are interested in similar things. It’s even taken on an eBay slant on buying and selling by creating Amazon Marketplace, where small businesses can use the website as a platform to reach more customers.
Greater customer interactivity means that ‘Web 2.0’ presents a greater opportunity to keep customers interested and involved in a brand. A fantastic example of this is the way that Cadbury’s used Facebook to launch a massive promotional campaign for their Crème Eggs. They were the first UK advertiser to take advantage of the Facebook Virtual Gift application. Users could send a Virtual Crème Egg to other users in the run up to Easter and just after to keep customer interest up.
Social networking sites that are leaders in the ‘Web 2.0’ experience, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are fantastic platforms for companies of any size, from the budding entrepreneur to the world-wide corporation, to use for the promotion and marketing of their products. For example, MySpace has bolstered many a singer’s career, as they make their songs available for people to listen to, make people aware of secret gigs and communicate to their fans via this medium.
The more you keep up customer interest through the world of ‘Web 2.0’, the more likely you will be able to preserve your relationship with them. Because customers can now voice their opinions back, businesses can improve their services from feedback that is readily available instead of having to send out onerous questionnaires. Companies can create a community around their brand that become dedicated to their products because of the interesting, exclusive extras involved.
p>‘Web 2.0’ presents a way of using the world wide web that allows members of the public to create a wealth of knowledge. It has freed up the online world from the hands of few to the grasp of many. Businesses and companies need to take hold of this opportunity to exchange information with their customers and to create strong relationships that can be maintained through the ‘Web 2.0’ experience.