Are You Chasing the Web 2.0 Trend? Part 2

Last time, I asked you to put your Web 2.0 strategy under a microscope to see how well it aligns with your business goals. There’s an awful lot of hyperbole out there, so it’s important to be very clear in how you approach this opportunity. This week, I want to point out some successful strategies and discuss what you can learn from them.

First up is YouTube. Every day, I seem to get a link to some funny video involving cats, babies, or guys with strange musical talents. Someone sent me a clever comedy series. Then there’s the Mountain Dew campaign. Last time I checked, there were about 2,200 videos, including those produced by the company’s agency and some created by aspiring filmmakers and advertising agencies.

Mountain Dew’s target is the YouTube generation, and a proliferation of videos keeps the brand relevant. Consider also Valvoline: 33 videos. Its video strategy seems to be on target as well.

Head over to Facebook and search on “harley davidson.” It has its own network and 137 members. The Coca-Cola network has 1,196 members. Facebook still reaches the prime 18-24 demographic, which seems to align well with Coke. It’s now working to extend its target age to 40. I bet the Harley Davidson network grows a lot over the next year.

These are just a few strategies that seem to be working well. The fact that none of these companies has spent much, if any, money on them is part of the value. Web 2.0 is driven by users, not by companies. Figure out how to empower your passionate users. Coke facilitates this by not having lawyers threaten copyright infringement every time someone puts up its logo.

Compare these to some of the “blogs” created by well-known brands. I can imagine the conversation between these companies and their marketing and advertising agencies. They were clearly chasing the Web 2.0 trend. If they wanted to take advantage of community, they should have tapped into the community, not attempted to kick-start it.

One of our clients is launching a community site later this year. The content is driven by community members for community members. It taps into a shared passion they all have for the product and what it can do. The intent was not to create a community; it was to create a home for the community that already exists.

Find a way to align your brand and your business goals with the voice of the marketplace. Become knowledgeable about the discussions already taking place. Get everyone in your organization to become social media consumers first, creators second. Consider the long-term benefit of your investment, and measure the heck out of it on a regular basis.

Finding the right strategy and investments can make Web 2.0 pay off, but the results must build over time. You need to be in it for the long haul. If your ad agency wants to create a viral video, ask your rep to quantify the ROI (define) even if he tells you it will take a year to pay off. Web 2.0 has lots of potential, but never take your eyes off measuring how that potential pays off for your business.

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