How Web 2.0 Technologies Can Help Small Businesses Connect with Customers
Web 2.0 technologies include a range of Internet-based tools that if used properly can
aid your small business in reaching existing and potential customers, which can ultimately help grow your business.
Web 2.0 technologies allow businesses to create, customize and organize content on the web, rather than just
consuming existing content. Some of these technologies are blogs, podcasting, tags, social networking, RSS, instant
messaging, wikis, AJAX and online and interactive video, among others. This article will provide you with insights
into how to capitalize on using several of these Web 2.0 technologies to better reach your customers.
By: Peter Koeppel
Published: 03/07 Small Buisness Technology Magazine
Blogs are web posts or web logs that your business can create to inform potential and existing customers about your
products or services. They help to build awareness for your company and provide a venue for receiving feedback
from customers. Blogs are typically updated on a regular basis and they can include text, images, video and audio.
They are frequently linked to other useful sources of information, such as your website. By supplying useful
information to people who visit your blog, your company can become a trusted source of information, which helps
build the credibility of your firm. Search engines such as Google like blogs that are regularly updated and have
links. Regularly updating your blog and establishing links to it will help push your blog higher up in the search
rankings, and it can also help move your website up in the rankings, if it's linked to your blogs.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds allow your organization to send news and information to your
customers. It also allows managers to stay on top of information related to your business, since RSS feeds enable
a business to receive customized, relevant content on a regular basis, from various websites. RSS can help position
your company as a leading source of information. This could translate into more customers and business for your
organization, since new customers frequently seek out companies that are leaders in their industry. And RSS feeds
are a perfect resource for small businesses, because there's no cost involved in establishing and maintaining them.
Tagging enables web users to organize online information from many sources, such as websites, links, images, etc. A
tag allows you to easily find information from different places on the Internet, whenever you need it. Tags can also
help bring people to your blogs or website. In addition, tags allow people to share information online. You can
utilize tools like del.icio.us to help tag URL's with keywords related to your business. Tags can benefit small
businesses by enabling them to access and utilize information more efficiently.
Postcasting enables businesses to create their own radio shows on the web. The user can download Podcasts
automatically, so it's easy for potential or existing customers to listen to your company's broadcast. Podcasts
allow a business to broadcast their message unfiltered to the customer. They enable a business to have a conversation
with the listener, which helps to personalize the company. It's also a great format for interviewing the CEO or
leader of your company or an expert in your field of business. Podcasts can help enhance the image of your company
among existing and potential customers.
Wikis are websites that can be easily edited and updated by the users. They provide a great forum for people within
and outside an organization to collaborate. This can also create problems for small businesses, since competitors,
customers or anyone on the Internet can abuse or alter information on wikis. In order to avoid these types of
problems, a small business might consider limiting access to their wiki or only allowing employees or managers
access to editing information on a wiki. A wiki is good for documenting and sharing information, however a blog
may be a better choice for developing ongoing dialogue between a company and its customers.
Online and Interactive Video
Many small businesses may not have the resources to run an advertising campaign on television. However, it won't
cost you anything to post your TV commercial or a video clip of a key person at your company being interviewed,
on your website. If you have a clever or intriguing commercial or video, you also might consider posting it for
free on YouTube or Google Video, which are sites that are visited by millions of people every day.
Another idea to consider is creating an interactive video host on your website. The way this works is that when
someone lands on your site, a video clip of the CEO or spokesperson for your company would greet the visitor.
To gain the maximum impact from this technology, consider shooting video of your host so they appear to be
walking onto your computer screen when a visitor lands on the site and have the host appear to be talking
directly to the website visitor. The interactive host might talk briefly about the benefits of doing business
with your company and point out some of the highlights of your site. They might also talk about the benefits of
a particular product your company sells.
Also consider creating and posting various video clips on your site that a visitor can interact with. This helps to
involve the prospect with the contents of your site. Video clips on your site should be short, :30 to :60 or under,
since consumers have a limited attention span and might end up leaving your site if the video is too long
Web 2.0 Technologies Can Help Grow your Business
By experimenting and adopting these Web 2.0 technologies, your company can gain a leadership position in your
industry. These technologies can help your company to establish itself as an innovator that customers and
prospects think of first for leading edge information. By staying on top of the latest Web 2.0 technologies
you can take advantage of these web-based resources to help grow your business and customer base.
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