Small Business benefits from Web 2.0
November 24th, 2007 in Startup Tips
Today we are all familiar with the power Web 2.0 holds. In this new era of Web 2.0, it's no longer enough just to have a website, one has to have a leadership thought, insert themselves in a conversations with their users. For example: Any product’s rumors in the market like quality or service can be sorted out by one blog coming from the CEO on web. Web 2.0 has created a whole new platform for enterprises, businesses just need to recognize how Web 2.0 is the bailiwick of users prowling the web today. Web 2.0 technologies, including but not limited to blogs, wikis and mashups, are growing up and are hard at work on the Web sites of major companies such as General Motors Corp., FedEx Corp., British Airways plc and Sun Microsystems Inc.Companies like Carter views mashups and other Web 2.0 capabilities as significant business opportunities for FedEx. "These new interfaces make FedEx easy to do business with, and they make our customers highly productive. Such pockets of Web 2.0 progress can be found in many enterprises. But it remains to be seen whether small companies can also sufficiently rein them in to serve their most strategic business objectives. And can these disparate technologies work in concert to achieve broader corporate goals? There is some fear that doing so could destroy the transparency, spontaneity and simplicity that make the tools so valuable in the first place. How can small Business get on the Web 2.0 bandwagon? Before small businesses can make appropriate use of Web 2.0 technology there are few things I would like them to mark as they progress in the direction: Understand Web 2.0 Small organizations should know what does Web 2.0 mean to their customers? How will they use Web 2.0 tools to grow their business and network of customers and referrals? Leave the Web1.0 mode Small enterprises should leave the Web 1.0 mode and get on to the Web 2.0 level. What Web 2.0 is about and how to bake it into every aspect of their customer-creating, customer-dialog and customer-referral habits. For most of the readers of this blog, Web 2.0 is about on-line tools that get smarter the more than customers and your staff use them. It's about marketing that is driven by user stories and applications that interact with each other to form a broader integrated platform. It's about cost-effective business tools delivered on-demand with limited in-house IT structures or support for you to manage. Let me fill you in with a few examples here: Small enterprises can manage projects and keep their customers informed about where they stand today with Basecamp from 37 Signals. They can track billable hours (everyone on the team no matter where their base of operation is) and invoice customers using FreshBooks. They can grow their business network, find talent and get introductions to people who need to know about their services and products on Facebook and LinkedIn. They can skip the whole learning curve and cost on creating and publishing newsletters by setting up a blog with Blogger/ Wordpress or any other on-line blog service. How can Small Business get on the Web 2.0 level? Just as the above mentioned examples states how appealing can Web 2.0 be for any kind of business organization, it is very essential to make the right move to apply the tool. Following are some points that would help an organization to effectively make use of Web 2.0 tools.
- Use Web as a platform for delivering all the technical services.
- Consume software services and avoid using packages software.
- Use tools and applications in the most cost effective manner.
- Give your customer’s experience the most importance.
- Provide RSS feed capabilities to your customers to get the exact information they require.
- Share your picture with your readers and users so that they can visualize your ideas and your world with pictures.
- Increase customer referrals.
A company would know that they have to come to the next level of Web 2.0 if instead of their company doing all the talking and writing, their customers do more of the talking and content creation. How can Web 2.0 ignite Small Businesses? Even though at a very initial stage, Web 2.0 has completely altered the way small companies market online. It doesn’t just place the business collaboration in the hands of managers and employees but also in the hands of potential customers, changing the chain of command approach into a spider web effect. Entrepreneurs looking for innovative ways to launch their businesses benefit greatly from this feature of Web 2.0. It gives them the competitive edge against larger corporations that are run in an inflexible top down manner. An early 2007 poll revealed that several established companies believed Web 2.0 was over-hyped and were convinced it would have no impact on their business or any other start-up business. Traditional thinking industry leaders found it difficult to believe that blogs and social networking could have world wide consequences on any level—start-up or otherwise. A few months later, Web 2.0 marketing has sky-rocketed, proving them wrong and leaving them scrambling to strategize and integrate this once innocuous marketing structure into their existing models. A lot of big and small companies may not realize and miss out the point changing disseminate reports and, to keeping the team connected via a blog. Even though it may not seem to have hard consequences but just a simple shift to blogging can result in a drastic increase in page views as new subscribers subscribe via RSS feeds. Though missing the Web 2.0 boat may not have obvious effects, there is a subtle but definite shift. Some of the Web 2.0 applications that are helping small businesses achieve unprecedented success include: Blogging Blogs are being used to keep customers in the loop. Some of the more popular blogging applications include WordPress, TypePad and Blogger. There are several options available, most of which are free. Videos & Podcasting Many businesses use podcasts to provide customers with product information, useful tips and company updates. Videos can also be included in the new podcasts, giving rise to a new trend known as podcasting. Wikis Using Socialtext, JotSpot and EditMe, businesses can develop a dialogue with visitors and allow them to edit company information in real time and also make suggestions. Social Networking Businesses are using social networking sites to create their own communities so consumers can connect with product managers. Employees too are increasingly using social networking sites to collaborate on various projects. Syndication Savvy entrepreneurs are broadening their customer reach using syndication. Feeds that are usually done in Atom and RSS formats can accommodate diverse media. While the shift to Web 2.0 has been natural and subtle, it's changes can have huge upshots for those small businesses who are willing, or unwilling, to embrace them. Some Related Articles: Web 2.0 opening the world for Small Business Can Web 2.0 Evolve Into An Enterprise Technology? Web 2.0 solutions to the customers What is Web 2.0? Are Blogging and Social Media Right for Your Business? UK Business missing out on Web 2.0 Benefits Web 2.0: All The Best Opportunities Online Are Social How to Hit the Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye