Web 2.0 and the new media aren’t about spamming the system to promote your goods and services. Okay, it’s exactly that for too many shysters out there. But I’d argue that if your clients are online, surely it’s logical for you to consider engaging them there. This is where authentic use of Web 2.0 tools comes into play.
If that use is inappropriate (read Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae), or too much of a step-change then at the very least you should be looking and listening. What’s being said about that widget you produce, or that resort you sell by the week, or that club you promote as exclusive, or that new restaurant you’ve opened? And, just as important, what are they saying about your competitors and the wider industry?
For not too much money and a little time you can use a pretty fine looking glass and get the low-down, the inside line and the gossip straight from the horse’s mouth. Chris Brogan points to several tools to help us in our quest for the truth: Technorati, Google Blogsearch, Twitter Search and Radian6.
I’m sure there are dozens of others worthy of inclusion but I’d add BrandsEye, BlogPulse and BuzzLogic to that stable. Finally, a very simple freebie not worth ignoring is Google Alerts (there are some technical limitations but I’ll save that for a longer post). Just plug in your keywords e.g. BMW, Audi, Mercedes and watch the emails arrive (weekly, daily or live) as the Google spiders pick up sites mentioning those keywords online.
Of course, the looking and listening are the easy parts. What you do with that new info is a whole other ball game.