Web 2.0, Social Media Web Design, and Starting Conversations!

Les Kollegian

Recently, I was reading a great article on socialmediatoday.com about the current discussion that many agencies (like mine) have with potential and current clients about Web 2.0 features and what the return on investment will be for their business, if any at all. Aptly titled, I’m F*cking Sick Of The “ROI Of Web 2.0″ Debate, it points to examples of the current success of e-commerce and social media that may have been doubted by the “naysayers” – those who prefer to sit on the sidelines while others take chances and reap rewards.

I would say on average, we meet with 1-2 different prospective clients a week that really don’t understand the value of social media and how it can affect their business because social media and the Web doesn’t apply to them. When we discuss Web 2.0 and Social Media, we are mainly referring to the elements of community and interactivity (i.e, blogging, commenting, etc..). As a Company, we go to great lengths to to educate our clients on the importance of Web 2.0, not only for site “stickiness” and creating repeat and long-term business, but for the additional search engine optimization value to their Web site gained by this functionality with the proper content. Many times, they just don’t see the potential “return” or really just don’t understand how it will work for them.

Case and point. This weekend I am minding my own business watching my son play Crash Bandacoot on my Ipod Touch. I decided to check my email and lo and behold, a friend request waiting for acceptance in my Facebook account. My rule on Facebook is that I generally don’t accept “friend requests” from people I don’t know as it is a personal account and I use to keep up with long time friends and family and to post pictures of me and my son. Of course I have my Web site listed for all my friends to see and to maybe spark some interest in my business. However, as a personal account, I never expect to really get any business from my listing.

It turns out that it was the owner of a popular wetsuit company (to remain unnamed for now) who found me, said he liked my Web site, and wanted to discuss plans for his 2009 campaign. SOCIAL MEDIA and Jacob Tyler WIN!! Now, will we become the Agency of Record of this currently unnamed wetsuit company? We don’t know, but we will certainly do our best to achieve that goal and create a win win for both of us. The point is though, without Web 2.0, Jacob Tyler, or Les Kollegian, for that matter may have never been found and we would chalk it up to a missed opportunity. If this company becomes a client, it’s possible that the time and money I spend on developing and marketing our own company may now have been paid for ten-fold.

When developing Web sites in 2009 and beyond, please take into consideration that what you put into it is literally what you will get out of it. Of course, Web campaigns and marketing will need to consist of much more than social media and Web 2.0 to be successful, however it doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber or a doctor, you MUST be the expert in your field and enable your customers or clients the ability to instantly communicate with you and others to start the conversation and build long-term relationships.