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Tweed-jacket Evangelists

April 15th, 2007 by Edward

web 2 LogoThis week I’ll be spending most of my time surrounded by an abnormally large amount of people with laptops and tweed jackets (mostly worn by venture capitalists…I presume). With just one day under my belt, the Web 2.0 conference is proving to be quite informative.

EvangelistAlthough this conference is not directly focused on viral marketing, there is a lot of useful information that can help viral campaigns. In some ways, you can say that web 2.0 products, which are about social networking and sharing, are inherently viral by nature.

One of the workshops I attended today was about community evangelism. It was presented by Anil Dash and Deborah Schultz. Here are the top 5 things I took away from this session:

  1. We should strive to develop marketing communication that people would want to keep and share. Unlike emails and newsletters, which are often deleted, we need to create information that is valuable for the long run (e.g. blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc).
  2. A lot of successful product today are based around a simple concept: offering people control. Tivo gives people control over when they watch a show. iPod allows people to take control of what they listen to (unlike radios). One example of a web version of this are RSS feeds. Unlike emails, the public chooses when and where they receive information. As a result companies are able to distribute information without being intrusive or rude. Hence, companies are able to form relationships rather than one-time connections. As Jerry Michalski said, “transactions are the by-products of healthy relationships.”
  3. We were in the world of the “let buyer beware” now we are in the world of “let the seller beware”. Thanks to people like bloggers, companies have to be careful about how they treat their customers. Not only might they lose a sale, but they also stand the risk of one person influencing millions of other people not to buy. So make sure you plays nice.
  4. Evangelism is not about lecturing to people. The most effective evangelists are in actuality witnesses. An evangilist has to experience and live the benefits of the product.
  5. When interacting with your community via blogs, message boards, IM, email, or any other form of communication, we need to strive to offer value. This value doesn’t have to be tied into any monetary gain. It simply needs to provide either insite, validation or a connection. It can be as simple as “I work for the company that you’re talking about. I think you have an interesting point about…”

So how does all this relate to viral marketing? Viral campaigns are almost always spread through social networks. The more social networks you can tap into, the better.

Photo credit: bbaltimore

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Posted in General, Social Marketing|

One Response

  1. deb schultz Says:

    Thanks Edward. Nice summary - value and “genuineness” definitely go a loooong way.

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