Networking is valuable when the relationships are real.”  Seth Godin

Lately I’m starting to get more invitations to speak at events about Web 2.0 marketing and online communications.  Although I don’t have a video of the presentation I gave last week, I couldn’t resist posting this thirty second interaction that took place before I went in front of the group at an annual Mensa “Regional Gathering” that took place last Saturday in Maryland.

I wanted to say thanks to my friend Anne Hamilton for inviting me to speak to this group on “Web 2.0 marketing.”

The rough notes from my presentation are below.

Web 1.0 through 3.0

  • Web 1.0 = a static web page that talks to you. 
  • Web 2.0 = a dynamic web page that talks to you, but that also let’s you talk back.
  • Web 3.0 = a dynamic Internet that analyzes the way you interact with different web pages based on multiple, data collecting user profiles you choose to maintain (primarily, your Facebook profile, your Google profile, etc.,) and based on your actions, you are served customized content.

The challenge with Web 2.0 marketing

  • The Internet is ruled by conventions.  Within a split second, we know two things: (1) where the advertising is, and (2) how to ignore it. 
  • We also know where the content we care about is: it comes from our friends’ Facebook posts, in comments, in uploaded photos and videos, in the blog posts of people we trust, and other places where real people are talking online.
  • So how do you get real people to carry your message?  Ask them to.  Make it really easy for them.  Reward them for helping.

Where do you begin? 

  • There are 200 million blogs, 400 million Facebook profiles, 25 billion items shared on Facebook last month alone.  How do you get noticed in all this?
  • Easy.  Start with your customers, your donors, fans.  These are people you know.  Forget the intimidating numbers.  Start with the people who love you the most.  Engage them.  Get them to take specific online actions that will bring in their friends and family naturally. 
  • The secret is: you can’t start huge.  To succeed with social media, you need to be like a baby: you start small, stay close to the people who love you, and you slowly get big.

One example

AlumniFidelity started with simple personal fundraising pages that people could use to raise money for any cause they supported (we have since changed the model significantly).  A 12-year old girl who was doing a report for her school on the worldwide disappearance of the honeybees found us, and she used our platform to raise money for Penn State’s Entomology Department, which was doing great research into this problem.  This young girl took the initiative to raise cash from her friends and family for Penn State without being asked to do so.  That’s rare.  And for every one person who will do something like this spontaneously, there are hundreds of people who are just waiting to be asked.  

Ask them.  They’re waiting to help you, and that’s what Web 2.0 marketing is all about.

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  He would love to help you market your business on the Internet, boost the fundraising numbers for your school or nonprofit, or sellout your next big event.