Web 2.0 takes the concept of Web one step further and makes the platform a network. Instead of just passively absorbing information, users actively create the information and engage with one another. Chances are you are already into Web 2.0…but just don’t know it. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and personal blogs are all examples of Web 2.0.

When using Web 2.0 on Facebook, Twitter or any other social engagement platform there is one golden rule everyone should abide by: Think Before You Tweet (or post). Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. Remember, once you put something out on web 2.0, it’s there forever for anyone to see.

When used incorrectly there could be some very negative consequences to Web 2.0 so be careful.  The best way to protect yourself is to think before you Tweet (or post) and consider the following before making anything live:

1)   does my message have a purpose

2)   is this something I would want to read

3)   is my statement accurate

4)   will this come back to haunt me

Once you know how to avoid the pitfalls of Web 2.0 you can start enjoying its benefits. Here are just a few from a branding perspective:

1. Audience reach: Web 2.0 doesn’t discriminate and anyone, anywhere, with an Internet connection can become engaged with a brand.  Terms such a “viral video” or “trending” are often used to signal high engagement. There is unlimited potential when it comes to reach. When a brand tweets, posts or blogs something that resonates with the audience, people will want to share it.

2. Personalized communication: through Web 2.0, brands develop a voice and a personality that speaks with consumers, not just to them.  Brands and customers can have an ongoing dialogue that allows for praises, concerns and questions to be addressed directly and instantaneously. Responding to comments directly can establish a positive relationship and a positive relationship can then translate into brand loyalty.

A great example of Web 2.0 would be “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign Old Spice did in 2010. It was a Youtube campaign that lasted three days and became the quickest growing  online campaign in history. After  just 24 hours there were 6.7 million views on Youtube and grew to 23 million views after 36 hours. [1] That kind of reach  and growth wouldn’t have been possible if the campaign started with traditional television commercials. Once the video was posted, Old Spice went one step further to engage with their consumers by posting 187 video responses featuring the star of their campaign.[2]

Now that you know how to use Web 2.0 and have seen what it can do for a brand, how do you plan on integrating it into your next campaign?