Blog post

Is Your Social Media Strategy Really Web 2.0?

By Anthony J. Bradley | August 17, 2009 | 7 Comments

I speak to many organizations about their social media strategy. I am often excited to hear that they have formulated a social media strategy only to find that it is glorified Web 1.0. What do I mean by this?

These glorified Web 1.0 strategies are really communications-based strategies for how to pump out the corporate message through social Web outlets (facebook, Twitter, etc) rather than community-based collaboration.

I have a basic and easy mantra for this. If it is 1-way communication then it is 1.0. To be 2.0 it must be 2 way collaboration. Loading video on Youtube, creating a corporate facebook presence, and starting a corporate Twitter account isn’t Web 2.0. Now, I’m not saying that adding the social Web to your communications strategy isn’t important, it is. But it really isn’t Web 2.0. It won’t deliver the benefits of engaging the community.

The most successful social media Web 2.0 solutions are not only 2 way but they are heavily unbalanced 2 way (meaning that the vast majority of the content and interactions come from community participation not the enterprise).

Enterprise leaders need to recognize when their social media strategy is corporate communications heavy (versus community collaboration centric) and understand that, at best, they are scratching the surface of Web 2.0 and that tapping the power of the collective will require a whole different level of social media strategy.

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  • C Seibel says:

    I agree with your perspective.
    Web 2.0 strategies also need to contemplate the policy framework for two-way communication. I think many organizations fall into the Web 1.0 trap because they can’t come to grips with letting go the corporate message. A solid understanding of the organization and its members is an important component of the social media strategy. Risk-averse organizations have problems making this leap.

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    C Seibel,

    You are dead on. The most frequent response I get is that, “Culturaly, we are not ready to open up to the world yet.”

  • If you are going to say that just opening the accounts for posts is 1.0, then I guess I can agree with that. But by nature, FB, Twitter, Blogger, etc are 2.0. The potential is there for the two-way interaction you point out is necessary for a social media tool to be 2.0.

    If you set up a blog to not accept comments, let’s say, than that 2.0 tool becomes a 1.0 tool. But if comments are turned on, why not classify it as 2.0?

    People have to be prepared to respond in the 2.0 world. They just can’t behave 1.0.

  • Anthony Bradley says:


    Thanks for your comment and the opportunity to clarify. I’m not talking about “Is your tool 2.0?” I’m talking about “is your solution (implementation) 2.0?”

    Even though facebook, Twitter, etc., are Web 2.0, it doesn’t mean your use of them is 2.0. That is my whole point. You bring up a great example that if you have a blog and you don’t enable comments then you don’t have a Web 2.0 implementation of the Web 2.0 tool. I might go even further and say that even if you do have comments enabled but are not getting comments then you have failed to achieve 2.0 with the 2.0 tool.

    Just because “the potential is there” for 2.0 in the tool doesn’t mean your use of the tool is 2.0. Alas, that potential can remain unrealized. It is up to the enterprise to ensure that their implementation of a Web 2.0 tool is indeed a 2.0 solution. Chances are it won’t happen by itself.

    I hope I’m not rambling but am clarifying my point 🙂

  • Anthony, you are correct.

    Tools are one of the least important parts of a social media strategy, although most companies start off there. No surprises, it’s something pushed by their agency or marketers as a smart new “campaign”.

    We actually find that the senior decision makers, including the CMO, realise that a social media strategy is something much bigger than the agency is touting. They realise that this is somehow going to touch the whole customer engagement and experience, across many parts of the organisation, and requires change management and training, and is quite complex. In short it is beyond the Agency’s understanding, but the CMO doesn’t know where to turn to get business oriented advice about what else to do.

    That’s why we developed our top-down business processes and implementation guidelines – to teach business managers how to assess, plan and implement a holistic social media strategy. This strategy must be aligned and coordinated with their other customer experience and engagement initiatives. The objective is to win business and build the return on customer.

    As far as your comment about organisations saying that “we are not ready” then the conversation needs to swing to the fact that the organisation being ready or not is irrelevant. The issue is where and how and with whom are their customers and partners and competitors associating with in the social web. The presentation of this kind of objective evidence, what we call the Social Media Assessment, is usually enough to shock organisations into action.

    Walter Adamson
    Social Media Academy, Australia

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    Good point that if they “are not ready” how important is it that they “get ready,” and pronto. Customer expectations and competitive landscape are primary motivators.

  • jeremy says:

    100% agree. And, I believe that the skill sets required to be make social media technologies a success have less to do with technology and more to do with understanding people.