What is the Web 2.0 World Saying about you, now?
I strongly recommend any Marketing/PR person just starting out to download and install Particls: http://particls.com/. You can use Particls to watch the internet for you. Enter the phrases and words that are your products and brands, and watch the conversation that ensues.
It is wise to start your online journey by engaging the existing conversations and existing communities, rather than attempting to start your own lonely blog and talk to noone.
Social Networking use by Marketing/PR
Social network using MySpace/Facebook/MSN Live/Linkedin/Bebo etc etc etc is a perfect mechanism for creating a community; and more importantly: staying connected.
Note that people are largely engaged in these communities for personal social reasons, not to have a product shoved down their throat. The rule of authentic voice applies.
SecondLife use by Marketing/PR:
Know who and where of your audience. Despite heavy hype in the traditional media, the number of people logged in to SecondLife always seems low. (25000 to 40000)
There is something enticing about a completely immersive 3D world, where in a dream-like state you can fly anywhere and build anything. It demos well, and the allure of “instant millions” attracted a certain “type” of initial user.
The web was like this in 1994/5. Not much out there, much hype and a limited few had the hardware and ‘bandwidth’ to participate. I would highly recommend doing deep research prior to significant investment.
Fully immersive worlds such as World-of-Warcraft (note: you probably cannot market here) are very successful; and the future of end-user generated immersive worlds is large.
Twitter use by Marketing/PR:
@Froosh expressed it best: Twitter is micro-blogging: thoughts in 140 characters. It is also more instant. What is happening now. An organisation’s existing blog strategy should also cover Twitter.
Running 2 bots (http://twitter.com/NeilFinn and http://twitter.com/Elv15) and an event alias (http://twitter.com/auremix07) my assessment is that Twitterers are looking for real people, not chat bots at the other end of the line. Twitterspam such as “go visit this link” and the like causes mass unsubscribes. “Our product x is now shipping” the same.
What the Twitter-verse is looking for is the instant human reaction and feeling from events that precedes the formal cycle.
So, just Twittering to get a “message through” or hype a product/event does not work. What is needed is an authentic, honest voice of a real person. It is part of your Word-of-mouth, viral strategy.
In a Write/ReWrite/Read Web, People matter. Not Messages