The Great Forward – The Reason to Use Web 2.0 Public Relations

“PR shortens the sales cycle.”
–Robert Geller

And one way – perhaps the most important way - it happens using Web 2.0 PR is The Great Forward.

Robert Geller, senior vice president with Fusion Public Relations in New York, and I have been having a conversation via blog, blog comments, Twitter, e-mail and phone about the only truly important question concerning the business use of Web 2.0.

Before we go on, first some definitions.  Robert Geller explains in an e-mail about the use of the phrase "Web 2.0" vs. "social media":  "I view Web 2.0 as a collection of technologies – RSS, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, blogs, wikis – and not necessarily one and the same as 'social media.'  Social media is more often used to refer to participatory media, and at least in the PR circles I travel in, people more typically talk about social media PR or SMPR for short."

Definitions matter.  The bottom line is still this:

Will a company’s use of Web 2.0 or social media or social media PR increase sales?

That is the question, and the implied objection, I have heard from the leaders of small and medium businesses, SMB, who hesitate to use Web 2.0 tools for their companies.

“When people see my product, they buy it.  My product sells itself.  What do I need Web 2.0 for?”

If a company is satisfied with its sales and sales growth, then it doesn’t need a Web 2.0 strategy any more than it needs an expanded traditional media strategy. 

I spoke with a business owner last week who, after more than 30 years in commerce, still doesn’t use e-mail.  Loyal customers, word-of-mouth referrals, moderate local community involvement, and modest traditional media placements – primarily ads in the local newspapers – generate the owner’s desired sales and sales growth.  Good.

For companies who wants to increase sales growth, however, even for those with products that sell themselves, Handshake 2.0 offers this version of Robert Geller’s wisdom.

Web 2.0 PR shortens the “it’s who you know” cycle.

A business principle that’s never in a beta version is that contacts = sales.

In a phone conversation on 1/22/09, Robert Geller said, "We tell our clients, ‘Yes, customers buy from you when they know you.  PR gets you known.'"

Web 2.0 PR gets you known more widely and more quickly.

For example, the Web 2.0 tool I'm using right now - a simple blog post - will be globally available within the seconds it takes me to post it.  Loyal readers of Handshake 2.0 will see it, subscribers via e-mail and RSS feed will see it, and search engine users seeking information related to terms and keywords used in this post will see it.

And then any of those who see it may like it enough to honor it with The Great Forward and send a link to a contact.

Contacts = sales. 

The Great Forward is the online version of that priceless business “it’s who you know,” word-of-mouth referral. 

Using Web 2.0, it can happen in seconds.

Now that’s shortening the sales cycle.


If you're interested in this conversation, you can see its beginning in our series of questions and answers on Twitter.  I, @handshake20, asked Bob Geller, @rgeller, on 1/21/09, this question:  "How does a small or medium business 'monetize' a Web 2.0 strategy?" In reply, he wrote Web Monetization for the SMB for his blog, Flack's Revenge.  You can see we continued our discussion on Twitter, then, needing more than 140 characters per thought, we talked on the phone.  This post is my latest contribution to our latest topic of discussion. 

But as I explained in this post about Handshake 2.0 on The Huffington Post, Robert Geller and I began a Web 2.0 conversation about all things Web 2.0 in August of 2008.  I treasure his expertise, his mulit-industry experience, and thoughtful insights.

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  1. Anne, thanks for the great wrap on our discussions, you have distilled the key points in an informative post.

  2. I so look forward to continued discussion with you about all things Web 2.0, social media, social media PR, and SMPR!

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