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Social Media Marketing: Leveraging Online Conversations

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By Barry Hurd

RISMEDIA, Oct. 15, 2007-As business professionals, many of us have extremely busy and sometimes hectic lives. Our daily routine usually involves handling the immediate tasks at hand, overcoming the “here and now” obstacles, and depending on our workload- some of us manage to make time for a networking event: sometimes ranging from a casual friendly dinner or an intensive conference.

The end goal of these events: finding new clients and professional contacts.

The problem: there are only so many hours in the day.

In the real world, many of us would be happy to have a professional dinner where we have the chance to share who we are with twenty-five professional contacts or prospects.

Imagine if you had the power to spend the same one hour a week sharing that information with a hundred, or even a thousand contacts and prospects. Suppose for an instance you could take the greatest party of your life and share the detailed conversation you had with that one lucky person with everyone who attended…

That is the “Economy of Scale” found within social media and online conversations. Professionals of all types (not just real estate professionals) are multiplying intellectual and conversational communication a hundred-fold by using community oriented online networks. Rather than coordinate new groups or shaking hands in the physical world, professionals are marketing themselves in digital communities and social groups. For some, this simply has the benefit of having more informational available to qualify an introduction, with such basic features as profile information. For others, they understand the online power the communities have in search engine marketing and other online marketing efforts.

A benefit of this online version of networking is historical conversation.

Historical conversation is what happens when an article is taken from a social media site and is indexed by the major search engines. Very popular phrases and search terms used in a conversation will continue to pull up an article that was written years ago; along with all the commentary and discussion surrounding it. These phrases and search terms can be very precise or sometimes be two to six words in length. Marketing professionals refer to longer search phrases as “The Longtail” of searching.

A new visitor finds the conversation by looking for a phrase in a search engine and finding the article. When a new visitor arrives and reads it for the first time, they have the ability to add additional remarks to the previous conversational thread of the article. In the conversation system (blogs, forums, as well as the search engines), this new comment resurrects the old article and brings a discussion ‘back from the dead’.

Many popular bloggers note that very popular articles continue to pull in high amounts of traffic six to twelve months after they were written. By noting what articles tend to draw visitors, you can watch your stats and when the article seems to be forgotten you can even resurrect the conversation yourself by writing a more current article that links back to points in the older article. This allows visitors to benefit from past experience and conversations, and it saves you from rewriting the same idea over and over again.

If you have ever heard or witnessed “the perfect conversation” in real life, you can understand the value of being able to browse through the best of the best conversations you have been involved in and using them as points to leverage for your business. With the right steps, a professional can perfect an ordinary idea they had into an ever-evolving conversation that becomes better and better with time.

To learn more about leveraging your conversations, see 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog

About the author:
Barry Hurd is president of Social Media Systems, an online marketing and advertising consultant group working with search engine marketing and leveraging social media communities. He has over 15 years of entrepreneurial Internet and online marketing experience. As an author and prolific blogger, he has reached online audiences around the world. Since the mid-1990s, Barry has been involved in numerous efforts to bring forth technical innovation through online business models. Past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide, Monster.com, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RISMedia.

For more information, visit www.socialmediasystems.com.

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