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By Barry Hurd

RISMEDIA, Oct. 30, 2007-There are dozens of buzz-words around the “Web 2.0” space- everyone has pretty much experienced blogs and podcasts, some have wandered through online communities, and many have watched an online video of some form. There are also hundreds, if not thousands, of tools revolving around the idea of driving more pertinent traffic to a site.

The good news…all of those buzz-words and little companies are basically side notes to the bigger picture. There are five simple ideas you can utilize with social media to help drive increased traffic to a site, and none of them are rocket science.

The core idea is to understand that Web 2.0 and social media is about fresh content and the possibility of conversation. Rather than presentation (Web 1.0), it is about interaction (Web 2.0).

Once you think about that basic ideology, there are five concepts that can be applied to your business practices online:

1. All new content has the ability to create inbound links. When a reader finds a useful piece of information on your site, whether personal or professional information about your area or industry, they have a significant chance of passing that information along. For real estate, this is one of the reasons that detailed and insightful information on a neighborhood is good for business; it has a chance to help sell a home to the current reader, but that current reader is also a potential promotional spokesperson as well. ACTION ITEM: Make it a mission to have your site updated with fresh content at least once a week.

2. Those inbound links create significant impact on the search engines. When articles are correctly written and indexed on your site, they will show up for various competitive keywords being searched for online. Depending on the exact phrase, some articles may pull in 1 to 500 viewers per day off of search traffic. ACTION ITEM: Visit the search engines and find out what valuable keywords are out there that your competitors are overlooking.

3. Conversational articles and posts create action. Just like in the real world, boring conversations die an awkward and often brutal death. To inspire interaction and conversation, concentrate on providing useful information and a new perspective on it. Even if you feel one specific way towards a topic, it is best to present information from a “devil’s advocate” position and garner the audience from both sides of the conversation. ACTION ITEM: If you present information, present several sides. Do not avoid controversy, just avoid painting yourself into any one corner and alienating part of the audience.

4. Do not avoid conversational hubs of activity. Just like a real-life party, being in the right spot at the right time is essential to promoting your personal and professional brand. Every conversation is a chance to promote yourself -sometimes quietly by using a custom signature line, or sometimes very actively by hosting the conversation in your own virtual community that is centered around a topic that drives business to you. ACTION ITEM: Have your business interact with half a dozen other conversational sites in your area on a weekly basis, focus on staying consistent and establishing a presence with readers in other hubs of conversation.

5. Learn to “leverage your time” using new tools. One of the largest assets of social media and online conversation is the ability to gain the attention of influencers and prospects. Not all readers are created equal, there are some that are using your site as information in the decision buying process, and some that are capable of spreading your message to thousands. ACTION ITEM: Identify the top ten “online personalities” in your area who already have readers online and join their conversation.

The above steps are the basics of forming an effective social media traffic source for a business. By following the fundamental rules, social media traffic can be steadily grown over the course of days, weeks, and months and doesn’t go away. It establishes itself as an entirely new business asset that can become as valuable as having a prestigious office location and it can also work in tandem to magnify many old-school marketing campaigns.

There are many other more complex ideas covering how social media and traditional marketing can work together, but a key to establishing an effective campaign of any nature is to start one. The online audience is evolving so quickly that the idea of learning everything before taking action is an impossibility. Making a commitment to the basic steps and learning on a monthly basis as the market changes with your business is a critical mindset for successful business owners.

To learn more about brand conquesting, 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. Past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide,, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RISMedia.

For more information, visit

To read more about social media marketing, please see the following articles: