Social marketing boosts visibility

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Relax. this is not another lecture on how to get on MySpace and start putting videos on YouTube. In fact, most companies should be cautious about leaping headfirst into these mass-market, social networks. Instead, start your social-media efforts incorporating RSS (real simple syndication) strategies, such as blogging, podcasting and keyword feeds, to drive traffic, visibility and social interaction.

Stop thinking about your "target customer" and consider them as "information consumers." These people are seeking specific content relevant to their needs as a basis for making future purchasing decisions.

Being visible online and relevant to the information consumer at his or her exact time of need is critical to online-marketing success. This is why paid-search marketing on Google and Yahoo has exploded.

By blending paid-search efforts with social-media tactics, you can better engage these information consumers who are looking for a dialogue that will drive traffic, conversion rates and, ultimately, sales. Instead of clicking through an ad and passing on from your site, these information-hungry visitors will join in conversations surrounding your company's products or services.

Just what is RSS? RSS is a one-to-one, one-to-many distribution system. Simply, RSS equips marketers with the power to self-publish and distribute content. No more cramming all of your content into a single newsletter to please the masses. Instead, you can create numerous content channels to push your message for consumption.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of RSS is the dramatic increase in online visibility. Google recognizes RSS feeds as extremely relevant content vehicles, even to the point of presenting the feed content in a results page. Publishing content through RSS pings the search engines, notifying them that new content is available. This brings out the search bots to index the content.

The increased frequency and relevancy of content increase the number of pages on your site that are indexed by the search engines. The residual benefit is higher natural search positioning of your content.

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