Seven is a magic number. Why? Because there are seven simple strategies every small business can employ to jump on the social marketing bandwagon. The best part: most require only a moderate investment of time and/or money.

1. Start Blogging – Blogging is old news to many. Not quite the distant past, but still not the future… sort of a Web 1.5. Is blogging what’s ‘hot’ at the moment? Well, no. It certainly doesn’t compare with chasing a link from the front page of Digg. But blogging is alive and well! It continues to be a great way to get interactively connected with your customers. ‘Dialoguing’ is the reason social marketing exists. How much time you invest in your blog is up to you, but you’ll get out what you put in. You don’t have to drive yourself crazy putting in daily entries, but you should establish a regular schedule for your blog updates. Otherwise, when people check your blog they’ll see the same-old/same-old so often that they’ll stop visiting your site… which is the whole reason you started the blog! So don’t shoot yourself in the foot by creating a blog that’s a visitor-repellent rather than a visitor-magnet.

Blogging is not a monologue. Your blog is not the electronic equivalent of Hamlet’s soliloquy. Just the opposite! Blogging is about creating conversations and joining others in progress. Take time to read what others in your industry are saying. Get in on the discussion (and get your name out there) by posting your comments on other blogs. It’s free, and again, the amount of time you invest can bring some very big returns. The beauty of blog posts is that you’ll almost always be encouraged to supply your name and URL when leaving a comment. This is a great way to build visibility and create a springboard to catapult traffic from other blogs to yours.

2. Take and share Digital Photos – Flickr can be a tremendous marketing tool thanks to its incredibly active photo groups. The time and cost investment are minimal, and you can use Flickr to reach thousands of highly targeted prospects with compelling images of your product.

3. Be The Answer Man (or Woman) at Yahoo Answers – There’s one thing you have to provide that no one else does – your expertise. If you’re a service-based business, your knowledge is your #1 marketing tool. Yahoo Answers is a great place for you to hammer away at prospects. Imagine being the go-to person that people seek out. That’s who you’ll be at Yahoo Answers.

There’s no better way to share your expertise and make an instant and direct connection with potential customers. I know dozens of marketing pros like me who spent as little as an hour or two each week answering SEO and promotíon-oriented questions there. They tell me that they’ve been able to track big results from even that small investment of time.

4. Get Into the Movie Business – Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but moving pictures are worth their weight in solid gold marketing. Fortunately, good video cameras are cheap these days, and a short video needs little editing/production work in today’s “everyone’s a filmmaker” environment. And if you’ve got the creative “chops” to add some sizzle to a video, go for it! Be the next Scorsese, if you can. Fortunately, the software you need to add special effects won’t break the bank. The most “viral” videos are usually spontaneous and unproduced… merely “captured” by a videographer. For marketing purposes, however, a produced video is the way to go… and a how-to video featuring your product is a good choice. If the look or location of your business is a selling point, “tour” videos – of a workplace, a restaurant, the homes you sell, the real estate you landscape, etc. – are your best bet.

Marketing videos are finding a home on local search portals like CitySearch. The find-it-in-your-town site announced that local video ads will be added to its listings. YellowPages.com is also exploring the idea of video opportunities.

Upload your videos to a unique page on your website or add them to your blog page. But don’t stop there! YouTube is the most obvious – and the most active – sharing destination. And there are so many others. Just nose around the web and you’ll find ’em.

5. Don’t Wait To Visit StumbleUpon.com – There are many so-called ‘discovery’ type sites in social marketing. The best-known are Digg, Reddit, and Netscape, but they’re also a bit complicated. StumbleUpon requires the lowest time investment. The site’s functionality makes it much quicker and easier to join groups related to your industry and add friends from those groups.

Once you’ve joined and created your lists, you can start to upload “sticky” (appealing to visitors) content and before you know it, other users will “stumble upon” what you’ve added. That’s when the “magic begins”. When visitors give your pages good feedback, your content is shown to even more users.

You can’t sell your product or service on StumbleUpon. The benefit it offers is increased traffic, which can lead to increased profíts. Those profíts are just a click away because your site is just a click away. Think of StumbleUpon as a way to raise awareness, Blog readership, grow subscribers, etc… all of which ultimately feed into your profit stream.

6. Join Up – A HUGE part of social marketing is detective work. You need to find your customers where they like to hang out. Well, if your customers are like most people on the planet, it’s pretty likely that they hang out at Yahoo Groups or Google Groups to share interests and opinions.

Fetch, Marketer! Go get those prospects.

Like Flickr, the groups at Yahoo and Google are organised into interest-based lists. When you join the lists and discussions, you can provide your expertise (there’s that word again) and become a trusted member of the community… the person that other people will want to do business with. There’s no better outcome to marketing than that!

7. Make Friends Not Noise – As you explore social marketing opportunities across the web, be sensitive to the rules and regulations posted on various websites. As a member of a social community, it’s your obligation to play by the rules… so make sure you know them and follow them! But here’s one general rule for using these sites as marketing tools: Don’t spam the system. Flickr doesn’t want your entire product inventory posted, and they have rules against doing so. But a few high-quality photo submissions that add to the community are fine.

Whatever social marketing you do, make a contribution to the community. Try to add content and comments of value, not an endless spew of “Buy my product” messages. In other words, don’t be a leech that’s merely there to suck up prospects. Give back a little. Or, better yet, give back a lot! When you do that, you’re on the road to social marketing success. (Translation: more money than you’ll know what to do with!)

And remember, with social marketing we’re not talking about any old traffic. We’re talk about platinum, USDA Prime, pre-qualified, eager to do business, trusting, ready and willing prospects who don’t think of you as a business… they think of you as a friend.

So be a good friend. Deliver on the promise of quality and service. If you do that, social marketing will make you rích beyond your wildest dreams.

So stop dreaming and start marketing… socially.

About The Author
By Jonathan Jay: Founder and Managing Director of SuccessTrack. Helping Business Owners Make More Profit in Less Time With Less Effort. Strategies like that can explode your small business quickly, that’s why you should go right now to http://www.freemarketingbook.org and request a copy of Jonathan Jay’s new book “Marketing Secrets of a Multi-Millionaire Entrepreneur”, a 72 page book with hundreds of practical ideas. About SuccessTrack – http://www.successtrackonline.com

There are several ways to get website traffic fast and free, and I’m going to share ten niche ways with you.

Article Submission

You don’t need to be an award winníng expert on the topic you are writing about – just pick an area that is related to the theme of your website, do a bit of research using a search engine and before you know it you will have more knowledge on that subject than most. Write in a relaxed, straightforward way. And, of course, when you add your details at the end of your article, make certain that you include your web address as well.

URL Submission

This sounds so obvious, yet so many people overlook it. Website URL submission is about getting more links to your website to help your website get ranked high on major search engines, thus getting more visitor traffic by, well, submittíng your website URL to the major search engines. You can buy or subscribe to software that will do this, but it is quite possible to get a good return by submitting manually.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a way for internet users to store, classify, share, search and discover Internet resources that they find useful. Since social bookmarks are saved online, users are able to access them from anywhere – at home, at work or while travelling.

These lists can be accessible to the public by users of a specific network or website. What you need to do first is register with a social bookmarking site which allows you to store and tag bookmarks. Most social bookmarking services allow users to search for bookmarks which are associated with given “tags”, and rank the resources by the number of users which have bookmarked them. This means that other visitors and members of social bookmarking sites can search for resources by topic, category, keyword, tags, or popularity to see what others have saved. As a user, social bookmarking sites let you find useful, informative resources through pages that have been tagged because others have found them to be valuable sources. Voila – more web traffíc. Free.

Forum Posting

Forum posting is a hands down alternative to paid advertising methods. For just a few hours of work every week, you can capture batches of interested leads everyday. The more forums you contribute to, the more you will gain traffic. If you are an active forum poster, you will also get a good feel about the kind of products that are hot on the market.

Please don’t overlook the forum signature or commonly called resource box – it’s a powerful free advertising tool for you. What you must do is edit your forum signature. Basically, a curiosity inducing one-liner and a link to your website is great. Once you have edited and saved your signature, it will appear at the bottom of all your comments in the forum discussions. That means, the more you participate in the discussions in the forums, the more people see your semi-ad written on your signature. I promise, this will encourage people to visit your website, and hopefully buy from you.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways to get the word out about your website and can be done with very little technical expertise and therefore is easy to start up. If you have a product or service you believe in, visit a site such as Clickbank and open an account. Follow the simple instructions to gain affiliates – and traffic.

Press Releases

It’s a fact that a well-written Press Release can dramatically improve your sales, expose your company to the masses, and greatly enhance the image of your business or products. Publicity is the most cost-effective web traffic building marketing tool there is, and, surprisingly, web traffíc can be generated by ink and paper!

Classified Ads

Again, it’s easy to associate Classified Ads with yesterday’s technology, but they are extremely cheap and a one line product or service description, together with your website, will pay dividends.

Blog Comments

If you are an avid blog follower, you have to include Blog Commenting in your web traffíc arsenal. You will almost always find a “comments” link at the end of each post. Good blog commenters add to the discussion and are known as knowledgeable, informative, friendly and engaged. Join them!

FaceBook

Don’t forget that you can use Facebook to its full potential to attract more visitors to your website. You can get away from just interacting with your school or college friends and start interacting with people within your industry or other industries that you want to get into.

An easy way to do this is to join groups that interest you as well as make friends with people that you want to get to know. Fill out your profile (fully) – the best profile on Facebook is a complete one.

Videos

Finally, why not make a video and post to video sites too! This is not a Warner Bros. effort! Your PC or Mac may well have a webcam, or you can borrow a camcorder or Flip. Write a brief script – lights- camera – action – and upload to YouTube. (Just remember to be sure to link it back to you.)

Well – there you are. Not all of the ten suggestions I’ve outlined may appeal, but if you select three or four, stick with them, and implement them on a regular basis, you will see your web traffíc grow significantly. My best to you.

About The Author
Did you find these suggestions helpful? Is your website making you money? Go to UltraSimpleWebTraffic.com to find out more and claim your free visitor traffic mini course by James Gladwin.