Social Media Optimization (SMO)
Social media optimization is much like organic search engine optimization but now targeted towards achieving higher brand visibility and generating viral buzz, inbound links and more website traffic from social networking web sites.
Social media optimization is the process of implementing “share” links and other tools on websites and blogs to facilitate tagging, content voting, content sharing, data exchange and adding unique content. This makes it attractive for visitors to link the site, interact with each other and use the website as a platform to virally spread content, opinions and insights throughout the social web.
By making it easy for visitors to bookmark, vote for or discover content and pass it along with their favorite tools they can associate themselves with a company’s products and services and spread the message virally.
Social media comes in many forms, including text, images, audio and video. Social media tools include: blogs, podcasts, wiki’s, online forums, user reviews on review sites, but also community-based web properties such as social networks (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), micro-blogging (Twitter), content voting websites (Digg, Reddit), content discovery sites and (StumbleUpon).
Through social media optimization web content achieves a higher visibility on social media searches at specialty blog search engines such as Technorati, content voting and bookmarking websites and are more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs and podcasts.
Benefits of Social Media Optimization
Social media optimization provides the following benefits:
- Attracts many on-topic inbound links from blogs content, voting websites (Digg, Reddit), bookmarking sites (Delicious, Magnolia) and image sharing sites (Flickr), which improve rankings in the organic search results at Google, Yahoo and Bing
- Generates free organic website traffic providing an alternative traffic source to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing
- Boosts brand visibility, generates viral buzz and deeper user engagement by facilitating the viral distribution of unique content throughout the social web
Social Media Optimization Implementation
Social media optimization is relatively easy to implement. The most obvious forms of social media optimization is the addition of unique and valuable content to a website, “share” links to Digg (Digg This) and Del.icio.us (Save to Del.icio.us) for posting content and saving bookmarks, RSS feed and links to the company social network profile (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn) to encourage visitors to engage through social networking.
There are many ways content can be optimized for social media distribution. Here are a number of examples:
- Content Creation
Key to successful social media optimization is the creation of new, unique content that is relevant to your target audience and that is organized in a way that it can easily be linked to, distributed, found and passed on to others on the Web.
- Content Distribution
For optimum content distribution content must be made available through RSS feeds, Send-to-a-friend link, social media links (Chicklets) or the “Share This” widget and directories (e.g. podcast and blog directories).
- Social Network Integration
Sharing of content and information between the company Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, YouTube Channel, Flickr Photostream and tight integration with Facebook Fan Pages through Facebook Connect.
- Copy Writing
Copy must be written specifically for the web. This means: short, scannable and to the point (focused). Attention-grabbing headlines that immediately peak the interest are particularly important when optimizing content for content voting websites like Digg or Reddit since many visitors will decide to vote for content based on the headlines.
- Copy Formatting
Well-established web formatting techniques such as bulleted lists, numbered steps and sub-heads must be used to improve readability and scannability.
Social Media Optimization Services
Our social media optimization and consulting program includes a detailed review of a prospective clients’ website or blog for the purpose of developing a social media optimization implementation plan.
The social media implementation plan includes the following components:
- Review of clients’ goals and objectives
- Define the target audience for viral content distribution
- Evaluation of the website or blog’s current visibility on social network websites, the capability to distribute content effectively throughout the social web and ability for visitors to engage with the company on the website or by accessing them through their social networking profiles.
- Development and execution of a social media optimization implementation plan to maximize content, linkability, engagement and distribution of content throughout the social network sites.