SMO is primarily a vehicle that enables us to reach a broad spectrum of audience through our social media networks. Similar to SEO, SMO comprises of a series of strategies and adjustments that makes your business visible.
Social media optimization is the utilization of several outlets and communities to generate publicity and increase the awareness of a product, service, brand or event. Types of social media include RSS feeds, social news and bookmarking sites, social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, video sharing websites, and blogging sites. Both SMO and SEO have the same goal – to generate maximum possible web traffic and increase awareness for a website. In a nutshell, social media optimization refers to optimizing a website and its content to encourage more users to use and share links to the website across social media and networking sites. SMO also refers to software tools that automate this entire process, or to website experts who undertake this process for clients.
The goal of SMO is to strategically create interesting online content, ranging from well-written and well-formatted text to eye-catching digital photos or video clips that encourage and engage people to a website. Then the audiences share this content, via its weblink, with their social media contacts and friends. Common examples of social media engagement are include liking and commenting on posts, retweeting, embedding, sharing, and promoting content. Social media optimization is also an effective method to implement Online Reputation Management (ORM). If someone posts bad reviews about a business or product, an SMO strategy can ensure that the negative feedback is not the first link to come up in a list of search engine results.
SMO was first used in 2006 by Rohit Bhargava in his article called “The five rules of social media optimization”. At this time, the main goal was to drive traffic to websites from social platforms. Wikipedia says “SMO is similar to search engine optimization in that the goal is to generate traffic and awareness for a website. In general, social media optimization refers to optimizing a website and its content in terms of sharing across social media and networking sites.
Social media optimization is becoming an increasingly important factor in search engine optimization. The process of designing a website in a way such that it has as high a ranking as possible on the search engines. The search engines are utilizing the recommendations of users of social networks such as Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram etc., resulting in higher rank pages in the search engine result pages. Hence, when someone shares a web page on a social network, it counts as a “vote” for its quality. Search engines can use such votes and feedback accordingly to rank websites in search engine results pages properly. Increasingly personalized search based on interests and location has increased the importance of social media presence in SEO. Due to personalized search results, location-based social media presences on websites such as Yelp, Google Places, Foursquare, and Yahoo!, Local have become very important. While social media optimization is related to search engine marketing, they also differ in several ways. SMO focuses primarily on driving web traffic from sources other than search engines, while improved search engine ranking is also a benefit of successful social media optimization. Furthermore, SMO helps to target particular geographic regions to target and reach potential customers. It helps in lead generation and contributes to high conversion rates.
SMO is in many ways connected to the technique of viral marketing or viral seeding where word of mouth is created via networking in social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. An effective SMO campaign can harness the power of viral marketing. By following social trends and utilizing alternative social networks, websites can retain existing followers and also keep attracting new ones. It gives businesses a chance to build an online following and presence, all linking back to the company’s website for increased traffic. Social media optimization is an integral part of Online Reputation Management (ORM) or Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) strategy. SMO is not limited to marketing and brand building. Smart businesses are integrating social media participation as part of their knowledge management strategy. Also, you can implement social media optimization to foster a community of the associated site, allowing for a healthy business-to-consumer relationship.
Objectives: Creating brand awareness and using social media for external communications etc.
Listening: Monitoring conversations relating to customers and business objectives etc.
Audience: Finding out who the customers are, what they do, who they are influenced by, and what they talk about frequently.
Participation and Content: Establishing a presence and community online and engaging with users by sharing useful and interesting information.
Measurement: Keeping a record of likes and comments on posts, and the number of sales to monitor growth and determine which tactics are most useful in optimizing social media.
Joshua Berg, one of the leading advocates of SMO, has come up with a seven-step model REALSMO that looks like this:
Reputation – build your reputation as a reliable qualified source.
Engagement – encourage more participation, sharing & reciprocate.
Authority – become a notable authority in your field of expertise.
Leadership – harness originality & creativity, be a Thought Leader.
Social – be social, find and engage sociable experts in your field.
Media – know your social media platforms to maximize influence.
Optimization – improve technical aspects to increase optimization.
Manage, monitor, and help in creating marketing content to socialize and use for social media purposes.
Build and maintain social media, platform-specific communities and audiences.
To support SEO strategies by identifying keyword priorities and understanding how they integrate into content marketing plans.
Assist with link building campaigns in sync with client SEO goals.
Provide analysis and recommendations as the program evolves.
Research and manage social media tools daily keeping in compliance with the clients’ social media strategies.
Monitor and evaluate social media results daily in coordination with client goals and quality standards and benchmarks.
To communicate with the team and management on project development, timelines, and results.
Work closely with the other team members to meet client goals in time.
Keep pace with social media and internet marketing industry trends and developments.
Fix and implement social media and communication campaigns keeping in compliance with marketing strategies.
Setting up of various social media channels and maintaining brand consistency.
Provide engaging content – text, image and video content for social media accounts.
Respond to comments and customer queries regularly.
Monitor and report on feedback and online reviews
Organize and participate in events to build community and boost brand identity and awareness.
Coordinate with marketing, PR and communications teams to ensure brand consistency.
Liaise with Development and Sales departments to stay updated on new products and features.
Build relationships with customers, potential customers, industry professionals and journalists.
Stay updated about digital technology trends.
Passion for social media and internet marketing industries.
Outstanding ability to think creatively.
Ability to identify and resolve problems.
Having an eye for detail.
Ability to effectively multi-task in a deadline-driven atmosphere.
Ability to clearly and effectively articulate thoughts and point of views.
High levels of integrity, autonomy, and self-motivation.
Excellent analytical, organizational, project-management and time-management skills.
Experience in social media marketing with demonstrated successes in real-life projects.
Proficiency in MS Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
Experience in working with popular social media advertising platforms found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn specifically.
Experience in working with popular social media monitoring tools and popularly established social media management tools.
Experience with website analysis using a variety of analytics tools, including Google Analytics and internal reporting tools.
Experience in working with CMS and building/administering content in CMS environments.
Basic knowledge of HTML/CSS, WordPress, and website administrations.
BS/BA degree preferred.
Optimize Your Profiles: The first and foremost essential SMO tip is to optimize all your social media profiles. Businesses must use their logo as their profile picture and use a branded cover photo. Each username must be consistent and somehow include the name of the company. This way, you can make sure that all your social media profiles are easily identifiable and visible to your audience and also, to the search engines. Make it a point to include a concise bio that conveys what your business is all about, along with a link to your website. For “about” sections on Facebook and LinkedIn, fill out as much information about your business as possible. If users have a question about your business, showcase the answers in a way such that the users can find those answers quickly. Now that you are done with optimizing your profiles, it is time to concentrate on content.
Optimize Your Content: Content is the space where you can take your SMO strategies and activities to the next level. We all know by now that “Content is King” so here are the different ways you can optimize your social media content:
Focus on Keywords: Use your SEO keyword research to your advantage while creating your social media content. Include your brand’s keywords in the titles and your content. You can also use your keywords as hashtags, so you are a part of relevant conversations and discussions. Only keywords cannot optimize your content. You will also need to use good quality images.
Use Photos: Social posts with high quality, relevant, relatable images and videos make a huge difference. HubSpot says, “When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.” It implies valuable brand recognition from which no one can turn away. Also, make sure to optimize your visual displays for each social network. Use the correct posting dimensions to make the most of the space you are allotted.
Curated & Original: When it comes to the type of content, make it a point to present a mix of curated and original content. Share new exciting stories that add value to your brand and also, that your audience can enjoy. With that, you can blend in original content to showcase the personality of your entity. The original material is essential because it has the potential that will make people share your content more and more.
CTA’s: Conclude your social posts with a call-to-action. Conclude with a question or prompt your audience to do any action. It has the potential to increase the engagement rate of your website. You will get useful insights into your audience and will give you the chance to continue optimizing your social media content.
Optimize Post Timings: Once you have optimized all your content, it is time to post it at optimal times. It can be a tricky task, but SproutSocial has crunched the numbers and come up with optimal posting times according to social network and industry. It is all about trial and error. After you cross a month of your content publishing activities, you can have a look at your audience insights to track when they were most active and adjust hence.
Analyze and Adjust: SMO includes constant analysis and adjustment. Online trends keep changing. Hence, your job is to evolve, along with those changes. Use an excellent, proficient reporting tool that gives you the required information to check whether your strategies are even working. Be it the type of content, posting time, or hashtags; you must make adjustments accordingly to check whether it impacts the numbers.
From your username to your post-timings, every detail counts when it comes to SMO. With new content continually being posted, optimization is key to reaching your target audience.