What is SMO (Social Media Optimization)? Why is it important? What should I do about it?
This article gives you a solid baseline understanding of what social media optimization is and where the heck the term came from. Then it goes on to answer the questions you have about what to do with this new information. Then it tells you where to find answers to get you or your company on the fast track to SMO success.
Where did the term SMO come from?
August 10, 2006 marks the day when Rohit Bhargava, VP for Interactive Marketing with Ogilvy Public Relations, coined the term SMO. In his blog, The Influential Marketing Blog, writer Rohit Bhargava brought to light a new service offering to clients called SMO. Rohit claimed that SMO is simply to “implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs.”
Rohit went on to set 5 rules to guide our SMO practices. Later, other interactive marketers went on to add to Rohit’s original five rules and today it is said that there are a collective 16 plus rules guiding our SMO practices.
Ok, So WHAT?
While the rules and Rohit’s definition make great cornerstones to get people thinking of SMO, the practice is so new and full of a lot of gray areas. Nevertheless, companies that have employed SMO strategies have seen and continue to see significant increases in revenue in market share overtime.
We have a lot of information from marketers, bloggers, and so on about SMO but a lot of people and small businesses just entering the curve still don’t get what to do with this info. Social-Capitalist brings a real life experiences from the front lines of social media marketing to the table to help people get a grip on what is important now, and how to make it work for you.
Realistically, many people have very little time to devote to social media and so the purpose of the Social Capitalist is to cut the fat and deliver tips and strategies on how to optimize your time with social media.
So What is the Definition of SMO?
FastCompany says SMO is the distribution of social objects and their ability to rise to the top of any related search query, where and when it is performed. SEO + SMO = Amplified findability in the traditional and social web.
According to Bryan Solis, the godfather of pr 2.0, SMO is the new SEO. It is the new black. Similar to SEO, SMO has it’s white hat and black hat people trying to get something to listen to it. In the case of SEO, it was Google. In the case of SMO it is the people. While SEO is still extraordinarily important, it is not enough to compete in a market turning more and more toward new media for information and answers.
What is the Key to SMO for my brand or business?
The answer? In a nutshell: EC = MC as stated by @TomForemski. This means that Every Business is a Media Company, or at least it needs to become one in order to maintain a sustainable competitive advantage to stay in business. Social objects have become so deeply embedded into the information exchange that social search is quickly becoming more powerful that search engines. Moreover, organizations themselves are needing to get involved themselves to truly optimize social media campaigns because the campaigns require being deeply embedded in a variety of content and conversations. The difference? You are dealing with people, the conversation you are having, the message you are sending, the video you are sharing is with another person- not a computer or a billboard audience, tv viewers who are not paying attention. SMO cannot be packaged into a box with a bow on top like SEO either. Why? Same reason, the human element is very real and word or mouth marketing is very real and helpful
How are Smart Companies Leveraging SMO Strategies to Improve their Businesses?
The straight-forward answer I will give you is that businesses are spending a lot of money and/or a lot of time to achieve be a social media leader in their particular industries. It is usually when they are spending a lot of money and a lot of time that they get the best results from SMO strategies. (On a personal note, I’ve found that the more they don’t get it, the more fearful they are and the more willing they are to simply throw money at you to do everything for them.) In a nutshell, the answer to this question is time and money. They are investing money into understanding how social media works, getting strategies from experts, and buying tools to monitor and automate the stuff that can be automated. They are investing time into learning how to take these strategies and put them into action. They are investing time into training employees and time into learning what to do themselves.
On a side note, if you are interested in reading some case studies on how companies are using social media, the Social Media Examiner has a couple good ones. I’ve also pointed out some interesting ways companies use social technologies for marketing in a related post linked.
So what do I do now? I don’t have time or money!?
Do not be overwhelmed. The worst thing you can do now is panic and rush into creating a Facebook page or starting a company blog before having a plan. I will be one of the few to tell you that if you have not created a Facebook page yet, don’t. Don’t even think about it right now.
I will tell you, however, to take a look at what you want to achieve with Social Media. Then read this article on the questions you need to ask yourself before you jump on the social media bandwagon.