What is SMO (Social Media Optimization)? Why is it important? What should I do about it?
History of Social Media Optimization
August 10, 2006 marks the day when Rohit Bhargava, VP for Interactive Marketing with Ogilvy Public Relations, coined the term SMO. In his weblog, 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 and everyone else jumped on the thought leader bandwagon to tag on additional rules. Today there are a proposed 16 rules for SMO according to Wikipedia. While the rules and Rohit's rules make great guidelines for SMO, they do not help us in practice much. This not only applies to SMO but social media marketing in general.
There is a ton of information from marketers, bloggers, and so on about SMO and social media but a lot of people and small businesses just entering the curve still don't get what to do with this info. The 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 apply all this new information to themselves and their businesses.
The major challenge is, many people have very little time to devote to social media. So, lets get to the point. I know you are busy.
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 secret to a successful social media optimization for me or me company?
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 of mouth online is very real.
How are the smart companies and people in social media leveraging SMO to get results?
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. 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.
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. Need a guide? The Social Capitalist can help.