There is a need in all humans to feel connected with one another, to interact with others and to be able to relate to another person. Social media optimization thrives on that need. Social media is all about communication. It’s about sharing perspectives, insights, experiences and opinions with one another via blogs, wikis, message boards, and videos.
While SEO is still an effective means to gain traffic, the web is no longer two dimensional. It has evolved. It’s become increasingly interactive, taken on a three dimensional shape. One that caters to our visual and audio senses, and allows web browsers to have more control over what they see, hear, and, what is “hot”. Search engines alone no longer determine what is popular. This is great for net marketers in a number of ways.
Social media optimization, according to Wikipedia, is a way to optimize web sites so they would be more easily connected or interlaced with online communities and community websites, also called social media sites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, adding a “DiggThis” button, and incorporating third party community functionalities like Flicker photo slides and galleries or YouTube videos. Social media optimization is a form of search engine marketing.
The four characteristics of Social Media Optimization are:
Participation- Consumers are not afraid to participate in communities by generating content and engaging in conversations about topics that interest them. Web masters who know this are constantly encouraging user participation on their own sites and blogs.
Conversation- Consumers today do not want to be marketed to. Blatant advertisements are not as effective as they used to be. Instead, consumers wish to be communicated with through conversation that is being stirred up on blogs, wikis and forums. Consumers now have methods to express their thoughts, recommendations and complaints and they are doing so. Webmasters can now communicate with their target audience in real time, and can take these concerns, recommendations to better serve their audience.
Openess- To build trust with their target audience in order facilitate conversation, webmasters must first be open with them. They need to let them know who they are right off the bat. Pretending to be someone your not is the surest way to lose trust. And because any good business is first built on trust it’s crucial to be open and honest with your market.
Community- Social media conversation is not pulled out of thin air. Every form of social media is based on the fact that we all want to belong to something; they all have a community component to them. Social media sites are micro-communities that allow people with similar interest to share insight, advice, and recommendations about products and services. Before a webmaster can begin to monetize they must first become an accepted member of the community. This is why the first two characteristics are so important.
SMO can be a websites savior. Many web sites are “static” meaning they are rarely updated and are used as a storefront. Setting up a blog or adding unique, provoking pieces to sites like Digg is a great way to increase linkage to your website. Encourage user participation by facilitating the conversation that is happening virtually everywhere. By not joining in you are silencing yourself. Get heard yourself heard. Consumers are already talking about products and services; help them to get their attention on yours.