Understanding Social Media Optimization


In our previous post, Dealing with Trolls Part 2, we continued our series with a discussion on how to handle negative commenters in your communities. In this post, we take a look at how to increase your visibility, linkability, and inclusion in social media.


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Social Media Optimization

Every enterprise site should have a content team, a Web Content Management System (we like Tridion), and enterprise-quality search engine (we like Endeca), a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team, and good policies and procedures to ensure that dynamic and static content is managed, updated, edited and retired – in other words, a Content Development Life Cycle (CDLC).

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The social media component of your enterprise site must fit into these structures, and can be treated in the same way as any other dynamic content. What we think changes when your site goes social is the necessity for a Social Media Optimization (SMO) strategy and practice. Developing SMO and integrating it into your version controls and update calendars is the essential activity you’ll need to undertake if you want to succeed in socializing your Website.

The term Social Media Optimization refers to techniques you can use to get the most out of your social media efforts. Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy Public Relations coined the term, and explained it like this:

The concept behind SMO is simple: 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 .

Bhargava proposed 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO)[1] which were later expanded to 16, and which we’ve adapted below:

  • Increase your linkability
    Enable and encourage others to link to you, and you should aggregate and link to your other content as well
  • Make tagging and bookmarking easy
    Enable others to tell a friend; list relevant tags on your pages
  • Reward inbound links
    Enable permalinks (links to, say, a blog that will never change) and feature bloggers who link to you
  • Help your content travel
    Submit PDFs or videos, and the like, to other sites to increase their reach
  • Encourage the mashup
    A mashup is when someone else does something with your content; the classic case is the Google Maps Mashup[2]
  • Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you
    The classic give to get; contribute to the community and it will come back to you; link users off your site if it will help them
  • Reward helpful and valuable users
    Reward influencers and champions by promoting their works on the homepage, develop a rating system, or just drop them a quick note in private telling them you appreciate them
  • Participate
    If you’ve read this far, you know why
  • Know how to target your audience
    If you’ve read this far, you know why
  • Create content
    While this seems like a duh moment, think about the content you create in terms of how it can be spread by your community
  • Be real
    If you’ve read this far, you know why
  • Don’t forget your roots, be humble
    Just a good rule to live by, overall
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh
    Pundits from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose) to Woody Allen (A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies) have advised this
  • Develop a Social Media Optimization strategy
    A Social Media Optimizationstrategy, like all strategies, involves defining objectives, setting goals, and tracking progress
  • Choose your Social Media Optimization tactics wisely
    Don’t do social media to keep up with the Joneses — the Joneses may have a different audience, different objectives, and different resources
  • Make Social Media Optimization part of your process and best practices
    As we’ve stressed, don’t graft social media onto your organization; assimilate it and make it part of your way of doing business

Social Media Optimization is the 70th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 217. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?Social Sites DefinedWhy Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Brand Your Enterprise Online


[1] Bhargava’s 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO): bit.ly/cbHXMh

[2] Google Maps Mania: bit.ly/an0Hly

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About Social Media Performance Group

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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