Friday, January 23, 2015

5 Small Business Tips On Social Media Optimization

The notion of social media optimization was conceived in a blog in 2006 by Rohit Bhargava. This was before Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Google+ existed. And before Facebook launched the numerous features it now offers. And yet, it completely revolutionized the way marketers used social media.
Eight years down the line and social media optimization continues to be as important now as it was then. This is true for large corporations and small business alike. In this article we’ll be delving deeper into social media optimization for small businesses and passing on insider tips and secrets the professional use.

What is Social Media Optimization?

Social media optimization, SMO or Social SEO is the use of social channels to increase awareness of a brand, product or service. Such channels include social media platforms, bookmarking sites and blogs.
SMO is similar to search engine optimization as it involves creating and publishing carefully tailored content. However, the focus is on customer enjoyment and engagement rather than algorithm-pleasing tactics. The goal of SMO is to produce content that users will want to share across social networks.
For many marketers, the aim might be to achieve a kind of viral publicity, but SMO can be effective on a more subtle level. This is good news if you want to stay away from cat videos or witty Twitter banter with your competitors.

Should I Bother with SMO?

Good question. Why should you bother with SMO when there are a hundred other ways to market your brand?
As Dustin Stout explains in this post; “Social proof is now being factored into search engine rankings. There are various studies that have been done on this, but all of them agree that the more social shares a website or blog post has, the better it is likely to rank.”
There you have it, other people’s activity on social networks and in the blogosphere can have a serious impact on your website’s rankings; search engines are now taking cues from how people react to your content on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Not only does social sharing increase brand awareness in an organic way off-site, but it actively helps your on-site SEO efforts.
Now we’ve got you all fired up about SMO, here are five tips for small businesses so you can start implementing it today.

5 Tips for Small Businesses

1. Create Irresistible Content

Produce content that users feel they absolutely must share with the world. Provide insight, answer burning questions, use humor and above all, be human; it will help readers feel that connection that compels them to share.
Long-form blog posts have their place, but visual content performs better on Facebook than text and links. We can safely assume that the same can be said for Google+ and thanks to the recent addition of in-stream images, Twitter. The following infographic by M Booth and Simply Measure reveals the true impact of visuals.
M Booth Infographic
                                                            (USA IT COMPANY)

2. Make it Easy to Share Your Content

Let’s assume the average visitor to your website is time-limited. They spot a great infographic and think “Jane would find this useful”. They can connect with Jane by Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and email. But the visitor is on their phone, which makes it difficult to copy and paste the URL, and there are no visible sharing buttons on the page. They decide to send Jane the link later, when they’re at the computer, but forget.
Don’t lose out on potential engagement and awareness; make it quick and easy for users to share your content at the click of a button. Check out the buttons in any of this blog posts, they even give a tally of Tweets, Likes and Shares.
Social Sharing Buttons

3. Be Sociable

It is important that you, the owner of a business, engage with your audience. Networking will be your most powerful tool in the fight for SMO supremacy. So connect with fellow experts, customers and prospects in your blog community and on social media. In addition, comment, like, retweet and plus one other people’s content, you might just find they return the favor.
It is especially important that you respond to customers. They have taken the time to share their thoughts on your blog post or comment on an update, so recognize that with gratitude.

4. Share Your Own Content

In order to reach the widest audience possible, you need to share your content on as many platforms as possible.
In his updated version of the original post that sparked the SMO revolution, Bhargava talks about sharing content in a different way. He suggests going further than just posting a link on Facebook or adding your infographic to Pinterest. “This encompasses everything from creating slides to post on Slideshare or documents to share on Scribd – as well as tweeting about your content or offering embeddable versions of it, or using RSS feeds to syndicate it.”

5. What NOT to Do

To round off this list of tips, we would like to discuss an SMO tactic you should avoid at all costs; excessive link dropping.
Link dropping is a bit like name dropping; fine in moderation, but pretentious, frustrating and distasteful in excess. You may think that joining every Facebook group and Google+ community to post endless links to your content will increase traffic and improve your SMO, but it will actually achieve quite the opposite. You may find yourself blocked from groups, unfollowed by colleagues and reported as spam. The damage to your reputation could be monumental.
Alternatively, consider joining a few select groups and engaging with the conversation in a meaningful manner. Provide your input, but only share links to your own content when it is relevant, and even then show some restraint.

What Next?

If you’re not using SMO to market your business and boost your search engine ranking, you should be. And now you know the ins and outs of SMO, there really is no excuse. The five tips listed above will give you a head start, so get to work today.
If you’re a bit of an SMO aficionado, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your own tips in the comments below!


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