Social media optimization (SMO) is a type of online marketing that specifically focuses on participating on various social media sites in order to generate traffic, buzz, and back-links to your website. Social media sites are made up of social news sites like Digg, Sphinn and StumbleUpon; video sharing sites like YouTube and Revver; and social network sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Some still refer to SMO as “the new SEO“. At this point there is really nothing new about it. It should be an integral part of any SEO strategy because it is an effective and powerful method to quickly build large numbers of links back to your website, which will in turn lead to increased organic search rankings.
Top social networks have millions of users. Facebook recently passed the 500 Million mark! While some are under the misconception that only teenagers use websites like Facebook there are in fact, millions of adults who also use social networks to stay in touch with old and new friends and interact by sharing pictures, videos, etc. In addition, an increasing number of businesses are using Facebook as a vehicle to manage reputation, promote products, generate buzz, and build brand recognition.
StumbleUpon is interesting in that it is a peer and social networking technology that includes a tool bar that you install in your web browser. This toolbar allows you to discover and rate webpages, videos, photos, and news articles. Getting your webpages and articles submitted to StumbleUpon can be an effective way to generate buzz, traffic and backlinks to your site.
Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and a number of other social widgets exist to help you promote your blog to users who visit. You have probably noticed some of them on this blog. Try it out yourself. You can click the retweet button right on this article to send it in a tweet to all your followers. Or “Like” this article and it will connect to your facebook account and leave a notification on your wall that you liked this article. Further exposing it to more and more people. You can use these tools for your own sites and blogs.
Twitter is a free social networking service that lets you “micro-blog” by sending short updates of 140 characters or less to people via text message from your mobile phone, by messaging right from the Twitter site, or using a number of different apps and social management clients like TweetDeck. Twitter is a great way to build a list of followers. For business purposes, you can quickly send messages to your Twitter followers when an hot item comes back into stock or offer specials that expire in hours instead of days to help create demand.
LinkedIn is a very popular business social networking site that allows you to network with business professionals and build a list of contacts. By building a database of contacts with people you know and trust in business, you have access to a large network of friends with whom you can conduct business, offer jobs, and promote your business.
Video sharing sites like YouTube allow users to upload, view and share video clips. Videos are a great way to promote your business or generate buzz and interest in your site. The most effective videos tend to make people laugh or are extremely creative of unique. Many of the most viral videos on YouTube are generally “homegrown” videos that contain something outrageous or embarrassing. Also, videos put a face on an otherwise faceless business pitch. They build trust in your users and can even result in creating a “celebrity” or “cult” following if people find your videos interesting.
Social news sites like Digg allow users to submit stories that other members can view and vote up or down. News stories that are the most timely or interesting tend to make it to the front page. This can generate hundreds and even thousands of links in just a few hours. In some cases the traffic to websites has been so high that it has actually caused sites to crash! Getting a news story about your site on the front page of Digg is not easy; however, there are a number of proven strategies that are likely to improve your odds. Recently, Digg has changed it’s format which may make those strategies obsolete.