by Jim Tobin
This article first appeared on MASHABLE.
Jim Tobin is president of Ignite Social Media, a leading social media agency, where he works with clients including Microsoft, Intel, Nike, Nature Made, The Body Shop, Disney and more implementing social media marketing strategies. He is also author of the book Social Media is a Cocktail Party. Follow him on Twitter @jtobin.
Social media optimization (SMO) is the process by which you make your content easily shareable across the social web. Because so many options exist for where people can view your content, the content model for the web has shifted from, “We have to drive as much traffic to our website as possible,” to the more pragmatic, “We have to ensure as many people see our content as possible.”
You’ll still want most people to see your content on your site — and if you’re doing it right they will — but helping people view content through widgets, apps and other social media entry points will accrue positive benefits for your brand. The more transportable you can make your content, the better.
If you’re ready to get started with a social media optimization plan for your organization, read on for an overview.
Why Social Media Optimization Matters
Before we get to the practical, let’s start with the “Why,” as in “Why you should care about SMO?” As you can see from the chart below, social networks are driving an increasing amount of traffic to an increasing number of websites. Sites like Comedy Central, Forever 21 and Etsy are seeing more traffic from social networks than they see from Google. How social referral traffic is performing for you most likely depends on two factors:
1. How interesting your content is; and
2. How easily shareable you have made that content across a variety of networks.
Image credit: Gigya
In other words, SMO can lead to increased traffic to your site, as friends encourage their friends to digest specific content. If you can appeal to a given person, their friends are statistically more likely to be interested in the same thing, so you’re likely reaching a well-targeted audience. Further, it also leads to improved search engine optimization, as major search engines count links as if they were votes for your site.
SMO isn’t just about building a bigger social media presence for your brand. Whether or not your organization has a strong social network presence, the social networks of others can be leveraged to great effect.