Bryan: To get started, maybe you can clarify: What is social media optimization?
Kari: Social media optimization (SMO) is basically optimizing your website and content to be as socially-shareable as possible. How easy is it for people to share your content via social media, and how present are you on social media so people can connect with you.
Bryan: How does social media optimization (SMO) differ from search engine optimization (SEO)?
Kari: SEO is a method by which you optimize your website content so it can be easily found in search engines. But, SMO factors greatly into your search engine visibility. As I mentioned before, SMO is about making it easy for people to share your content. Valuable and shareable content continues to be king – and how much your content is shared is becoming an important factor when it comes to search engine rankings. Run any search on Google and you see a +1 button on every result – a +1 for a certain result is a recommendation, increasing that site’s exposure. Any links you share within Google+ are also picked up in Google search results. So, while SMO is different from SEO, it’s also an important SEO strategy.
Bryan: What components are involved to properly optimize a site for social media?
Kari: I think the foundation of SMO is to create content that people will value and share. But what will people value? Listen to and monitor social media channels to find out what people are sharing and what they want to learn. Then, give them what they want. Use this data as a basis for creating content that will help them.
Secondly, it’s important to make sharing easy. Do your blog posts have social sharing buttons in an easy-to-spot place? Do you provide ways for videos, slide presentations and other documents to be embedded?
Bryan: What role does SMO play in online reputation management?
Kari: It plays a huge role! Actively staying on top of your social media presence by updating it with relevant content (your own and from others), making your content easily shareable, and engaging with other people will help you build and maintain a positive online reputation.
Bryan: It seems like every day there is a new network being launched. And they are becoming much more specific. How can a business owner know where to direct their efforts?
Kari: Social networking fatigue can be a big pitfall, and it can be difficult for marketers and business owners to figure out where they should be. Basically, they should direct their efforts where it makes the most sense. Don’t feel like you should be everywhere in social media just because it’s new and available. Do some research to find where your prospects and customers are hanging out – this may even include surveying them to find out what social networks they use.