Social media optimization (SMO) is similar to search engine optimization (SEO) because their goal is to generate web traffic and increase awareness for a specific website. But, social media optimization wants to encourage more users to use and share links to the website across social media and networking sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging sites etc.
Nowadays, social media have a very important role in search engine rankings, using likes, follows, comments, retweeting, sharing and promoting content to improve online reputation of a website. As Google’s algorithms are becoming smarter and more complex, it is extremely necessary to give your website visitors a content that is molded for sharing on social media.
So, combined with search engine optimization, or rather as a part of it, SMO focuses on driving web traffic from sources other than search engines. It is more related to content, while SEO is more related to keywords, but they are syncing in a way that search engines count shares or likes e.g. as a “vote” for that web page’s quality.
The term “social media optimization” was first used an described by Rohit Bhargava in his marketing blog, in 2006. In the same post, he established five important rules of SMO, which could help anyone to influence traffic on their website. Since then, a lot of things changed and those rules were updated. It is hard to say how many are there at the moment, because it depends whom you ask. The number goes up to sixteen, but we will try to give you the most important ones.
Create authentic and high-quality content
The better and stronger your content is, there are more chances you will win fans, followers and customers, because more people will want to share it. Great content inspires people.
Whatever you are working with – text, images or video – be ready to invest in relevant content and good content creators. You will see the results.
Modify your content
It is crucial to be authentic. Attracting readers and getting their attention has become more difficult with the arrival of various interesting contents. Create great blog posts and engaging visuals, with a goal to create connection with people. Be honest and open to them, no matter how serious your business is. Your readers are still human and they want to communicate on a personal level.
Create simple, short and different posts
Start with the headlines, which should be easy to share and should grab your readers attention at the same moment they capture it. Make them want to read and share your post.
Your headlines will not just appear on your website, but also in search engines, social media news feeds and more. Always have that in mind when creating one.
Again, authenticity is extremely important. If you write about the topic that is popular at the moment, try to add something that will make your post stand out. There are many ways to write about the same thing.
Your goal is to turn every reader into a publisher of your content, by enabling them to share it. So, make it easy. Use social sharing plug-ins and similar supplies on your website.
Let readers see your post shares
Display the icon which shows your readers how many times your post was shared. If something is popular, people will most likely be willing to share it.
Don’t underestimate the images
Visual content has got to a whole new level with the huge increase in Instagram and Pinterest popularity. Your visual content should amend your posts, so invest some extra time and/or money to create high-quality videos and images. You should keep in mind the same thing we already said about the headlines – it will not only be seen on your website, but also in social media shares and news. Use it as an attraction.
Engage your readers
Same as in face-to-face communication, where you can have monologue or dialogue, on your website you can choose to broadcast (one-way communication) or to engage your readers, which is highly recommendable.
Don’t just allow them to comment your post, but encourage them. Put a question on the end of your text. Answer to their questions, complaints, compliments… Always reply. If they care enough to reach to you, you should care enough to answer.
Play the “emotion card”
It doesn’t matter which emotion you will awake – joy, anger, surprise or fear – but your readers should feel something when they are visiting your website. Try to think about that early, when you are creating your content, so you have better chances to write a post that will leave an impact.
If your readers don’t feel anything, they will not share your content. Simple as that.
Social media management demands a lot of time and includes a lot of options, which surely you can not cover all. Concentrate on what is crucial for your type of website or go with the most popular ones.
Work smarter, not harder. Use scheduling tools to create several posts at once and let the software do the job for you. Also, use tools to discover and monitor new content.
Get to know your audience
The better you know who your readers are, the more effective you will be. Collect the information about them with plug-ins or tools and spend time to find out who are you talking to. It is a good idea to make a survey about it.
It will make your job easier to know what should you write about, what people like or dislike about your website, and, in the end, what they are more likely to share and comment.
When you define your website objectives, set your goals and develop a strategy. Just having a plan is not enough, but it will help along the way. And then, get to work!