Social Media Optimization (SMO) – It’s About the Traffic!

Social Media Optimization (SMO) – It’s About the Traffic!

You may have heard on the national television media recently about the wide spread coverage of the race to 1 million Twitter followers between Ashton Kutcher and CNN. Even more recently talk show hosts like Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres have begun to see the value of using Social Media. One could easily take away from all of this national press coverage that Social Media is only about the numbers and that you have to be a “celebrity’ to get in on it. But in my opinion, it’s no. There are very good reasons for Small Business Owners to spend the time, energy and money to get involved on Social Media web sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. For a Small Business Owner using Social Media should be about enhancing your marketing by taking it to the next level and helping you sell more by driving “qualified” visitor traffic back to your website.

In the midst of all of the national media frenzy over “quantity” of connections or followers, I find myself starting to think that Twitter and Social Media in general may be starting to lose the essence of what made it cool to use; a way to connect in an online social setting with people that you have an affinity with, to expand your reach and influence beyond your local markets using the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that people are connecting with each other and using Social Media tools because that is what it is all about. However, I feel strongly that it’s not a good idea for people to start chasing followers just to have followers or start to use Twitter or any other Social Media website just because it is the “IN” thing to do. I believe that by doing so they may start to lose that sense of individual and group connectivity or “quality” that attracted everyone to Social Media in the first place.

So, in the midst of all of this media frenzy you may have heard or gleaned that you should establish a Social Media marketing strategy. What you may not be hearing is why? I know that what I’m not hearing is that an effective Social Media Optimization (SMO)* strategy should be all about increasing your website visitor traffic and helping you sell more. Why else would a Small Business Owner invest all of that time, energy and money? Right? But, you have to be subtle about it and you should be a giver, not a taker…

As you may already know, Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a set of strategies for generating publicity, creating viral marketing and increasing incoming website visitor traffic by using existing social media, online communities and social networking websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, social news buttons, blogging, and incorporating third-party community functionalities like images and videos into your website.

SMO is related to Search Engine Marketing (SEM), but differs in several ways, primarily because the focus is on creating website visitor traffic from sources other than search engines. Improved Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings and higher Google Page Rank could also be benefits of a successful SMO strategy. This is very important to Small Business Owners because if you don’t show up on Page One of a Google, Yahoo or MSN-Bing search then 90% of the people who are interested in the contents of your website may never find it or you. Plus from my experience the number one organic (non-paid) search engine result listing tends to get 40-50% of the click thus to their website from that potential buyer’s Internet topic search.

Additionally, Social Media Optimization is sometimes related to viral marketing where word of mouth is created not through friends or family but through a presence on social media, social networking, social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. In a similar way posting blogs achieves the same effect by sharing content through the use of RSS Feeds in the blogosphere and special blog search engines and directories. For most owners blogging could be a natural fit for expanding your marketing efforts.

So, focusing on generating more website visitors is why I create a triangle diagram for my Internet Marketing Clients to simply explain an SMO strategy and show the interrelated aspects of SEO (at the top of the triangle), Blogging (on the bottom left) and Social Networking (on the bottom right) and the resulting benefit that should equate to more website traffic (in the middle of the triangle).

In my Small Business Coaching practice, creating a clear focus on driving more visitor traffic back to your website is why I set-up SMO campaigns. In my own case, using SMO strategies I have been able to increase the monthly visitors to my website by 500% in 6 months. I work with my Internet Marketing Clients to develop actions plans so that their SMO strategies integrate with their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns. Then we execute the SMO action plan by establishing or improving their social media accounts, blogging, adding RSS feeds, pursuing ethical link building, social bookmarking and launching viral marketing strategies. Finally, we evaluate the SMO results monthly to monitor the Return On Investment (ROI) and to identify areas of improvement.

* According to Wikipedia, Rohit Bhargava was credited with inventing the term SMO. His original six rules for conducting Social Media Optimization are:

1. Increase your linkability
2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
3. Reward inbound links
4. Help your content travel
5. Encourage the mashup
6. Get communities connected

Dave Westfall, MBA is an experienced internet marketing eBusiness Consultant with DewPointe Ventures LLC. His areas of expertise include Lead and Sales Pipeline Development, Pay Per Click (PPC- Google, Yahoo, MSN-Bing), Email Campaigns, Website Analytics and Landing Pages, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Article and Blog Writing and Social Media Optimization (SMO) viral marketing campaign management. Visit my website http://www.dewpointe.com for your Free SocialNetomics whitepaper.