Understanding Social Media Optimization
Social media optimization is a term that gets thrown around a LOT, and with good reason – as a small business owner, you’ve gotta be sure that you’re making the most of every opportunity! Even when things don’t cost money, they cost time and energy – and you want to spend as little of those as possible.
But what does social media optimization actually, well, MEAN? How do you do it? Is it a one-time only thing? Do you have to spend hours a day on it?
Have no fear – we’ve got the answers you’ve been looking for. When you know how social media optimization works, you can start improving your own social presence, and go from a few website visits per day to thousands!
- What IS social media optimization, exactly?
- How do I do it? (Do I press a button somewhere, or…)
- Can social media optimization drive traffic to my website?
- How does social media optimization relate to SEO?
- What are some tools I can use to make this easier?
- How do I get people to share my content?
- This is great, but I'm not sure where to begin. Are there any easy ways to get started?
So what IS social media optimization, exactly?
Social media optimization (SMO) is the process of optimizing your website to make it more “sociable.” In other words, SMO makes it easier for your business to get discovered online by all the right people! (That’s why SMO is sometimes called “search marketing optimization”.)
SMO bridges the gap between your site and your social presence (meaning, your Facebook-Twitter-LinkedIn-Instagram-whatever accounts), making you more visible on the web, and giving your audience more ways to connect and interact with you.
When done right, SMO keeps your brand messaging consistent across all networks, improves your site rankings on search, drives traffic from social sites and organic search, and boosts awareness of you and your brand.
How do I do it? (Do I press a button somewhere, or…)
Social media optimization doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen all at once – it’s an ongoing process. When you do it consistently, it can yield big results over time.
Think of it like exercise – if you do it right and keep it up, it gets easier and easier, and the results are cumulative. If you only do it every now and then, though? Not so much.
There are many SMO techniques, but its core tenets are universal:
Engagement. That means talking to your fans on social media, and through blogging, writing guest posts on other sites, and even doing informational videos or podcasts!
Quality content. Keywords are just one part of the picture – sharable, quality content builds your IRL reputation and your online reputation. The better your online reputation, the better your domain authority (which is kind of a big deal for driving traffic to your site).
Strategic social. Know where your audience is and meet them there! If you see conversations mostly on your Facebook page and never on LinkedIn, don’t force it! Prioritize your Facebook presence instead – you don’t have to be everywhere at once.
Thought leadership. You may not think of yourself as an industry expert, but you’re the only one like you! Your perspectives, experiences, and advice are unique and valuable, so don’t be afraid to share!
Automation. You don’t have to do everything from scratch! Good SMO combines time-saving tools with your authentic voice. (It’s as close to push-a-button SMO as you’ll get!)
Can social media optimization drive traffic to my website?
Absolutely! This is one of the major focuses of our free Udemy course, Social Brilliant – how to use your social presence to pump up your web traffic and turn those fans into customers.
There’s no real “trick” to SMO. Driving traffic to your site means giving your fans on social media compelling reasons to visit your site over and over, like blog posts (this goes back to the whole “quality content” thing under the “How do I do SMO?” tab).
Quality content and quality engagement together are what make the difference between having a lackluster social media presence and a well-optimized one.
What about all the time I spend on social media every day? Can optimization make the whole thing less of a time-suck?
It totally can! Optimizing the time you spend on social media is a two-part process that includes both automating your updates and directly engaging with others in real time. (The two aren’t mutually exclusive!)
Just auto-recycling “evergreen” posts with a tool like Edgar, for example, can save you an average eight hours every week. What could you do with a whole extra workday?
By having your SMO running on autopilot whenever you can, and spending your active time on social media actually interacting with others, you’ll become way more efficient – and that’s what optimization is all about!
How does SMO relate to SEO?
Social media optimization (SMO) is more important to search engine optimization (SEO) than ever before, and its influence is only growing. As social media increasingly becomes the way people stay connected and engage with the digital world around them, optimizing your social media presence is essential.
To break it down simply: the more social media activity you have, the higher your search engine ranking will be.
An example of SMO affecting SEO is a “viral” Facebook post: Search engines look at the number of times a link has been shared, and this affects the ranking of the page. A viral Facebook post – that is, a post that’s been shared thousands of times – will rank higher than a Facebook post shared only four times.
Sharing, commenting, engaging – not just “likes” or number of fans – is what search engines love to see. But that’s not all – don’t forget, it’s about the quality of what’s being shared, too. As algorithms become more sophisticated, clickbait-y shortcuts just aren’t cutting it anymore.
What are some tools I can use to make this easier?
Start by checking out some social media automation tools, like MeetEdgar, of course! (You probably knew we’d say that.) We’ve also put together a BIG list of other killer online time-saving tools – a lot of which are 100% FREE.
But back to Edgar for a sec: You work so hard on your content, so why only share it once? Edgar is particularly useful in re-sharing older content via social media. That’s a big deal for your SMO, and here’s why:
By scheduling your “evergreen content” to be shared over and over again, you are getting more value out of your social engagement efforts – and you don’t lose any of the relevance you gain from real time engagement with your fans!
How do I get people to share my content?
Creating great content is the first step to getting shares, but the second step – making it EASY for people to share it – is just as important.
You’ve probably noticed on other websites and blogs that they’ll have little buttons that say things like, “Tweet this” or “Click to share” – those are things that you can add to YOUR website, too! It may seem like an unnecessary addition, but making it even just a teensy bit easier for the people in your audience to share your content can make a HUGE difference.
Optimizing your SMO includes technical things – like adding images, share buttons/links, social media icons, rich snippets, and title tags to your posts – and non-technical things, like creating quality content that’s also shareable, like infographics and “quick read” type posts. (Even offering fans the option of a newsletter sign-up can increase traffic!)
To understand how to create content people actually want to share check out this blog post that explains the top 5 reasons why people share content online.
I’m concerned about internet “trolling.” Is it good or bad to allow comments on my website (on a blog post, for example)?
Allowing comments is usually a good thing. Social media allows you to directly engage with your fans and followers, and you want them to be able to engage right back!
You may, however, consider an approval system for your blog’s comments section. This means that comments won’t appear in real time, but instead you’ll be notified when somebody leaves one, and be given the option to accept it or not. This can prevent both spam and harassment.
This is great, but I'm not sure where to begin. Are there any easy ways to get started?
Sure! We have a few resources for you if you’re unsure how to get started.
- Our platform-specific social media guides. For all the basics and then some, we’ve compiled online guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn strategies and best practices – with more to come!
- The MeetEdgar blog (and our newsletter, The Dash) are both filled with useful tips on how to make the most of your SMO efforts. We tracks the latest social media platform changes so you’ll always be one step ahead.
- Social Brilliant is a FREE introductory online course that will show you how to make your social media more effective – complete with detailed instructions, fill-in-the-blank worksheets, and a downloadable eBook.
It covers everything from crafting perfectly shareable status updates to effective networking techniques, so you’ll walk away knowing just what to do both on your blog and on your social network of choice.
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