What The Heck is Social Media Optimization Anyway? – Stepping Back and Defining SMO


Before we had search engine optimization (SEO).  It took me a good six months for that three letter acronym to become part of my regular vernacular.   “Oh, yeah, we are working on SEO’ing.”  Just flows off my tongue, like ASAP or RSVP.

Then Social Media Optimization came into the picture.  Huh?  What the heck is that?  SEO was so tangible.  You rank high in search engines.  SMO though – a little less clear.  My picture looks good on Facebook?  I have a lot of likes?  And an account with every major social media website?  Or I wrote a blog that went viral?  Oh I know!  I tweet ten times a day.  That’s SMO.  Well the fact of the matter is: what SMO means for one individual or company could be very different that what it means for another.  It’s a funky beast, open to interpretation, constantly changing, and varying from situation to situation.

SMO, at it’s most basic level, means making social media websites work for you, whatever it is you do.  If you are promoting your food blog, SMO is going to be a very different process than if you are promoting the enterprise marketing software you and your company develops.  SMO, regardless of situation, is about promotion.  Yet how you do it will vary.

Take the food blogger for example.  His SMO campaign may involve a lot of tweets about his latest blogs.  He may also have a Pintrest and Instagr.am account where he posts tons of pictures of the food he blogs about.  Last but not least, he’ll probably have a Facebook page where he posts pictures of his various food exploits in the kitchen, from deep frying Twinkies, to making a salmon ice cream.  His audience is basically anyone who can read English and enjoys reading about food.  So he should get as many Facebook friends and Twitter followers as possible, all ages, both sexes, and in just about any career.  After all, who doesn’t like food?

Now let’s take the software developer.  Now he, unlike the food blogger, is targeting a very specific audience.  He’s targeting company executives that make decisions about which software their enterprise uses.  He’s also targeting executives who are involved with marketing.  He should probably focus less on Twitter and Facebook, but much more on professional social media websites, such as LinkedIn, and a newcomer, CapLinked.  He should get into as many professional networks as possible and write tons of business blogs about the value of automating marketing tasks.

Whether a food blogger or software developer, SMO is important and valuable.  As with business and life, the more friends the better.  SMO is a means to expanding your online network, and spreading the word about your product or services.  Just remember, one size doesn’t fit all.

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