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New Rules for Social Media Optimization

Posted on Aug 17th, 2006
Written by Lee Odden
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    There is an exceptionally interesting meme developing around the idea of social media optimization. It started with Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy Public Relations and his 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO) and this insight:

    “The concept behind SMO is simple: implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs.”

    With contributions by Jeremiah Owyang, “Rules of Social Media Optimization and Cameron Olthuis, “Introduction to Social Media Optimization” who offers this take on SMO:

    “SMO tactics can drive huge amounts of people to a website and can also determine whether a startup, website or idea will make it or not. It involves driving traffic to a website through new channels because search engines aren’t the only sites that drive big traffic anymore. While it’s not taking over SEO yet, it has the potential to someday soon.”

    The ever insightful Loren Baker also gets in on the action and offers up, “Social Media Optimization : 13 Rules of SMO” and his additions: “Don‚Äôt forget your roots, be humble and don‚Äôt be afraid to try new things, stay fresh”.

    What I would like to see added is:

    14. Develop a SMO strategy – define your objectives and set goals. Be fully aware of what your desired outcome is as a result of performing these tactics. Reputation, sales, influence, credibility, charity, traffic/page views, etc.

    15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely. Be cognizant of what actions will influence the desired outcome with the most impact.

    According to Hans Peter Brondmo of Plum during the SES San Jose session “Marketing with Social Media“, 1% of those involved with social media are creating content, 10% will enrich that content and 90% will consume it. That’s a lot of influence wielded by content creators and those that reblog and mashup. Think about what you can do to enable content creation as well as the repurposing of that content for what might possibly be the most productive outcome.

    16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices. As with good SEO, SMO tactics should become part of your organization’s best practices. Find ways to incorporate SMO tactics at the “template” level of document creation and as part of information distribution. Minor things like encouraging social bookmarks and rewarding incoming links as a standard practice across the organization can go a long way.

    Regardless of the media, there is almost always going to be an “organic” and an “advertising” component. Think: SEO and PPC. Consider this session from the recent ad:tech conference in Chicago called “Advertising with Social Media“. It presented some interesting opportunities and challenges for advertisers regarding MySpace, YouTube and other social/consumer generated media. Advertisers recognize the reach of social media, but aren’t quite sure how to take advantage of it.

    For reference, here is an aggregated list so far. Maybe we need a wiki for this?

    1. Increase your linkability
    2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
    3. Reward inbound links
    4. Help your content travel
    5. Encourage the mashup
    6. Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you
    7. Reward helpful and valuable users
    8. Participate
    9. Know how to target your audience
    10. Create content
    11. Be real
    12. Don’t forget your roots, be humble
    13. Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh
    14. Develop a SMO strategy
    15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely
    16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices