Archive for the ‘Social media marketing’ Category

The social media is a great way of connecting with many people across the globe. Although there are many social media sites that have cropped up on the internet, only a few have gotten big an applause and have the largest number of signups and members. Among these sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and linked have attracted many people from across the globe, with most of these people using their social sites for different motives. In addition to all these, companies too have taken to creating ‘fan pages’ on these social sites. Creating these pages is a way of attracting in more clients and reaching out to many prospecting and potential clients from all over the world.
Nevertheless, in the event of creating these social media pages, one can only receive, or reach out many people if he or she has optimized the pages for a larger audience. This calls for urgent measures of taking into consideration various and beneficial optimization tips to make the whole process a success. Here are various ways in which one can employ to market his or her own page, or company page, as a way of gaining more traffic and popularity.
ravi bhushan seo
1. Build a positive, informative profile
This is the most important part of social media page optimization. For anyone to start following your updates and events, they need to know who you are, and what you do. They can only know this if you give them relevant information on what you do, who you are and what you do. This is only possible if you can create a great company or personal profile, one that is informative and with some decency. Always remember that, it is only in creating a great profile that you will receive bigger audience. People decide on whether to be part of something once they have seen the reputation you or your company has to the public.
2. Identify your goals and target audience
If you are running a company website or page, it is then mandatory for you to know your target audience. Identifying the nature of your audience gives you a chance to set goals and ambitions, as well as why you are creating the page. On Facebook, one of the major social sites, gaining more page likes is one way of gaining more audience and have your product known to the markets. However, you need to have your goals set, and plan well on what your audience should read and know.
3. Update your profiles regularly with fresh informative content
One thing you need to know about optimization is that, informative content and activity is important for any profile on the social media as well as search engines. For you to make the best out of these, you need to craft carefully what you post on the social network page, say a Facebook page, and also make sure you update the page regularly. Any activity derived from the post shows that the page is active, and more people will be able to see the post and maybe like it, or even retweet what you have.
4. Market your page to gain as many likes and follows as possible
For your social media page to gain a rank in these sites, you need mass marketing and follow up. If you use Facebook, Tweeter or even GooglePlus as your social sites, you can then have your friends and your friend’s friends like your pages. You can also gain a mass follow-up by using the social bookmarking feature from your website to bring onboard other readers on the web. However, for you to gain this population, you need to make sure you offer genuine high quality services or goods, as well as have positive reviews about your pages. You can gain these from friends and family members.
5. Link the page with your company blogs
In social media marketing, blogs do play a major part in bringing in more people to follow a page, as they deliver crucially needed information on a regular basis. It is easier for you to gain ranks by using a blog linked to your social media page than just marketing it. However, these blogs need to be informative, announcing any events and products that are ready to be launched, and even announce events that are already taking place.
Activity on these blogs will help the page gain ranks by the day, which will eventually see you to the top of the news. By gaining these ranks, your pages will be visible to more and more people on these social sites hence give you a greater chance for increased traffic.
6. Link all your social networking pages together
This is a great way of increasing your company visibility on social sites and in search engines too. Many professional companies use social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to create online profiles and awareness of what they do. However, linking all these accounts together helps market your pages by a greater margin.
7. Show interest with other people’s pages
For you to make it on the marketing field, you need to show interest on what the other people are doing by following their posts, as well as commenting on them. When you place one unique comment on a rival’s page, you will be creating an avenue for the both of you to share links, which might even increase your page ranks on these social sites.
8. Converse and bond with your target onlookers
For your page to gain traffic and more onlookers, you need to be able to communicate with them, and assist them whenever you can. This will help create some activity within your page hence gain ranks.
9. Link your pages with your websites and blogs
Linking your web pages and websites with your social networking profiles and increases the amount of traffic that these pages get. This is another form of marketing your Social media profile for an extended visibility. However, before you can link any company profile and page on these sites, you need to be sure that information on all the sites relate and do not differ in any way.
10. Provide high quality links for your users to follow and gain confidence
Although an olden strategy, you can use your social media networking pages to give information on what services you offer, and provide a link to the mother website. This will help gain confidence among these visitors, and they will be glad to come back again.
11. Move with technology and its updates, especially Google’s optimization updates
While optimizing and marketing your pages on social media sites, you need to be well aware of rules and guidelines that govern optimization, and abide to them. Deviating fromthem can make your paged be ranked lowly in these sites.
12. Open discussions on your social sites to attract more people
Opening discussions and forums on social media networking sites is a great way of attracting more people to your page. However, you need to create something relevant enough and interesting for these people to be interested and start participating.
13. Connect with your rivals to create a bond online
The greatest marketing strategy when in business is not fighting your rivals, you should try to create a bond with them. Doing this helps you move as a force, attracting more visitors than you would do when you do it individually.
14. Focus on the positive idea and not on critics
In whatever business you are doing, you will always find critics who will not appreciate what you do. The best way to deal with these people is to ignore them, pick what is best for you and leave trash out of your marketing campaigns to move forward.
15. Participate on other forums
The best way to leave a footprint of your pages on social media sites is to participate in forums that other people have. Participating exposes you, and our profile to more people, which creates an avenue for more visitors to your page in their quest to know what you do or offer.

Why is social media so important? More people are using social media through their mobile phones, computers, and tablets than talking, calling, emailing and texting. Do you find this surprising? I know I don’t. Some businesses have gone to the extent of allowing 30 minutes a day for their employees to use social media.
There’s a lot more to engaging in social media marketing than creating a few profiles and posting a few links. Without taking a measured approach to the situation, you’re not going to be able to make the most of what is a very powerful and influential strategy. There are thousands of other companies competing for social media users’ attention, so laying the right groundwork is crucial.

Create a strategy you can maintain
In order to be effective, your social media marketing efforts have to be ongoing. There is no finish line. As you reach goals, you need to create new ones. Otherwise, you’re sure to go backwards. By understanding the importance of having an ongoing social media strategy, you will be ahead of the game from the start. Check out the chart below illustrating the key phases in setting goals
Assess the Situation
You need to know where you are in order to get where you’d like to be. With that in mind, you should make the following assessments:
What is Your Main Goal with Social Media?
Stay focused. What do you want your strategy to achieve? There are three broad options: raising awareness, increasing loyalty and increasing sales. Select one and focus on it.

Listening – Listen to what others are saying about your business.

Tip: Use Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn search function to search your brand or product/service. It will populate a list of tweets, posts etc. that others have published. Setup a Google Alert to monitor business mentions around the web.

Communicating – This is about getting your message across to your target audience. This could be for you current advertising efforts and making it more socially interactive.
Make it Viral / Word of Mouth – Connect with key influences / customers in your industry and make them spread the word. i.e. Retweet, Share, Like, Google +1’s etc.

Customer Care – Social Media is fast becoming the future of customer service. You can help your customers with a support enquiry and other customers can help each other.

Example: I tweeted about how frustrated I was not being able to get a HP driver for my printer, even though I contacted them several times via phone and email. Within a few hours, a HP representative contacted me via Twitter to resolve my issue.

Understand your customers’ needs – Receive customer feedback and understand the needs of potential customers through a customer feedback form, complaints form or survey.
Identifying Your Target Audience

Who is Your Audience?
Social media is all about connecting with others. First think about your target audience and study/learn about them.

It is important to understand how they contribute in social media and through which mediums. Social media users generally fall into the following categories:

Creators: These users are responsible for publishing content such as blogs, websites, video, music etc.

Conversationalists: Update their social networking site by updating their status & posting tweets

Critics: Users who actively review and rate products. Make comments on blogs and contribute to content and online forums.

Collectors: Users who vote on websites & add tags to photos.

Joiners: These users create social media profiles on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google Plus

Spectators: They search the web reading blogs, watching videos on YouTube, reading forum posts and tweets.

Inactives: Does not do any of the above.

Through surveys and other data, learn as much as you can about your target customers’ challenges, needs and wants. Use online survey tools such as Survey Monkey or User Report and read this article to learn more about creating an effective online survey. By knowing where your audience falls on the spectrum, you’ll have an easier time creating an effective social media strategy.

How to Proceed?
After determining a course of action, put it in writing. Make sure your entire team is on the same page.
In the meanwhile, make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Put Your Plan into Action
With the completion of the planning and assessing phase, you should be ready to implement your social media strategy. The key to doing so effectively is by using a content calendar. This is crucial for keeping you focused and your efforts on track. Assigning responsibility to tasks makes people accountable as well. I found this detailed content calendar (Free download) by Populate Digital. This calendar will specify the theme of the content that you will use in your campaign, when and where it is shared, who creates it and the mode of delivery.

To enhance your social media strategy, you should plan on using a variety of different tools. Use hootsuite for your social media management. Social media icons and plugins should be added to your website, e-commerce site and on content pages. Make it as easy as possible for someone to share and like your stuff. Promote your social media networks on company emails, letterheads, invoices, business cards and other places. Use promotions and contests/giveaways to engage your target audience and get them involved. Continually demonstrate what you have to offer.
Use paid advertising, such as StumpleUpon Paid Discovery or Facebook Advertising to promote your business outside your reach.

Tip: Make sure your social buttons on your website are visible. Tools such as ShareThis or AddThis are simple plugins that can add social buttons to your website.

Evaluate Your Success
You should give your social media strategy a little time to gain momentum; after about two or three months, you should perform an in-depth evaluation to determine whether your strategy is producing results or not. Specific metrics such as shares, likes, subscribers, click rates, sales that originated in social media channels and conversion rates should be analysed with care.

Monitor your social media engagement through Online Monitoring Tools such as Klout or Edge Rank

Tip: A free tool Google Alerts can help you monitor your brand keywords to listen to what people are saying about you.

If your efforts seem to be producing results, run with it. Don’t just rest on your laurels. Mix things up a little. Now is the time to roll out Facebook ads, live question-and-answer sessions, Google Hangouts and other webinars, contests that span across multiple social media outlets and more.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat
To ensure the ongoing effectiveness of your social media strategy, go back to the beginning and start again. Lay out a new plan with new objectives based on fresh assessments. Implement a revised plan with updated goals. Evaluate its success by analysing specific metrics. By continually going through this cycle and building upon what you learn, you will be able to achieve incredible results through your social media marketing efforts.

In order to achieve success on Facebook you need a community. That’s a fact. If you don’t have a community, you don’t have anyone listening to you, and if there’s no one listening to you, it’s difficult to build brand awareness and deliver ROI.

You need a community filled with people who like you and share your content with like-minded friends. But it’s not just about the quantity of Facebook likes that you collect, it’s about the quality; attracting Facebook likes from a group targeted to suit your business goals whose comments (and endorsement!) can increase your shares on Facebook.

So here are ten quick and easy tips to drive targeted Facebook likes to your business page.

1. Complete your Facebook Business Page Profile
Your Facebook Page is the first thing people see when they come to visit you on Facebook. Let visitors know why they should like you! Create a catchy description and make sure you categorize your page correctly. Also make sure to list your address, phone number and hours of operation (if applicable). Not only will this inform your potential followers, it will tell Facebook what kind of organization you are you so they know to show your page when users are searching for companies like yours – which can increase your Facebook likes even more!

2. Ask friends, business partners and other contacts to like you on Facebook
Friends are like underpants. Some snap under pressure, some are a little twisted, but some will give you support. When you first create a Facebook Page invite your supportive friends, family and business partners to like your Facebook Page. These initial likes will give you higher social media credibility and visibility. Then, alert your customers, prospects and your other social communities, and promote your Facebook page anywhere you mention your website. If people don’t know your Facebook page exists, they can’t like it.

3. Add social plugins to your website
Visitors on your website should be able to find your Facebook Page easily. My recommendation is to use Facebook’s Social Plugins, like the Like box plugin, to get more Facebook likes. These plugins include a like button, your recent posts, and pictures of some of your fans.

4. Find out what interests your community
With Facebook’s new Graph Search it’s really easy to find out what interests your target community, and post relevant content to increase Facebook likes.

Let’s say that I have a Facebook Page for my new pizza restaurant in San Francisco. To learn more about my target community’s interests, I search for “Favorite interests of people who like Restaurants and live in San Francisco, California.“ Facebook tells me that my target community also likes cooking, wine tasting and traveling.

Facebook Graph Search Results
I also want to see the interests of my competitors’ communities, so I search for “Favorite interests of people who like Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza,” and I find out that they like cooking, chocolate chip cookies, eating, food and partying.

This information is great to have at hand when I’m thinking about what to post on my Facebook page. By posting content that my audience is interested in (for example, suggesting which wines go well with my pizza) they will share it with their friends and help me get more Facebook likes. This same content will also attract likes from people who come to my Facebook page from my website, email signature, or a Facebook search.

5. Use Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are another great way to increase Facebook likes. To get the most out of your ads, you can target by your community’s interests to find people similar to your current fans.
In the image below, you can see how I’ve used the information that I got from Graph Search and how I’ve targeted my ad for my new pizza place.

Facebook Ads
Experiment with different types of ads to see what works best for your organization, and make sure you choose the option that allows Facebook users to like your page directly from the ad.

6. Run a contest
There are many companies that have created successful contests on Facebook that resulted in many thousands of Facebook likes. But there are some things that you need to know before you create your own contest. For starters, make sure that your contest follows Facebook’s promotion guidelines. Your contest must use a Facebook app, which allows you to create a fan-gate, so that only those who first like your page can participate in the contest. Apps also have a unique URL, so you can promote your contest with a Facebook ad and increase Facebook likes even more.

Also, when you create a contest make sure that your app is working for mobile users, that the content of the contest is funny, that it’s easy to participate and that the contest encourage users to share their result and participation with their friends.

7. Like, and interact with, other companies
Did you know that you can engage with other company pages as your Business Page on Facebook? This is a great way to build awareness among like-minded companies and their followers. To do this, visit your Facebook Page, click on “Edit Page” in your Admin Panel and select “Use Facebook as YourPage.”

Facebook Like as Page

Finding companies to like and interact with is easy. Use Graph search and search for e.g. companies, pages, places that is of interests for your company and like these Pages (you can’t like personal profiles).

After you have liked some Pages, you can view your company’s Newsfeed and engage with the pages you like. Not only is the company likely to follow you back, but their engagement with your page will help you increase Facebook likes amongst their followers as well.

8. Publish engaging content
It’s important to publish engaging, entertaining and interesting posts on a regular basis, and to keep an eye out for the posts that get the most engagement. If your posts are valuable to your followers, then they will share your posts with their friends, helping you increase your Facebook likes. Images are among the best types of post for driving engagement so make sure you publish images your followers can relate to and will like. You may also want to include calls to action in some of your posts, asking followers to like, comment or share your content, or ask your community a question.

9. Be active
By now you know that you should publish engaging, interesting and entertaining content. But how often should you post? There is no magic number but there are best practices and analytics to guide you. Post at least one status update per day, and experiment with the timing of your posts to see when the majority of your followers are active. People are unlikely to like your Facebook page if you don’t post regularly – and they certainly won’t engage with your content (or help you get more likes) if they don’t see your posts.

10. Measure, analyze and learn
Use Facebook Insights to find useful metrics on your page performance. You can see things like reach (how many users are seeing your posts), engaged users (how many users engage with your posts) and new likes (when and why do you get new followers). These metrics will help you understand what’s driving your likes and engagement, so that you can adjust your posts accordingly. If you would like to know if you have good engagement, or want other recommendations for improvement, try out our free Facebook analytics tool, LikeAlyzer.

Would you like to add any tips for getting more Facebook likes? Did I forget something? Please add a comment and, if you like the post, feel free to share it with your friends.

There are many social media analytical tools just as there are many reasons to use them. Social media has shaken up the world of business by offering up valuable raw data. It is imperative that companies become familiar with and utilize tools that can mine and analyze this data to help them make intelligent business decisions.
This data can be used to provide insights to:

Marketing – They can determine what products or services to market, which ones to drop. Information can be used to create or modify marketing campaigns.
Sales – Regional territories can be analyzed to improve sales in under performing areas.
Customer Service – Where is company service lacking? Monitoring complaints can lead to improvement.
Corporate Head Office – Data and Key Performance Indicators can be analyzed to determine strategies to move the company forward.

Before choosing an analytic tool, you need to define your objectives. Do you want real-time reports, dashboards or raw data to mine? Perhaps you want something that is simple and easy to use for your staff. Let’s have a look at some of the tools that are available.
Google Analytics

Not only does this tool gather website metrics but it also gathers social metrics in real-time. Information and data is available through dashboards and reports. A nice feature is the multi-channel analysis which reports what channels your customers interacted with prior to a purchase. Another great feature is the ability to capture stats on your web-enabled mobile devices. If you are just starting out monitoring social media, this is a good tool to use and it’s free.
HootSuite

HootSuite offers 3 solutions to choose from. Start with the free version and then move up to the pro or enterprise version when you are comfortable with it. This tool will execute and monitor campaigns across numerous social media platforms. Tweets and messages can be automated and mentions of your business can be monitored on platforms like foursquare and LinkedIn. Dashboard, reports and raw data are available.
KISSmetrics

This tool is very powerful to gather your customer’s feedback and provide metrics that a company can use to improve revenue. They can tell you where a customer came from, what they did and what led them to become a customer. Analysis includes the lifetime value of your customer and how to improve your sales numbers.

Buffer

Buffer has powerful capability to post and share your data to social media platforms. This content can include posts, twitters, videos, pictures and content. The ability to push out content to mobile devices is available as well as detailed analytics about how many likes, retweets and shares you receive. Prices are as low as $10 a month with a free trial version.

SocialFlow

SocialFlow is used by companies like National Geographic and The National Post to monitor in real-time when the best times are to push out content. Knowing when to publish information is very useful to increase engagement of your potential and existing customers. Targeted content will be delivered at the right time to the right people. They also offer an advertising solution by monitoring real-time conversations and targeting the right ads with the right people to maximize conversation rates.

Argyle Social

This tool is useful in the B2B industry. It’s features work with your current social media marketing platforms to provide analytics for existing and potential prospects. It can help you to identify better leads and deeper relationships. Automated tools are available to schedule your posts reports and marketing content.

Tracking conversations on social media is a great way to grow your business. It is critical to stay informed about leading edge tools and the future of social media. Subscribe to a RSS feed or an online newsletter that discusses this topic. The bottom line is that you need to use social media to grow your bottom line!

The key to making the most of social media is listening to what your audience has to say about you, analysing the data and, finally, reaching social media business intelligence; using all these insights to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy.

If you are a social media rookie, this list of the Top 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools might come in handy. When looking for a tool, it’s a good idea to try a couple of them and choose the one that suits your needs best.

However, bear in mind that these tools are not an alternative to Enterprise-level tools, such as Brandwatch, which brought social media monitoring to a new level, offering a much higher variety of services and in-depth analysis. It all depends on your needs.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best free monitoring tools:

1) Hootsuite

This is a great tool that allows you to save time when it comes to managing your social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+.

The weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.

2) TweetReach

TweetReach is the right tool for your business if you’re interested in monitoring how far your tweets travel, as TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions.

It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers, implicitly guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.

3) Klout

Klout is probably one of the most controversial social media monitoring tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate, and that trying to interact with them is an impossible mission (curious thing as they provide interaction-measurement services), but on the other hand, some people find it useful, as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter and it is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.

In this way, you can adjust your posts according to your target audience’s interests and increase your engagement rate.

4) Social Mention

Quite popular among social media enthusiasts, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites. It is probably one of the best free tools on the market, as it analyses data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.

5) Twazzup

Twazzup is great for social media beginners looking for Twitter monitoring. You just enter the name you want to track and you instantly get real-time updates, meaning the most active top influencers, top RTd photos and links, and most importantly, the top 10 keywords related to your search.

6) Addictomatic

If aiming to get an overall view of a brand, Addictomatic can be very useful and as straightforward as Twazzup. The only difference is that Addictomatic focuses on a variety of platforms such as: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com, etc. It’s really useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.

7) HowSociable

A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is a must.

HowSociable’s approach is a bit different as it breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.

8) IceRocket

This tool offers blog, Twitter and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, as well as results graphs that you can play with. It allows you to choose the periods of time you are interested in monitoring.

It can be used for keeping an eye on your blogger activity, as they have around 200 million blogs in their database and they also provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to your search.

9) TweetDeck

TweetDeck covers the basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. However, it lacks in regular updates and can be prone to bugs.

10) Reachli (formerly Pinerli)

As image and video is quickly becoming indispensable for many businesses, our last recommendation for you is Reachli; a tool that measures and optimises video and image content. It offers various features for measuring image and video effectiveness, and is particularly famous for its Pinterest analytics.

Which are your favourite free social media monitoring tools?

Determining which tools are right for you requires a clear definition of your objectives. Some are real-time, highly customized dashboards that enable you to manage multiple accounts, use shared work spaces, and respond on multiple social networks with one click. Others are simple, effective, and lightweight, and provide the right amount of functionality.
Google Alerts (Free) | Get email updates of the latest relevant Google results (Web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
HootSuite (Free and $) | A social media management system that enables teams to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one dashboard. Includes audience identification tools, the ability to streamline workflow, and custom reports. I use HootSuite to manage my company’s Twitter account.
Icerocket (Free) | A free resource for brand monitoring, it taps the Web, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and delivers easy-to-read results in one page.
Klout (Free) | A tool that finds the influencers in your audience so you can target and empower them to become advocates for your brand.
Netvibes (Free and $) | A platform that tracks clients, customers, competitors, and your reputation across media sources, analyzes live results with 3rd party reporting tools, and provides media monitoring dashboards for brand clients.
Pinpuff (Free) | Similar to Klout but focusing only on the Pinterest, it measures the how people share images about your brand and the influence that results.
Plugg.io (Free) | Manage and tweet from multiple accounts, get friend suggestions, and automate syndication via blogs and news sources.
Social Mention (Free) | A real-time social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc. into a single stream.
TweetBeep (Free and $) | This app is like Google Alerts for Twitter: Choose some keywords and receive daily search results via email.
TweetDeck (Free) | Very similar to HootSuite, only without all the bells and whistles, this client enables you to tweet and track mentions, people, and keywords.

7 Key Steps of SMO

Posted: October 17, 2013 in Social media marketing

Social media optimization (SMO) was originally designed to drive traffic from social media sites such as bookmarking sites and social networks. However, SMO is now significantly more important and not simply because social networking has grown but because SMO also improves SEO performance. Good SMO will drive traffic from both direct social site referrals and from search engines.

The Origin of SMO

Social media optimization (SMO) was first used in 2006 by Rohit Bhargava in his article the 5 rules of social media optimization. At this time the core focus was driving traffic to websites from social sites.

This remains the core purpose of SMO as outlined in Wikipedia “SMO is similar to search engine optimization in that the goal is to generate traffic and awareness for a website. In general, social media optimization refers to optimizing a website and its content in terms of sharing across social media and networking sites.”

The SEO Shift

Arguably traditional SEO focused on the technical structure of websites rather than the user experience or even the quality of content itself. SMO is very concerned with the quality of the content, the authority of the author and the user experience of interacting with the content and the author. These aspects of SMO can help improve SEO performance as search engines increasingly look for social signals to aid the ranking of pages.

7 Steps To improve Your SMO

Joshua Berg is one of the leading advocates of SMO. He has promoted a seven step model REALSMO, which is:

Reputation – build your reputation as a reliable qualified source
Engagement – encourage more engagement, sharing & reciprocate
Authority – become a notable authority in your field of expertise
Leadership – harness originality & creativity, be a Thought Leader
Social – be social, find and engage sociable experts in your field
Media – know your social media platforms to maximize influence
Optimization – improve technical aspects to increase optimization
These seven steps provide a good benchmark against which you can assess and plan your current SMO activity.

If I may be allowed to stand on the shoulders of a giant I would add my thoughts to each of these seven steps as follows:

1. Reputation

Your reputation in my view starts with ensuring you are either an expert or you act as an expert curator. This means undertaking thorough research and producing original content or curating quality content. This will make you a respected and qualified source.

Your reputation is also about how you engage and support people. Your reputation will be enhanced if you openly share your content and expertise including content that is not your own, engage with others through discussions and commenting, and if you are friendly and helpful to people.

I think fundamentally your reputation is enhanced by simply being helpful to people.

2. Engagement

You need to actively engage with your audience. This can include commenting, mentions, shares, likes, and plus ones. No one is as smart as everyone so share other peoples’ content and provide a good user experience by providing feedback and comments.

You need to target the networks with which to interact and make it easy for people to interact. It may be that people will interact with content on your site but you may find a far greater number of people willing to interact in their existing communities such as Google+ communities and LinkedIn groups. You can combine these by using say Google+ comments on your blog. Asking users to create accounts on your site will discourage users from commenting so use existing social logins such as LinkedIn or tools such as Disqus.

You can also encourage people to engage with a call to action, for example if you find this article helpful please share it. If you think I have missed anything please add your comments below.

3. Authority

There are many aspects to authority. Search engines are interested in ascertaining what individuals and brands are seen as authoritative and trusted by real people on the Internet. The most obvious example of a move in this direction is Google Authorship. Setting up Google Authorship can help establish you as an expert and show your profile prominently in search results. For example. I have spent many years researching the elearning market and writing a monthly market update. Thus when you search for ‘elearning market’ you will hopefully see my result (image below) with my picture and a link to my profile.

google authorship example

You can also enhance your authority and the value of content through social proof. In essence the more your content is shared through plus ones, retweets, bookmarks or likes the more it indicates the value and usefulness of your content. It may also encourage others to read your content. For example, my recent post on Google+ and SEO received over 2,500 plus ones and a thousand retweets. Hopefully this means a fair number of people found the article helpful and shareworthy. I am sure it also helps the SEO, as if you search for “google+ SEO” the article was at the time of writing appearing high on page one of the results page.

SMO best practices

4. Leadership

To me leadership is about high quality research, thinking and original content production.

A leader will research everything they can about their areas and share thoughtful insights which will add value to your audience. Poor quality content will be perceived as such and as a consequence will not be shared.

As a leader you can also create value for your audience through content curation. This means adding value to content by providing a summary, adding context or a perspective to the content you are sharing.

5. Social

You also need to build high quality networks, quality potentially matters more than quantity. Seek out the experts in your field, read what they say, engage them in debate and share your ideas.

6. Media platforms

It is important you focus on the right platforms and communities

Where does your audience hang out? Find and focus on the platforms, communities and groups where your audience hangs out.

Some platforms are far more effective in improving the SEO benefits of SMO than others. In my view the most effective platform is Google Plus for many reasons which are set out in the article I mentioned on why Google Plus will improve your SEO.

This was reinforced in recent days by the post I mentioned from Dustin Stout on social signals and Google+. His research led him to conclude that Google is counting all activity from all Google+ posts back to the original blog post. Thus in Dustin’s view “Google is trying really hard to give your shared links all the social credit they deserve.”

7. Optimization

I have included below some of my thoughts on the practical and technical aspects of optimizing your SMO below.

Share buttons – make it easy to share for users by adding share buttons to your content. You should also show the numbers of shares to demonstrate social proof.

Social Icons – group and display your social icons in a prominent place on your site.

Subscription options – group together subscription options such as email, RSS, and newsletters.

Shareable content – some content is more readily shareable such as infographics or 5 top tips articles. I think this is partly because it is short and scannable. However, I hope and believe longer but well written content will also be shared.

Social login – use social login options to make it easy for users to comment.

Rich snippets – social networks pull in rich snippets, data designed to summarise the content of a page. These are very useful for users. The different social networks pull in this data in different ways. Facebook uses OpenGraph, Twitter uses Twitter Cards and Google Plus will take values from OpenGraph, you just need to set up your authorship profile for your rel=”author” tag to work correctly. If you use WordPress you can use the Yoast plugin to manage and optimise these rich snippets

Title tags – Optimize your title tags for sharing, especially on Twitter where there is a character limit and include your name.

Images – they really do say more than a thousand words. Include images that add value and include an image that can be used as a thumbnail for your content.

Thanks again to Joshua Berg for his Real SMO framework and for the work of Dustin Stout and Mark Traphagen. I hope through my reflections and additions I have added some value to the way you think about and approach the SMO of your SEO.