Optimize Your Social Media Content For Greater Visibility
When most people think of online optimization, "search engine optimization" is the term that immediately comes to mind. But in this new era where the influence and popularity of social media are rapidly expanding, the importance of social media content optimization cannot be ignored.
Social media optimization (or SMO) involves the utilization of high-quality keywords via social media outlets (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and LinkedIn) to drive traffic to a web site or other online destination. It differs from traditional search engine optimization in that the keyword usage is imbedded exclusively within social media content.
Optimizing social media content with high-quality keywords leads to greater visibility on each social network. These keywords can be strategically placed within titles, posts, tags, video and photo listings, etc. Increased visibility via social networks will help build your customer base, increase interaction and drive high quality traffic back to your web site. This increased visibility will ultimately lead to increased revenues and profit.
The larger social media behemoths have search included within their systems, although some of these internal search engines are better than others. YouTube has now become one of the most dominant search engines, second only to its parent company, Google. Twitter search is widely used and incorporated into many third party clients/tools, according to social media expert, Ben Castelli.
Facebook has limited search capabilities, and even locating individuals on the site can be extremely problematic. A search for common names on Facebook, like "Deborah Cooper," will bring back a list of results that is too long to easily glean the identity of one specific person. However, with the financial resources that Facebook possesses, the site's search feature will likely improve in the future.
Besides the usual social media giants, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, there are others that are receiving attention. In his Social Media Optimization blog, marketing coach David Wilson ranks the top 10 social networking sites and provides user estimates and other relevant details for each.
Some analysts, however, warn against foregoing search engine optimization and putting all one's eggs in the SMO basket. While the social media sites have millions of members, Internet surfers habitually begin their searches on the major search engine sites (such as Google, Bing and Yahoo) because they have developed a degree of confidence in the purity and volume of the search results. The search engines will still be the locations where most of the search action occurs.
Liana Evans, author of the book Social Media Marketing: Strategies For Engaging in Facebook, Twitter and Other Social Media, says that although social media sites incorporate search among their many features, they are not true search engines because the algorithms they use differ from those of traditional search engines. "Understanding how [the two] differ," says Evans, "will help your optimization team balance the right kind of optimization efforts."
Still, as stated previously, the importance of social media content optimization cannot be ignored. Smart business professionals will use conventional search engine optimization, coupled with SMO, to create a multiplier effect in their online marketing strategies.
Social media networks are here to stay and their influence will definitely increase as more individuals use these resources to stay connected to family, friends, business associates and clients. Be sure that you are leveraging social media optimization and positioning you and your company for success.