By Jason Lee Miller
As if it needed it, the online world just got another acronym: SMO. Not to be confused with EMO, or the Yiddish pejorative schmo, SMO stands for Social Media Optimization, as introduced to the attendants of the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago.
Similar to SEO, SMO applies link and traffic building concepts to the online social networking scene – except with a little more PR built in. At the end of the day, it’s not just about traffic, it’s about branding and consumer associations.
Simply: they see you, they like you, they trust you, they buy what you’re selling.
That takes time and effort, but this is the way (lasting) businesses have been built since the first Neolithic grunt traded a shiny hunk of metal to another Neolithic grunt for one of his famous mammoth-flavored toothpicks. (Ones made of bone, of course. No one likes splinters in their gums.)
The presentation (in case you’ve forgotten by this point, we were at SES Chicago) was kicked off by Neil Patel, cofounder of Advantage Consulting Services, speaking about how to utilize socially-edited Wikipedia. This is a good starting point because many of the guidelines apply to all social marketing.
A warning before we continue: any article submitted to Wikipedia can be edited by another, which means the article needs to be closely monitored for changes, and needs to be somewhat objective and informative from the start. The latter goes for other social media, as a spammy, salesy approach is likely to defeat the original purpose via editorial changes or negative reader response. This is a supplement to the sales cycle, not a closing.
People use Wikipedia for research purposes, so an explanation of the founding of the company, the key people involved, technology developed, approach to business, or any number of topics can help build a positive, rewarding relationship.
Benefits of Wikipedia for your site, according to Patel:
Great source for authority links (which the search engines really like)
Great source of traffic
Great for branding because of image allowances (you can upload your company logo)
What not to do:
Don’t use Wikipedia for link building (too spammy)
Don’t add biased information
Don’t delete accurate information (they’ll know you did it)
Don’t break community rules
What to do for links:
Develop a reputation as an editor by becoming a community participant in other areas
Add linkable information first, then links (editor insert: links to positive press coverage in the source list is a subtle way to build positive associations)
“Follow the notability” by hanging out with those with gravitas. High authority equals high respect.
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.org, echoed many of Patel’s points, with a few more specifics.
First and foremost is that placement in Wikipedia, a highly dug (i.e., Digg.com), blogged about and linked to submission rules the search engine results on those topics. Fishkin also notes that this can be very influential in the traditional media, who troll social networks and the tops of the search results for information and story ideas.
Fishkin recommends five specific tools:
Flickr – upload industry-relevant and useful photos of events, conferences, developments
Newsvine – create a profile with keywords that will become your Newsvine subdomain; submit news stories, comment on popular stories, create connections with regular users
StumbleUpon toolbar – a voter-driven Firefox plug-in that brings up random sites related to user-selected topic areas. Some may doubt the overreaching benefit, considering Firefox is still largely geek-utilized, though it is growing in browser market share.
MySpace – connect with well-linked-to users to build your visibility
Yahoo Answers: create a profile and start answering people’s questions; the better your answers, the higher your profiles on the site
About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.