Social media optimization, or SMO, is applying your social skills to your social media platforms. SMO sounds like a fancy term, but I can guarantee that you have the social skills necessary to build your blog traffic and social media network. Whether you're an entrepreneur, writer, or small business owner, SMO can help you bring traffic to your blog and bring awareness to what you're doing and get more clients, sell books, or build your email list.
What is Social Media Optimization (SMO)
The principle of using social media to build your blog, not SEO. If you love SEO and it's working great for you, SMO can add more fuel to your content. It's possible to use SMO and SEO together, I focus on SMO, and I use a tiny sprinkle of SEO. I use the Yoast SEO plugin on my blog. A few benefits of Yoast:
- Post title and meta description meta box to change these on a per post basis.
- Taxonomy (tag, category & custom taxonomy) title and meta description support.
- Google search results in snippet previews.
- Focus keyword testing.
Additional reading: How to Install and Setup the Yoast Plugin
Be smart – use keywords and plugins on your blog but focus on your content and niche.
Focus on quality, not quantity
Focus on creating great content you’re passionate about, not trying to trick Google with SEO. You want people to find you and be interested in your article, not leave your site immediately.
- “Better content will outperform more content.” from Rand Fishkin in one of his famous White Board Friday videos. He gives lots of tips for read engagement, interaction, and sharing, which are all a part of SMO to boost your blog.
- One great post a week or every other week is better than poor quality every day.
- Provide value with each post you create: educate, entertain, or inform.
Resource: 10 Tactics to Improve Blog Readership
Be highly shareable
Hint: Use an image for each post!
Data is revealing that images are helping content to spread! For your blog content to spread, it needs an image that people can pin on Pinterest and will auto-populate when embedded on Facebook and Google+. Twitter cards allow images to be shown with tweets as well. I have a pinnable image on my blog, but I also add a Pinterest graphic in 735 pixels by 1102 pixels to Pinterest and embedded the Pinterest pin on my blog. Why? I want it to be as easy to share as possible. I want my images pinned and repinned as much as possible.
From a recent case study by Pinterest on Buzzfeed‘s use of Pinterest: “Pinterest is BuzzFeed’s second largest social network referrer. It also has a much longer lifecycle than other social networks, often driving traffic to posts months after publication. More than half of BuzzFeed's traffic from Pinterest goes to posts published more than 2 months ago,” said Dao Nguyen, VP of Growth and Data at Buzzfeed.
What? Pinterest has the longest lifecycle of any social network. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I've been saying that for a long time. Make your content pinnable! Pin it to Pinterest immediately after you publish your post and share your Pinterest link.
Suggestions from BuzzFeed's success
- Experiment with new categories, like humor and posts, to see what resonates with followers
- Create custom images on your posts for easy Pinning
- Add the Pin It button to your site pages and images
Write, repurpose, repeat
Repurpose your content on Slide Share and link back to your blog, then embed the Slide Share on a post. There are so many ways to work your blog content into your social media content. Use your creativity and think of new ways that you can use your blog content to create other content.
- Create quote graphics and share to Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter
- Make an infographic
- Create a video and share your most discussion section of a popular post
Share your content more than once! Many bloggers fire off one tweet and forget about it. Sharing your blog content on social media with an image and a great intro makes a huge difference in traffic.
Add variety to your tweets with these ideas from KISSmetrics; they never share the same text on a tweet for a post. I implement this strategy as well. “This simple trick takes time to execute but adds a lot of variety to the final stream. It is a great way to engage your audience with your content without looking like someone who just wants to promote their stuff. There are several message types you can use as needed. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Straight and Easy: Post Title + Link
- The Question: Ask an engaging question to stir conversation
- Cite a Fact: Share a fact or figure that is included in your post
- Share a Quote: Grab a pull quote from your article and turn it into a social message
- Add Intrigue: Write a teaser message that grabs the attention of your readers
This tactic provides an excellent way to try out new ideas on your followers.”
Connect with other people to build your network.
You don't need to build a huge army, just a small group of engaged and interested people. Maintaining a solid connection with many people is impossible, so pick ten to fifteen people who matter the most and do a great job with them.
- Comment on their blogs and posts.
- Tweet them to say hello.
- Share other people’s content (OPC).
- Participate in Twitter chats and Google Hangouts.
- Connect with people in a meaningful and thoughtful way.
Golden rule for your social media: Treat others as you wish to be treated. Share other people's content; they might share yours. Respond to a comment and start a conversation. No one is an island on social media; you must build a reciprocity network to succeed. Let it start with good deeds and actions from you.
Follow These 6 Steps to Network Like a Pro
Reputation+ Engagement+ Authority+ Leadership+ Social+ Media+ Optimization
This spells REAL SMO from Joshua Berg's REALSMO blog. Joshua's very in-depth article about SMO shares this to explain his acronym. Joshua explains in great deal how the elements of being social help you build your reputation and authority while creating thought leadership in your area of expertise.
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 your influence
Optimization – improve technical aspects to increase optimization
Social media networking with your blog is a natural fit to build blog traffic. Use social platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and more to share your longer-form writing and help your ideas spread.
I look forward to seeing where you can take the two together!
Jeff Sieh says
Great article Peg! Social Media Optimization is going to be growing in importance in the future IMHO. Gone are the days when you could just throw up a post and expect traffic. There will be more of an art of crafting great posts and optimizing those posts correctly.
Your section on networking was spot on as well. Why do social media if you don’t network?
Wendy Kelly says
Hi Peg – I completely agree with your take on SMO. I’ve been reading/writing a lot about SEO recently & have come to distinguish between “SEG” and “SEO”.
What’s “SEG” you ask? 🙂 “Search Engine Gaming”
Proper SEO + SMO = Bliss, fun, unicorns, rainbows & glitter.
Jeremy Hemp says
Great tips on SMO, especially on the Get Real! part. I have to admit I have yet to try some of the tips you have shared (such as the use of Pinterest) so now I will. Thanks for sharing some awesome stuff.