Almost everyone has caught on to the importance of Social Media Optimization. But taking the need for SMO as a given doesn’t by itself energize an online marketing budget. To get a better ROI on online marketing, a merchant needs to understand the basics of how and why its site should be optimized for social media. It is important for any merchant attempting a new search engine marketing firm promotion strategy to have clearly formulated goals so the merchant can clearly articulate its priorities and have more efficient and production conversations with the SEO marketing firm at the outset of the relationship.
Although the logic behind spending some portion of an online marketing budget on social media optimization is straightforward, the figures warrant explicit mention. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 million web users are members of Facebook, and estimates put total use of the popular social media platforms around a billion global users. And these aren’t just kids – as the generations that began using these media age into their late 20s, and more adults join these sites, the purchasing power of social media users is staggering. Combine that with the fact that several major sites that track their referral traffic, such as Comedy Central and Forever21, recorded significantly more traffic from social networks than from Google in 2010, and it is clear that a site that has effective presence on social media platforms and has been optimized to appeal to this type of users will see dramatically increased traffic.
But it’s not just that social media optimization should translate into more traffic. It will also generate traffic in a different way. Instead of typing in keywords and clicking through to sites using a search engine, users on social networks follow link suggestions from their friends and contacts, using social connections as a filter and recommendation tool to help them decide what websites get their attention. This speaks to the second half of what a merchant needs to understand about social media optimization; SMO requires a different bag of tools than regular search engine marketing practices.
Specifically, optimizing your site for social media requires steps such as offering content that can be reposted on social media platforms so that people can view it without needing to come to the site, incredibly relevant and engaging content so that users will want to share it, and ways to convert these types of attention into new traffic. There are specific ways to target advertising for these social media, different types of online media that travel better on social media platforms, and a number of decisions to be made about which social networks are the best fit, as well as which features can be used to the greatest effect on each network.
Marketing companies with expertise in social media optimizing will obviously be more efficient at making these types of decisions and guiding a merchant to the best campaign strategies, but it behooves the merchant to be aware of the basic options available, so that creative opportunities that come from the merchant’s greater familiarity with its products will not be missed. SMO is not an effortless solution, but it can be a dramatic strategy for merchants that go into the process armed with the necessary knowledge.