- Backlinks (Websites that link to your site)
- Traffic (Visitors to your site, for this post, we will exclude search engines from this term)
- Branding (Basically a service, product or even a concept that you can distinguish from the many others)
- Community Interaction (Interact with other users online throughout the globe, gathering feedback, ideas, responses)
Ever heard the terms SMO or Social Media mentioned? Where does it fit into the grand scheme of things? How do I benefit from using it? What does it exactly do? How do I start?
This is done once you submit “content” to any community site, such as YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, etc. The “content” may be anything from a video clip, audio, Podcast, article or a small review of something. Once you have almost completed the process of submitting your “content”, you are able to add Tags (labels) that are meant to be related to the “content you have submitted. These help to identify the “content” you have submitted, and make it searchable to other users within the site. This can be done anonymously, or by creating yourself a profile within the site, preferably create a profile when you are looking at this from a SMO point.The profile will allow you to interact with other members within these sites. Higher “ranked” profiles within these sites will hold more weight on the “content” they submit, meaning it will be more accessible to other members, even “rank” slightly higher. To sum up, tagging, is basically labelling your “content”.
Not the best word to describe this, but possible the easiest way to understand (South Africans, even surfers will possibly understand easier, with the word being used as slang for “like”). Sites such as Digg, Technorati, etc. The basic idea of this, is that you submit your “content” where other community members may “Digg” your “content”, i.e., vote for it. The more votes your receive the higher the rank for the “content” and the chances of it appearing within the front page of the site, in a featured section, which will allow almost everyone visiting to see your “content” and view it, which in theory provides you with more traffic. Users are also able to make comments about the “content” submitted.
Possibly the easiest way to enter into the online social community, allowing you to have your own “online diary” as I would describe, where you can literally write about anything you want. Blog about new industry happenings, release news about new company services, etc. Readers are also allowed to post comments about each post, providing feedback = community interaction. For the average website owner, a Blog is a means in which to add content online that you would normally not on your business website, a small rant about services within the industry, personal reviews on certain things, etc. which in the SEO field would provide a link back to your website, helping it within the search engines, even as another source for visitor referrals.
Social Networking/Community Sites
There are a fair number of these sites out there such as YouTube, MySpace, Flickr just to name a few, each with there own little unique twist appealing to certain people. YouTube is more your online video sharing site, MySpace providing you with your own online profile about yourself, allowing you to add friends and post messages to them within your friends list. Flickr, more of a photo sharing site. Within all these sites you are able to create your own unique profile, with a nickname, and communicate with people all over the world. Sharing news, ideas, chatting and getting feedback on certain ideas, etc. With a MySpace profile you are able to create bulletins, which when posted are seen on all your friends bulletin boards for them to click, read, follow, visit, and send replies = Community Interaction, time consuming for some. There are many of these sites available, with no limit to how many you can join, and they are absolutely free to join and use, just trend lightly according to the Terms of Conditions, when you have the sudden urge to start “spamming”.
If you are indeed interested in making use of Social Media, having a website is not enough. You will need to ensure that the content on your site is easily accessible and distributable on the web. Providing the 3rd party scripting to create links that allow others to “Digg” or even Blog about the “content” within a few clicks is a start.
Provide “content” that will appeal to users; be ready for the negative feedback. Users are fickle, what they like as “hot and happening” now, could be hated within a matter of hours. Social Media communities are also not a perfect system, as the can be misused by others, even scammers. It also allows you to gain feedback from community members to products, services to pro`s even con`s. Ultimately offering you a chance to increase brand awareness, previously only for those companies with vast amounts of money to spend on advertising, etc.
Remember that SMO compliments your online marketing strategy, SEO, the same as the way PPC and SEO compliment each other. Using all of these will provide you with an all round online marketing solution. The online world changes each day, so I`ve tried to keep the above as down to basics as possible with regards to SMO, there are so many other opportunities available when it comes to Social Media, that covering them all would be extensive, and they change so quickly, it would be old within a matter of days, the basics are usually a stepping stone for greater things.