With all the new social networks, social media channels, blogs, social bookmarking sites and other related Web tools channels, search engines aren’t the only source for valuable traffic to your website or online profile any more.

A top story on a highly ranked social media channel can drive much more traffic to your website than a top search engine ranking. All this has created a new process called Social Media Optimization (SMO).

Word of mouth marketing

SMO (Social Media Optimization) is a form of word of mouth marketing through the use of social bookmarking, social networking and media sharing (video, photo, presentations,etc) websites. The essence of Social Media Optimization is giving people a reason to visit and link to your website because of great interesting and original content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is totally different from Social Media Optimization. With Social Media you are marketing directly to your targeted audience while with Search Engine Optimization you are marketing to the search engines. Search Engine Optimization is all about building rankings on the search engines while SMO is all about building lasting relationships and communities.

Basic rules of Social Media Optimization

From: Rohit Bhargava (he coined the term “Social Media Optimization”)

  • Increase your likability: Increase the likability by adding new, original and interesting content that others will want to use as a resource. Look at adding a blog, white papers, statistics, and lists key information.
  • Make tagging and bookmarking easy: Include “Quick Add” buttons or links making it easy to del.cio.us, dig, etc.
  • Reward inbound links: To encourage more of them, we need to make it easy and provide clear rewards. From using Permalinks to listing recent linking blogs on your site provides the reward of visibility for those who link to you.
  • Help your content travel: When you have content that can be portable (such as PDFs, video files and audio files), submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site.
  • Encourage the mashup: In a world of co-creation, it pays to be more open about letting others use your content (within reason).
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