There has been a lot been written about including the social aspect in your marketing strategy. While it may not seem a worthy endeavour, there is something to think about.
Though there have been numerous discussions on adding customer interaction to your online business, social marketing is also beyond your website. Social marketing is when you integrate yourself and your online business into the online community of your industry by
- participating in forums
- getting known in blogs by writing comments or guest blogging
- writing content, aimed to go viral
- help your potential customers
- interact with your colleagues in the industry
- add opportunities for customers to personalize their experience on your site and interact with it
and so on (read more on marketing through forums and blogs).
Social media optimization
Some are viewing this social media thing from quite a different angle. One thing that struck me in the first article on social media optimization (SMO), was that the idea behind SMO is focused on optimizing a website. It is followed by a host of followers, who found more ways to socialize a website:
- Rules of Social Media Optimization (by Jeremiah Owyang) - one of the few, who focused on the benefits to the people
- Introduction to Social Media Optimization (by Cameron Olthius) - another post, focusing on the people
- Social Media Optimization : 13 Rules of SMO (by Loren Baker)
- New Rules for Social Media Optimization
- Social Media Optimization (SMO): The Next Phase Of SEO
Update: corrected the associated names with the links. Thanks, Cameron.
Here's a list of things to remember about social optimization:
- Increase your linkability
- Make tagging and bookmarking easy
- Reward inbound links
- Help your content travel
- Encourage the mashup
- Be a User Resource, even if it doesn├втВмтДвt help you
- Reward helpful and valuable users
- Know how to target your audience
- Create content
- Be real
- Don├втВмтДвt forget your roots, be humble
- Don├втВмтДвt be afraid to try new things, stay fresh
- Develop a SMO strategy
- Choose your SMO tactics wisely
- Make SMO part of your process and best practices
- Don't be afraid to let go of a message or idea and let others own it
- Syndicate your content
- Add buttons to make syndication easy
- Be a good citizen of the web (to build good karma)
While the list above is pretty good, it is quite unusual that, when the whole notion of 'social' behaviour is related to humans, some people still talk about websites. So, when it comes to socializing, 'social media optimization' seems rather awkward to use. Thus, when it is about the customers, it'd be more logical to use 'social marketing'.
Social marketing: doing it for the people
One of the first things you need to do for your website is to focus on the customer. Sure, you need to have the search engines in mind, when you build a website. You also need to know how the search engines work with your website, rank it in their results and what matters there. You also need to know which links are the best and why.
But before all that, you need to focus on the needs of your potential customers. Why are they looking for your product? What words they use? How to make your website usable for the people? Do your customers need an accessible website?
When it comes to social marketing, there's just one principle you need to follow: give to get. If you focus on providing value to your customers, you can easily find ways to make sure your customers have the best possible experience. You can also find ways to optimize and promote your website.
In short, you gain an entirely new perspective on how you can interact with your potential customers and colleagues, which will all result in more word of mouth recommendations, trust and appreciation of your efforts.
In the end, when the search engines learn how to almost completely evaluate how your website matches the interests of the people, better off will be those, who have been working for the customers from the start. Simply because that was a natural way to create, optimize and promote a website.
Read more about social marketing:
- Social Link Spam and Cigarette Butts from Eric Ward, the Link Mensch
- Social search overview from Search Engine Round Table
- What's the Big Deal With Social Search? from Search Engine Watch
- Social Media Marketing, eh? Let's See What's in Our Bag o' Goodies (by Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz)
- Power to the People: Social Linking from Marketing Profs Daily Fix
- The Dark Side of Social Media Optimization