Today, Social Media Optimisation is the one thing that all businesses are trying to integrate into their marketing. First came just plain online marketing, then came the social media buzz, but it now seems that just plain advertising on social media is not enough. Without mastering Social Media Optimisation, businesses are looking at wasted opportunity to get more clients through the door. But what is it? It is simply the activity of harnessing 3 things to work for your online marketing campaign: social networks, online communities and user generated content. If you can understand how to use and position these 3 elements, you will be right where the users are, you will know what they are talking about, you will find out what they are looking for and ultimately, so long as you can provide it they will keep coming to you for it. Better yet, your message will go viral.
Criteria for SMO
For your Social Media Optimisation
to work, there are 2 key elements that it must contain. The first is that the target market be active users of social networks. Fortunately for Australian businesses, for more than half the population, social media is an integral way of how they communicate and keep in touch and even how they make buy decisions. The second element that is required for success is that your target market must use the internet as their resource for all kinds of information. This means that you cannot run a SMO campaign on people who are not active online. They need to be there so that you can interact with them and gain leverage.
So Why Are The Big Brands Not So Keen On SMO??
For one thing, big brands have the comfort of a budget that can cover traditional advertising methods. Rather than run a big online campaign, they will run TV and paper ads and billboards. This is a luxury that many small businesses cannot afford. The other thing is that big brands find it hard to keep up. SMO changes on an almost weekly basis. There are new methodologies all the time to make information viral, to find out what is interesting now and get the most relevant content. There is also new technology all the time. Big brands seem to have resisted the SMO approach because of their scale and the amount of work it would take if they took an online approach to market their products.
SMO vs. Viral
The fact is that SMO and viral cannot do without each other. For SMO to work, information has to snowball. For content to be viral, it has to be fresh, it has to keep users engaged while collecting their feedback and it has to give them what they want. This means that it has to be interesting. But what is interesting? Who determines? It is the user. Your role is to keep up with the trends so that you can stay with the tempo. A good example is the ’90 Day Jane’ blog. It was set up by a girl who said she was going to kill herself in 90 days. Within a week, it had more than 150,000 hits. What made it such a hit? Because it spoke to people. It aroused intrigue, contempt, sympathy and even shame.
You should craft your SMO campaign in the same way. This doesn’t mean that you get all dramatic. It means that whenever you get a chance to appeal to the emotions of the user, use it. To get to their emotions, you first have to know what their issues are and how they feel about them. The one thing that we learn from ’90 Day Jane’is that today, information can go global in just a few days; in fact, it takes just a few seconds to bounce off information to all continents around the world. For your business, this means that you have maybe 5 billion potential customers so long as you can tap into what kind of information keeps their eyes on you.
As you process this, remember also that information is now a democratic, unregulated domain. The very same users that you are trying to impress could turn around and use information against you and bring your business down. Is there anything you can do about this? Fortunately there is. You can leverage the opinion leaders of the internet realm. If a Kardshian says it’s good, for example, it won’t matter what it is; it will almost instantly be declared good. There are opinion leaders in every niche. Whatever you are trying to sell, there are people who are respected because of the knowledge of the product or service and how it works. If you can use them, your Social Media Optimisation campaign will be off to a great start.
Where Does Technology Fit In?
This is an important question to address. Does technology come as a result of a need or is the need the one that creates technology? The answer is that today, it can go both ways. Take Googles Open Social. After all the social networks came up and users had multiple websites for social interaction, someone must have thought that there was the need for a user to login just once and access all their social media websites. In this case, the need created the technology. The reverse of this would be something like android technology. A lot of what you can do on your android today has been created simply because the technology to do it was there but not because there was any special need.
Another example is from the film industry and this one is not so easy to analyze. Top grossing movies in the last year were all extensively blogged about. So did the movies cause the blogging or did the blogging cause the movies to gross such high earnings? These are big questions that you don’t have to deal with, but the lesson here is to learn that if your online presence is going to be of any benefit, you must stay with social media trends. This is how you will know what people are talking about, what products and services they think are good, what feedback they have on these products and services and how they would like them delivered. Finally, don’t forget that Social Media Optimisation is an ongoing activity; once you start, you have to keep going for it to be of value.
Lucas Raby is an Internet Marketer from Melbourne, Australia with extensive experience in Web Design, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media and of course, Social Media Optimisation. For more information about Lucas, visit his Google+ profile.