One of the most common mistakes digital marketers around the world make is to not understand the technicalities of specific marketing approaches before creating a digital marketing plan. While most digital marketers are familiar with the basics of SEO (search engine optimization), common techniques, and numerous tools such as Chrome extensions for SEO, not many understand the technicalities of social media optimization (SMO) and social media marketing (SMO).
Understanding how social media can help your business is more important than ever because a huge chunk of online traffic now originates at social media networks.
Here in this post, we will briefly explain the basics of SMM and SMO so that you can fully comprehend the difference between the two. Read on!
Social Media Optimization (SMO)
SMO is essentially the process of making a website ‘social media-ready.’ Therefore, SMO can include anything that’s done ‘on-site’ so as to encourage website visitors to share it on various social media and networking platforms.
Besides Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, SMO as part of a digital marketing plan may typically focus on video-sharing platforms (e.g. Vimeo and Dailymotion), bookmarking sites (e.g. Pinterest and StumbleUpon), social news websites (e.g. Reddit and Slashdot), social networking sites (e.g. LinkedIn and Tumblr), etc.
The SMO process for a website may include the following:
- Focus on social media networks that add value; tap into niche social networking groups if required
- Publishing engaging content (in various formats) that’s more likely to be shared
- Displaying social-share buttons at strategic places around the pages that have useful or interesting information
- Integrating social media tools to a website’s architecture
- Including direct links to official social media profiles from a website
- Encouraging website visitors to leave a review on social media platforms
- Make it easy for website visitors to tag or bookmark a piece of content
- Updating the website interface to make it easier for visitors to share content
- Introducing social sign-ins to encourage more encouraging more comments and discussion on the website
Show ‘social proof’ to gain customer trust; humans are wired to trust and get interested in things that have been approved (liked/shared) by others.
Put simply, Social Media Optimization is all about getting website visitors to connect with and spread the word about your brand, products, and services by sharing landing pages, blog posts, forum threads, embedded videos, FAQs, etc. on different social media platforms.
Done well, SMO can help strengthen your brand, drive targeted traffic, generate leads, and gain more visibility online.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
SMM is typically what digital marketers do after optimizing a website. The SMM process focuses on enhancing the visibility of a website by sharing and publishing it on various social media platforms.
While SMO is about getting visitors to share and engage with your content to achieve the desired goal (more buzzword, traffic, leads, or sales), SMM is about taking a more direct approach to do the same.
As part of SMM, for instance, you may post blogs, images, videos, infographics, illustrations, advertisements, etc. on Facebook or Instagram or bookmark a useful and interesting piece of content on a popular bookmarking website.
At times, SMM professionals also tap into niche networking sites and community forums to drive targeted traffic or create a buzzword around a brand, product, or service.
Viral marketing is an essential component of Social Media Marketing and involves the implementation of strategies to make website content go viral on the Internet post an initial push.
The SMM process for a website may include the following:
- Grow a social media audience on select platforms by sharing great content on a regular basis
- Interact with social media followers to enhance brand reputation, generate leads, or increase sales
- Increase website traffic by posting, bookmarking, or sharing content that gets liked, shared or commented upon
- Post videos on YouTube and other video sharing platforms to increase awareness about a brand, product, or service
- Track meaningful metrics and improve results
- Create and share content for specific audience personas
- Optimize social media profiles with the right images, keywords, and information
SMM is essentially an ‘off-site’ activity and is often supported by SMA or social media advertising.
Both SMM and SMO are now important components of a digital marketing strategy. While SMM refers to what you do outside of your website, SMO is about on-site modifications. In a way, SMO can help boost the outcomes of SMM. For example, if an article published on your website is shared by 100 users on your Facebook page, it may get furthered shared by 50 more users when they read it on your website.
Lastly, do keep in mind the rule of thumb – like SEO, SMM and SMO are heavily dependent on the quality of content that gets attention and appreciation.
Simon is one of the founders and head of operations at 405 Ads. Simon serves as an online marketing manager to businesses and agencies worldwide. His overall business and marketing experience has helped hundreds of business owners get their presence done right when it comes to today’s online world.