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Is SMO (Social Media Optimization) The New SEO?

Brian Solis, widely recognized as a thought leader on new media, argues that “we are media” and discusses the importance of social media optimization for businesses and organizations.

Yesterday I attended an interesting webinar called “Social Media Optimization is the new SEO” by Brian Solis and put on by Hubspot.

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Here are some of the things I walked away with:

  • YouTube is the 2nd most popular search, and Twitter and Facebook are replacing Google among core users as their primary source for search. There have been reports recently of Facebook replacing Google as the number one source of referring traffic, and this seems to be gaining momentum. Have a search engine optimized Web site will always be important, but as we shift to a social landscape, with every social media site having it’s own search, companies and organizations are going to have to be visible in many more places…specifically, they’ll have to be visible where their audience is searching and communicating.
  • “I believe Social Objects are the future of Marketing.” — @gapingvoid. Not sure what social objects are? Either was I. Examples include photos at Flickr, videos on YouTube or Vimeo, events on PlanCast, checkins on FourSquare or Gowalla, updates on Facebook or LinkedIn, tweets, diggs, reviews on Yelp, the list goes on. Basically it’s anything you’re doing in the social media landscape.
  • You can’t increase your digital footprint if you have nothing to add. This goes to the heart of an earlier post of mine, “The Secret Ingredient of Social Media Marketing Is…” (The answer is value.) Social objects should have value as well as context for your audience.
  • “If it can be searched, it can be optimized.” — @briansolis. Brian stressed the importance of optimizing a video after posting it to YouTube. Make sure you have a keyword-rich title, a keyword-rich description, and tag it appropriately. What’s the point of creating a great video without making it easy for your audience to find?
  • “We are becoming media….We are now in the business of creating and distributing social objects.” –@briansolis. “EC = MC: Every Company is a Media Company, because every company publishes to its customers, its staff, its neighbors, its communities.” — @TomForemski. This can be an intimidating idea for most businesses: besides building and distributing our widgets, making payroll, returning phone calls and everything else we need to do to keep the lights on, we’re now in the publishing business? When did that happen? I’m thinking the best approach is not to feel overwhelmed, but rather to start publicly documenting some, then more, of our daily activities and interactions, and see what has an impact on our community. What will also take time is not just creating content/social objects, but interacting with social objects created by our audience, our customers and even our competitors.
  • SMO is the distribution of social objects and their ability to rise to the top of any related search query, where and when it is performed. SEO + SMO = Amplified findability in the traditional and social web.

I don’t feel it’s difficult to make the argument that social is becoming as important as search to your online success. Is it possible that one day we’ll be amazed that people are still using traditional search to find products and services, in the same way we’re amazed–well, some of us–that people still use the phone book?

Right now companies need to have both a search and a social media strategy to increase their online visibility, find new customers, and stay ahead of the competition.

Rich Brooks
Don’t objectify me, social objectify me.

About the author

Rich Brooks is founder and president of flyte new media (http://www.flyte.biz), a Web design and Internet marketing firm in Portland, Maine. His monthly flyte log email newsletter and company blog (http://www.flyteblog.com) focus on Web marketing topics such as search engine optimization, blogs, social media, email marketing, and building Web sites that sell.

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