What are the 16 rules of Social Media Optimization and why should you use them to become a resource hub and to curate your community? Engaging in social networks may help your brand and business even more than traditional ranking methods. It’s not about getting people to click and add one more unit to your viewers’ counter, it’s more about letting customers who actually use and like your brand be your evangelists. And, to spice things up, we’ve also got: * Case Studies - how companies are using SMO to reach their marketing goals; * Tips and Tricks - how to quickly and easily kick-start your SMO and get results immediately; * Tools and Recommendations - some nice add-ons and tools to optimize your work on the web.
uberVU White Paper May 2010 Page 1 uberVU White Paper May 2010 Table Of Contents ..................3 What Is Social Media Optimization (SMO)? ...........................6 SMO vs. SEO - goals and differences The 16 Rules of Social Media Optimization .................8 . How to use SMO for your business - tips and tricks 12 ..................................................................15 Case Studies Tools & Recommendations ..........................................17 About uberVU ................................................................19 Page 2 uberVU White Paper May 2010 What Is Social Media Optimization (SMO)? With the help of the world wide web, we have been telling stories through video, audio and, now, we are doing it with the help of interactivity. Discovering content has passed beyond the old way we used to broadcast information. Our ability of steering all the inﬂuential conversations is now enhanced by social networks, these living media through which people exchange information, experience and expectations. Page 3 uberVU White Paper May 2010 But how does it work? The ‘keyword’ is Social Media Optimization, which is a method of search optimization that promotes content through social features, allowing it to be streamed across third- party communities and networks. Optimizing for social media makes your website more easy to link to and more visible in social media searches. Basically, this happens when you put an RSS feed on your blog, a Retweet or Facebook sharing button, and other such usability improvements that will make your site more compelling for users. It also includes designating specific tags, titles and descriptions to your content so that it becomes ‘discoverable’. For example, using Facebook Connect and Twitter login means being present where the talk is already happening and arrive just in the middle of the conversation. ‘SMO is defined by the distribution of social objects and their ability to rise to the top of any related search query, where and when its performed.’ (Brian Solis) Think of it this way: these ‘mechanisms’ help get your social object liked, bookmarked, favorited, digged or stumbled upon. And through these actions, your content is not only read, but becomes something people return to and recommend to others, therefore it travels, it gets reviewed, it becomes relevant. People are becoming more and more aware of the power of social networks, therefore you need a more holistic strategy when it comes to web search – it should integrate all the places people spend their time in and where they share content that is important to them. Social network search is different from traditional search and real time search, as it allows you to find elements inside social networks, elements that were deemed relevant by someone who linked to a specific content. Page 4 uberVU White Paper May 2010 The science of procuring attention is complemented by the delicate art of earning and cultivating relationships. (Brian Solis) We are now more interested in finding social content, not just content. What people say and think about a brand has become equally as important as what the brand wants people to see. The prosumer (the mix between producer and consumer) somehow helps shaping the online persona of the brand. We’re dealing with the prevalence of collaboration over hierarchy, as Brian Solis puts in his book, ‘Engage!’. We live in a participatory culture. Whether we’re talking about blog posts and comments, Facebook events and wall posts, YouTube videos, PDFs, slideshows, social bookmarking or geo location sites, every social object is remixable and embeds conversations. Social objects ARE conversations, they are activities that spur dialogue. And these social objects are directly linked to SMO, because they consist of all the contents and media that establish connections in social networks. Page 5 uberVU White Paper May 2010 SMO vs. SEO - goals and differences As opposed to SEO, which increases traffic coming from search engines (by editing keywords and HTML codes) for a website that becomes the go-to place, SMO builds a web of interactions around your content by making it available and shareable through a multitude of social networks. Whereas in SEO you made changes in the site, SMO is about getting the content from your site to travel outside of your domain. It doesn’t require people to get to you, but instead it transforms them into carriers of your information. In the case of SEO, it was Google. In the case of SMO it is the people. While SEO is still extraordinarily important, it is not enough to compete in a market turning more and more toward new media for information and answers. (The Social Capitalist) Some other differences between SEO and SMO are: SEO SMO Site trafﬁc, number of visits Number of quality visits, conversations Search engine results Social media search Exposure Buzz Measuring link conversion Building a community Marketing to search engines Marketing to targeted audiences Site structure Content On site optimization Off site optimization Metadata consists of HTML title Metadata consists of tags, titles tags, image titles, bolded text – and description that grab people’s ranking is based on coding attention Page 6 uberVU White Paper May 2010 Of course, they both require people to type in or click on a link directing to your site aka they can both improve search rankings, but while SEO can bring irrelevant traffic (people that will not come back again), SMO is based on trust and usefulness (people will not feel as if they were brought to you, but as if they discovered some great content which they wish to share). It’s obvious that SMO is a more refined, qualitative method, because after all it’s not about how many people see your message, but WHO sees it. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that you should restrict your efforts to social media. As Solis puts it, ‘SMO should be part of an overall SEO strategy (SEO + SMO = Amplified Findability in the traditional and social Web).’ So use a combination of the two, if that suits your brand. Generate traffic to your site, but remember to always try to achieve a more personal touch: recommendations and popularity are possible only through organic growth. You want your ‘clickers’ to become a community. Page 7 uberVU White Paper May 2010 The 16 Rules of Social Media Optimization The ‘story’ of Social Media Optimization started in 2006, when Rohit Bhargava coined the term and delivered the first set of 5 rules. After that, Jeremiah Owyang added 2 more rules, Cameron Olthuis put 4 more on the list, leaving numbers 12 and 13 to be inserted by Loren Baker, and the last 3 by Lee Odden. What a productive month of August that was! And here is the full list of the 16 rules of SMO: 1.Increase Your Linkability 2.Make Tagging and Bookmarking Easy 3.Reward Inbound Links 4.Help Your Content Travel 5.Encourage the Mashup 6. Be a User Resource, Even if it Doesn’t Help You 7. Reward Helpful and Valuable Users 8. Participate 9. Know How to Target Your Audience 10. Create Content 11. Be Real 12. Don’t Forget Your Roots, Be Humble 13. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things, Stay Fresh 14. Develop an SMO Strategy 15. Choose Your SMO Tactics Wisely 16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices Page 8 uberVU White Paper May 2010 In plain English, what each of these rules is trying to teach you is: 1. Increase Your Linkability - add a blog to your site (it will humanize your brand by showing people real thoughts of a person, not a company presentation), aggregate content from elsewhere (for example, show people relevant blogs or Twitter lists you follow and get inspiration from, create a place where they can find useful information concerning your industry), create whitepapers (filter your knowledge on a particular subject and make it downloadable and storeable); 2. Make Tagging and Bookmarking Easy - add social bookmarking buttons, add relevant tags and related articles (help people find other things they might be interested in, but also help increase the number of clicks they make on your blog – win-win situation); 3. Reward Inbound Links - track inbound links to measure the popularity of the site; use permalinks and list blogs that recently linked to your site or blog (people who pointed to you for writing something really liked it – you can compare this to a vote, so why not thank them for what they did?); 4. Help Your Content Travel - submit PDFs, audio files, video files, etc. for broadcast on social networks (this way, your content travels, people get tot learn from it, and it also brings links back to the site – another win-win right at the tip of your fingers); 5. Encourage the Mashup - allow content to be shared (this is done through YouTube embedding or RSS feeds – allow people to show others what they liked, allow your content to go places you didn’t even think of); Page 9 uberVU White Paper May 2010 6. Be a User Resource, Even if it Doesn’t Help You - by being helpful (even if this means linking to competition), you will become a go-to point on the web, people will know that on your site/ blog they can find important and trustful information, not just promotional stuff; 7. Reward Helpful and Valuable Users - valuable users are influencers of your community and you should give them credit for their work or rate their activity (together, you’re building your brand and your community, so why not compensate your evangelists for their effort, even if you do it symbolically?); 8. Participate - joining the conversation leverages your message and gives it more credit (people will know that there is a real person behind all the data and technology; sometimes, ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ work wonders); 9. Know How to Target Your Audience - you can’t sell to everyone – find your niche and own it; 10. Create Content - you can create relevant and spreadable content for any type of industry, just find the points of interests (don’t think that your area of expertise is boring and you can’t make anything of it – write something funny, put things in a new perspective); 11. Be Real - ‘the community does not reward fakers’ – it’s about human contact, people will know you are not true, particularly if you use ‘tricks’ more than once; and remember, everyone hates spammers, so use their time carefully; Page 10 uberVU White Paper May 2010 12. Don’t Forget Your Roots, Be Humble - respect is gained by not forgetting who helped you and not getting ahead of yourself – always thank people who did something for you, respect your customers and never think there’s no room for improvement; 13. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things, Stay Fresh - challenges are just around the corner in social media, it’s a constantly evolving environment and you need to keep up with it; 14. Develop an SMO Strategy - put down objectives and goals, whether they refer to awareness or sales – it’s important to know where you’re going and what you’re striving for, it will help you focus on all the important things and never lose perspective; 15. Choose Your SMO Tactics Wisely - define your desired outcome (is it creating content, enriching it or consuming it-like 90% of those involved in social media do?) and act upon it; 16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices - incorporate SMO tactics in your organization’s practices of content creation and distribution – your employees are also brand ambassadors and stakeholders, so get them involved in your strategy, let them also be carriers of your messages. After all, who can talk better about what the company’s values are, if not people who work there? Page 11 uberVU White Paper May 2010 How to use SMO for your business - tips and tricks What you should use to make things easier for you are tools like Facebook Open Search, Twitter’s real time search and all the search boxes of social networks like Stumble Upon, Digg, Delicious etc. Go to SlideShare if you want ideas put in slideshows, go to YouTube for a film. Google Social Search lets you use features such as ‘My social circle’ and ‘My social content’ in an attempt to allow you to enjoy recommendations from friends and family alongside with popular searches in Google. Other stuff you can do include treating your audience and yourself as real people, as seen on Best Social Marketing Tips: •provide your target people with grounds like video, audio, mobile accessibility, widget – you should be present and available wherever they might need you; Page 12 uberVU White Paper May 2010 •regularity in updating the content and providing them a fresh content – this is how you become a permanent source of fresh ideas and inspiration; •expand your network of influencers (bloggers, digg etc.) and expand your network of content too – show them you know how to evolve and learn; •focus on social media sites and know your target spectators – this way you will be able to properly filter your audience and also be present in places people are interested in what you have to offer; help them and help yourself; •track and measure the conversion to calculate ROI – it’s important to know why you’re doing it, what results you get and if it’s ok to continue; •position your brand to your customers on their own terms and in their environment, which results in a more authentic marketing message – co-create your image together with your consumers; with input coming from both sides, you will be able to crystallize the essence of your brand. How do you choose what social media networks to use? Does a particular network appeal to your audience or do you stream your content on all of them? This one is easy: you should use networks and communities that are closely associated to your niche. Go where your target audiences go. You don’t have to be everywhere, but in all the relevant places. To become ‘findable and shareable’ in social media, you need to know that people now look for information directly on YouTube or Facebook, and tools like HootSuite or Seesmic are channels through which content is striving for attention, you just need to make it available. And social networks are just the places where people’s attention is focused on things they really care about. Targeting was never easier. Information is now social, and you need to let it work for you even in your absence. Page 13 uberVU White Paper May 2010 Every blog is someone’s NY Times, so become essential for your readers, create content and publish it regularly so that people will come back. And when it comes to social networks, try and experiment together with your audience, be present where they are and where they WILL be; add value wherever you go. And it’s not just about sharing, you should also determine people to respond to what you’re asking. Even more, answer the questions that haven’t been asked. Surprise your readers! Page 14 uberVU White Paper May 2010 Case Studies The Boston Celtics wish to drive traffic into their site and they use GameTime Live, an application that features real time scores, tweets, and blogging with supporters throughout the world, keeping their fans close to the site during games (and not only). They also use a YouTube channel which features locker room videos, a Facebook page with an interactive stats prediction game and a 22,000 followers Twitter account which they use to give seat upgrades. The BlackBerry Geeks Twitter account, BBGeeks, has become a BlackBerry trouble shooter account, while also promoting the business it was built for. They made small give-aways and even wrote a guide for TwitterBerry, a Twitter application for BlackBerrys. Joining conversations, helping people solve problems, incentivizing their attention, all these are fine examples of what a simple Twitter account can do for you (also notice how they’re measuring their efforts). Georgia Aquarium shows people where their visitors are travelling from using a Google Earth-Flickr mashup and they offer ticket promotions to people signing up on their social media networks. Let’s think of some particular case in which you can use SMO. How can a blogger optimize for social media purposes? Hereʼs a top 3 steps you can use to make the most out of your ʻonline diaryʼ: 1. Add a Facebook profile badge and a Twitter stream (and ask people to follow you there), these are the most important social connections you can have with your audience – you give them discussion boards they surely already use and you establish a more powerful and personal link; add LinkedIn if you blog about your professional work; 2. Use ratings and polls to get feedback from your readers on particular subjects; make them part of your talks and use their opinions to get better at writing and promoting your products; Page 15 uberVU White Paper May 2010 3. If you’re writing on a company blog, try linking to photo sharing accounts from customers and even employees; add video content if there are things you can explain better through this channel. How to optimize your Twitter content in (yet another) 3 steps: 1. Never forget to share the most relevant information about your work in the bio line – 160 characters are not much, so be specific; maybe use a keyword related to your profession an area of interest, if you want to be easy to find by traditional search; 2. Be sure to use URL shorteners; some of them, like bit.ly, can help you through their analytics service and, plus, they give you more room to expose your ideas; 3. Post interesting links and retweet things you like, but also engage in conversations, by giving support you will receive help when you’ll be in need. How to optimize your online shop for social networks: 1. Get a blog! If you sell organic products, start talking to people about what made you start this business, about the importance of using environmentally responsible products, biodegradable packaging and natural alternatives to everyday products – show people values you believe in, show them you’re human, tell your story and ask for theirs; 2. Implement a product review system – you’ll know what your customers like to buy, what caused them problems and what needs to be changed; if they win, you win; 3. Add social profiles to your blog and site, let people tag themselves in your pictures, organize contests – make it easy for your clients to recommend products they liked to their friends; build your brand together with the people that like it. Page 16 uberVU White Paper May 2010 Tools & Recommendations Firefox has a great SMO-Social Media Optimization pack which features uberVU’s gReactions tool (allows to read comments to your posts from inside Google Reader), Hootlet (a HootSuite Twitter Client), Social Media for Firefox (a status bar that will show you how many votes content has at Digg, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Delicious, Reddit, Mixx, Sphinn, and other social sites) and other ‘goodies’ that will make your social media life much more pleasant. Use Social Media Releases: PressDoc lets you ‘write, edit and publish your own social media release online and share it with journalists, bloggers and your clients.’ Even your formal content can be transformed into a shareable one. Page 17 uberVU White Paper May 2010 Learn how to use the ‘anyone know’ search, a nice tip that lets you understand what people need, but don’t know yet how to find. Here’s 11 Free Tools for Social Media Optimization, very nice wrap-up of tools that help you find your social visibility scores, analyze inbound links or track social engagement. There’s no conclusion, just trial and error Since we’ve discussed all the advantages of using social media optimization, let’s take a step back and think of the implications. Is SMO a super-posibility? Are we supposed to sit around and wait for it to give us instant evangelists, extended traffic and global awareness? Of course not. The main focus is on long term value, transforming your followers into extensions of the brand, getting insightful feedback from communities and building a strong reputation. These are not easily quantifiable points, but they build influence and create stronger buying decisions. People may not want to acquire your book if they got on your site through SEO, but with SMO they might consider you for a good review- site, comeback for information and recommend you to all their social network. It’s a snowball effect and it stirs up talks and participation. People don’t fall for traditional marketing anymore, you have to take another approach to get to them. Besides, engaging ion social media goes beyond getting people ‘on the hook’, it also helps you improve your products and services (given that you receive realistic input), understanding why it is that you do what you do and how to improve your work and further develop it and please your customers. It’s an infinite loop of feedback that helps you grow and get better at what you do. You are not an island, you’re a link in the chain. Page 18 uberVU White Paper May 2010 About uberVU uberVU helps small businesses connect with existing and potential customers through social media. Our social media analytics solution is the easiest way for a small business to see who is talking about them, measure their progress and connect with leads and influencers. uberVU is based in London, UK and is backed by one of UK’s leading venture capital firms, Eden Ventures. uberVU won Seedcamp in 2008 and was named one of the Top 100 RealTime Web Companies by ReadWriteWeb in 2009. URL: http://www.ubervu.com Email: email@example.com Twitter: @ubervu Facebook: facebook.com/ubervu Page 19
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