Man a social animal
Most people do not enjoy being alone and choose to spend their time at offline and online meeting places where they can socially converse or network with other individuals. Hence social networking websites like Orkut.com and MySpace.com are popular and so are blogs where people converse with others through opinion postings. Then there are video sites like YouTube.com where instead of word logs, people socially share their feelings in terms of video footage. As the web transforms from being an informational monologue to an interactive and socially enriching platform; social networking sites are becoming very popular. Successful online marketers cannot ignore their enormous ‘eyeball and community’ clout with a growing number of web visitors. Social media planning includes using these websites and portals for posting compelling online advertisements, articles and even videos to catch targeted prospects. Using social media is also effectively leveraging persuasive communication i.e. sharing insights, perspectives, opinions, and experiences opinions with bloggers, online video viewers, and visitors at wikis and message boards.
Social Media Optimization (SMO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still critical but it is beginning to yield some ground to sophisticated SMO techniques. As Web 2.0 makes the web more interactive and three dimensional, SMO is gaining in importance. This is because SMO caters to the web visitor ’s audio and visual senses, allowing them to easily control what they hear and see according to their individual convenience and localized preferences. This presents a great opportunity to online marketers to embed their marketing messages in numerous ways – like an educative video on dating by a vendor who wants to promote his online flowers and gifts store. Thus the business can actually participate and add value in the prospect ’s life challenges thereby presenting itself in a very compelling manner. SMO also breathes new life into corporate websites by creating a buzz on other social networking sites with a large number of links to corporate website landing pages. This is another way to boosting traffic and SEO rankings too. Thus SMO can be a successful component to an overall SEO strategy to effectively harness their synergies.
SMO Best Practices
Smart businesses can consistently leverage SMO for better results by following the following best practices:
Be Participative – Web prospects love participating in communities by posting conversation content on topics of self interest. Web marketers need to constantly encourage visitor participation on their web pages and blogs by posting compelling content and gently persuading them to favour their offerings through advice and addressing genuine concerns.
Converse instead of advertising – Advertising overkill is forcing online marketers to reach out to consumers through engaging web conversations. These appeal to consumers far more as they feel important and web conversations also reflect genuine concern for their needs and preferences on different web-forums. Responding to consumer complaints, ideas and recommendations in real time is a great brand building tactic.
Be Transparent – It is important to build mutual trust with online consumers by being participative and open. As consumers can easily compare and check in real-time, online marketers need to be 100% accurate and truthful – always. Honesty and sincerity is critical and no can win by pretending to be some-one else.
Belong to Communities – Social media thrive s on the feelings of community belongingness fostered by web conversations on mutual interest and niche-communications that are based on typical content and language styles. SMO fosters these social media portals as participative micro-communities that bond people with similar preferences and tastes to push helpful advice on various products and services.