Companies that don’t get to grips with social media in 2011 are at risk of being left behind.Just as the IT world thinks the Internet has settled into a stable existence something new comes along to change that. Search engines thought they had it all but then from out of nowhere the next generation of techies decided social media is what is really important.
Social media is made up of the following platforms; blogs, video sharing sites (e.g. YouTube) and social networking sites (needless to say Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and so on).
SMO is what is known as social media optimisation, it simply means to increase the exposure of a website, individual, organisation or just about anything through the social media platforms mentioned above.
The world just basically got a whole lot smaller over the last five years. To be a successful business you needed to network in your local neighborhood, town, industry or however big your ecosystem was. Now it is possible to network with the whole world (or with whoever is logged on and wired in). The users of social media are interested in everything, so you might find an expert in carp fishing from Sweden is great friends with a art gallery owner from New York. As long as you add interesting content and funny comments you can build relationships with anyone.
The more friends, followers, subscribers and users you get the more your brand is spread over the internet.
How can you get involved in this Web revolution in 2011?
You could just employ an SMO team to make this happen for you, but that’s nothing more than a waste of money. Social media is for everyone, it’s designed for the common man, it just takes a little bit of your time each day. Just follow these steps.
- buy a BlackBerry. It is by far the best phone to receive all your emails in one place, it will work with Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any of those friending and following opportunities. The iPhone is a really cool phone, but it’s too distracting and you’ll end up completing angry birds before you check your emails.
- create a Facebook and a Twitter account, it is worth considering joining a specialist social network in the field related to your business. Once you have created an account you can search for like minded groups and individuals to connect with.
A great way to encourage people to connect with you is to make a nice profile. In the profile state clearly and elegantly what it is you do, don’t be too serious or over the top, keep it light hearted, funny and original. The picture is important too, take some time to think about this, it has to be striking but not off putting.
- make sure your accounts are tied to a website or blog of your own creation. This website or blog must be easily shared by adding share buttons to every page. This means that visitors to the site can share it with their friends on their own social network accounts.
Having visitors share your site with their friends is of course very good for your website traffic but it is also very important to think about this in another way. Nowadays people build up their Twitter and Facebook profiles to have thousands of friends and followers, you can now use the social networks to redirect traffic to your website rather than using the website to redirect to the social networks.
- every time you update the blog you should share this on your social network accounts. If you have a website you can share any changes on your social network accounts or simply use your Twitter account as a micro-blog, letting the world know about what your business is up to.
- always be on the lookout for new friends and followers. If you meet people off line remember to ask if they have social network accounts.
- maintain your social network accounts by being a regular user (this means everyday). If people can see that new information is coming from you then they will be more inclined to keep checking your profile. It is impossible to just create an account and expect it to gather followers without any input, the social networks need love and attention.
Remember it’s ok to share lots of different things on your account it does not always have to be related to your business. If you think something is cool and interesting, just share it and you’ll be surprised at how many people pick up on it.
- try to gain the attention of some of the big players on the scene. This can only be done by adding original and cool content that has people watching. If you try to follow or befriend these people, they will only respond if you are original in some way.
- watch out for spam it is likely that you will get many friend and follow request from spammers, it looks very unprofessional if you are friends with these people. The most common type of spam friend will be related to sex, you might get someone called ‘HotChix’ with a profile picture of a very attractive girl, I can guarantee this is spam.
The world of SMO is constantly changing it is important to be aware of this to keep ahead of the game.