Social Media Optimization (SMO) is the practice of building and maintaining social network profiles and activity in ways that are most likely to have a positive effect on one’s search engine rankings, increase brand awareness, drive traffic to web sites, and generate sales and leads. SMO starts with optimized profiles.
Public social network profiles tend to rank easily in search so they obviously are indexed by the search engines. At the most fundamental level, then, a well-optimized profile has the person’s or brand’s name in the manner in which people are most likely to search for that person or brand. Next in importance is including keywords for which one wants to be found in the description or biography part of the profile.
Finally, if the network allows links in the profile, the person or brand should link to their main properties on the web. Note: Links on some social profiles may be automatically tagged to as “NoFollow” for search engines. That means the search engines will not pass on any “link juice” from the social network to the linked-to site. However, these links can still be valuable for driving referral traffic. There is growing evidence that search engines are experimenting with “co-citation,” where a relevant mention or link to a brand or other entity may carry some authority, even if there is no link or the link is no-followed.
How does Search Engine Optimization differ from Social Media Optimization?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMO actually overlap in the area of strategy to positively affect search rankings. SMO seeks to do that more indirectly through building influence in social networks that will send positive signals about one’s site and brand to the search engines. As described above, SMO also has concerns that go beyond search into brand identity and direct traffic generation.
SEO is entirely focused on those things which seem to have the most direct effect on search rankings. It seeks to optimize both on-site (making it easy for search engines to crawl and index the site and identify what it is about) and off-site (building authoritative links from other sites to the targeted site).
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Tags: #smtraining, search engine optimization, seo, SMO, social media optimization, social profiles
This post is included as part of a series related to social media training efforts underway at Cisco. I sat down with Mark Traphagen and Phil Buckley of Virante to ask a few specific questions around social media and how social media interacts with search engine marketing and optimization. This is the first of two parts for this interview.
What impact does Social Media have on Search Engines?
The first search engines were little more than human-fed directories. As the web took off, trying to human index it became unworkable, for obvious reasons. By far the most obvious and dramatic effect is seen in the growing personalization of search results. Since at least 2007, Google results have been influenced more and more by the searcher’s location, past search history, and how she interacts with web sites, among other factors. With Google’s introduction of Search Plus Your World in early 2011, social network influence came front and center.
Now by default if a searcher is logged in to Google while searching, her results are heavily influenced by Google contacts, including Gmail contacts and people circled on Google+. Bing has begun a similar effort incorporating a user’s Facebook friends. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, revolutionized web search with their invention of the PageRank algorithm, which counts links between sites as “votes” and weighs those votes by relative authority. When the social web emerged, Google and other search engines realized that social interactions online could provide a new source of signals, a way to diversify the signal set and augment or confirm the signals being sent by links. Since then, they have been slowly increasing the amount of effect that social signals have on search results.
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Tags: #smtraining, ciscosmt, search engine optimization, Social Media Strategy
Oh the joys of pinning new ideas, trends, videos, and so much more on Pinterest! I’ll admit it…I have a little obsession, racking up thousands of pins between professional and personal Pinterest accounts.
Use Pinterest best practices to create more meaningful conversations and increase followers.
Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, Pinterest has its own culture and communication style. After countless hours of reading, pinning, and repinning throughout the past year, I’ve recorded some Pinterest best practices and etiquette tips to share with you.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Streamline content (Some Pinterest accounts have a board for every topic, but only have a few pins. Make it interesting for followers by providing broader range board topics that they can follow rather than segmenting topics too specifically. And try not to create empty boards until you have items to post to them.)
- Leverage social channels (When appropriate, share your pins with Twitter and/or Facebook communities as well. It’s a great way to expand your reach and the conversation.)
- Use keywords (One of the main features of Pinterest is the ability to search keywords by pins, pinners, or boards. Make sure to take advantage of this feature by using keywords in the descriptions as we do for other social media channels.)
- Understand policies (Pinterest stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding siting sources, etc. Take the time to understand Pinterest’s policies as well as your company’s guidelines (if using it on behalf of the brand) to protect yourself.)
- Joining group boards (It’s flattering to receive invitations to join group boards. However, before clicking the tempting “accept” button, evaluate how many pins you would like to receive from those boards. Getting inundated with pins, from a certain topic each day, may have an adverse effect on your participation!)
- Share information (Vary the type and format of content you pin to boards. While we all like infographics, they can get a little old on Pinterest if that’s the only thing that’s pinned. Mix it up with videos, case studies, reports, SlideShare presentations (if for business), articles, blog posts, and other types of content. I like to use the 70% new content/30% repins rule of thumb.)
And here are some etiquette tips to keep followers interested and to attract new ones:
- Site sources (Always include the source, especially for items that have copyrights, etc. If the source is on Pinterest, use the @ format to link to the person/organization.)
- Include a description (Insert a description, with keywords, to help followers understand the item more clearly, leading to more repins.)
- Acknowledge comments (I find that 2-way exchanges are still a newer trend on Pinterest versus other social media channels. Since participants are still getting into this feature, it’s important to respond to posted comments. It will go a long way with followers and we can learn from each other!)
- Pace pins (Space out the number and frequency of pins so that followers do not feel bombarded all at one time. By pacing the pin posts over time, it will also give you the opportunity to share new content without having to do a lot of research work ahead of time. And lastly, try not to duplicate pins. It gets confusing for followers.)
- Maximize boards (Pinterest is dynamic and social. Leverage it for sharing a variety of information and use Instagram or Flickr for photo postings instead.)
- Reciprocate information-sharing (Monitor followers and how the content you share is repinned. If you find there are certain followers that consistently repin your content, try repinning their content in reciprocation.)
- Follow others (The same principles from other social media channels apply to Pinterest. We do not need to follow everyone that follows us. Check on the type of content the new follower pins and evaluate if the content matches your needs and what your other followers are interested in too.)
Lastly, if you are prepping items for Pinterest, here are a few details to consider:
- Images: Use images in blog posts or other communications to make it easier on Pinterest users to post.
- Pin Features: Include pinning capabilities as part of your “share” social media icons on websites, emails, and more.
- Captions: Incorporate a short, but descriptive caption for each photo used to brand information more clearly.
Did the details above “pinpoint” the best practices you were thinking of as well? (Sorry, just had to play on that word!) Do you have other tips you are using as well? I’m interested in reading your insights and learning about the different ways you are using Pinterest too!
And in the meantime, if you are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program. Take short on-demand courses or sign up for customized one-on-one team training sessions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: #smtraining, bookmarking, Cisco, education, information-sharing, learning, Pinterest, social, social learning, social media, social media strategies, social networking, training
Here we are…just into the third week of 2013 and questions of how we will use social media in more strategic ways, or measure more effectively, or take our efforts to the next level are already heating up. Goals, aspirations, expectations, responsibilities, commitments…the list goes on. Is your head spinning yet?
While it may seem overwhelming, indeed these are important questions to ask ourselves as social media becomes even more integrated into the business structure and expands its value even further. While its easy to see the value social media can have for our businesses, brands, and even personal reputations, getting everyone who will be participating in the social stream up-to-speed on policies, best practices, and integrated strategies, can be the biggest challenge!
It helps to take a quick assessment of where we are currently with social media and then build the proper goals, efforts, monitoring, and measurement strategies from there. Here is a quick checklist of questions to ask ourselves:
- Does your organization have a social media policy in place and are all employees aware of it?
- Are your social media efforts integrated into the overall business or is it used for specific purposes?
- Can anyone participate in social media within the organization or is it the responsibility of select roles?
- How does your organization monitor social streams? And how are responses handled?
- Does your organization have an established measurement strategy? How are benchmarks created and what’s measured?
- Are members of management involved in the social streams?
- Do you feel your organization is maximizing the use of social media or do you feel there are areas of improvement?
These are just a sampling of questions to ask ourselves as gear up for the year. And though many of these questions are applicable to different types of organizations, the truth is that each organization’s social media needs, structure, and efforts are unique…not to mention their employees’ social media skill sets vary across the spectrum. Some organizations have an established footing in social media while others are in the ramp up phase.
To make these questions easier to answer and to help provide further social media insights, we would like to offer a new training program, open to Cisco customers. Whether organizations are new to social media or have established strategies, this new program offers the opportunity to:
- Become more proficient in social media
- Empower team members to use social media more effectively
- Receive guidance around developing internal training, policies, listening centers, and more
- Meet directly with Cisco social media subject matter experts
- Get an inside view of Cisco’s social media best practices
Here is a quick snapshot of the complimentary program offering:
Does this sound like a program that could benefit your organization? If so, we invite you to join us in the social conversation. Here is a link to more Cisco Social Media Training Program details. For those that are interested in getting started with customized one-on-one team training sessions, send an email to email@example.com.
I look forward to hearing your feedback to this post and getting the opportunity to work with you through this program!
Tags: #smtraining, Cisco, education, learning, social, social learning, social media, social media strategies, social networking, training
It’s been a whirlwind week for the Cisco Social Media Business Group. We completed a 2-month, internal core course series, that included over 30 introductory to advanced level offerings for employees. And we held our first @CiscoSocial #smtraining Twitter chat with @petra1400, @christyjpark, and myself (@elhoust) just yesterday! We appreciate everyone’s participation and insights!
Building on our initial training blog post, Twitter chat framing, and 13 tips and tricks post, here are some of the interesting key takeaways. For those that would like to access the #smtraining Twitter chat transcript, here is a handy link.
@CiscoSocial #smtraining Twitter Chat Key Takeaways Read More »
Tags: #smtraining, Cisco, education, social, social learning, social media, social media strategies, social networking, training, Twitter chat