Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of social media networks to manage and grow an organization’s message and online presence. As a digital marketing strategy, social media optimization can be used to increase awareness of new products and services, connect with customers, and mitigate potential damaging news.
For many years, search engine optimization (SEO) was the standard for digital marketing efforts. While social media optimization and search engine optimization have similar goals—to generate web traffic and increase awareness for a company’s website—search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a webpage to users of a web search engine, especially Google.
More recently, social media marketing has come to the fore, at times converging with SEO and in some instances replacing it as the most effective way to strengthen a brand, conduct lead generation, increase a company’s visibility in the online space, and connect to an audience. Various social media platforms can be used for digital marketing, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok.
Social media optimization often directs the public from these social media platforms to the company’s website, where more information can be provided. For example, a campaign to raise awareness about a new automobile on social media may direct the visitor to a company webpage that provides information about where local dealerships are located and how to schedule a test drive.
Messages on social media platforms can be tailored so that they have a greater impact on specific groups of individuals. Marketers using social media can customize their content based on demographic and geographic profiles. For example, a soft drink maker may post a message about how cold and refreshing a beverage is to internet users in hot climates. For their audience in cold climates, they might tell users that drinking their beverage will evoke the sensation of warm, summery days.
Companies using multiple social media platforms may use internet-based tools designed to improve the organization and delivery of their content. These tools allow an employee tasked with creating social media content to schedule content across multiple platforms at the same time, as well as respond to any engagements on the posts including comments or messages from the audience. Some popular social media management tools are Loomly, Agorapulse, PromoRepublic, Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social.
Social media platforms allow users to share content on the internet almost instantaneously. Because of this, many companies try to create content that users will pass along to their friends and connections. This strategy, called viral marketing, attempts to achieve a broader reach by getting engaged users of social media platforms to share content rather than relying on users to find the content on their own.