Social Media Optimization
If you want your website to be seen in today’s internet, you must have a strong presence on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr: these sites have centralized internet use over the past decade to an incredible degree. It doesn’t matter how great your site is or how compelling your content may be if nobody even knows it exists. In the old days, you might be able to get away with links from other sites, or buy some ads, but the modern approach is all about achieving and maintaining social media optimization (SMO).
How is this different from the older discipline of search engine optimization (SEO)? That strategy mostly consisted of tricks designed to appeal to the algorithms used by search engines to make your content appear more relevant or important. A focus on text, only sparing usage of images, creating many smaller pages of content to simulate a larger site, these are no longer the best strategies. The focus has shifted from the invisible and inhuman machinery that used to drive the web, but rather on the end user’s actual experience (Enge). If users aren’t enjoying using your site, then they won’t tell other people about it, and thus it will not gain any traction in the world of social media.
The rules of SMO laid out by Nick Burcher focus on making a site easy to use and also easy to share. The goal is to smooth out any roadblocks between a user engaging with your content, and then also sharing that content with others. He acknowledges that this will be a learning process, and may involve some trial and error. A good SMO strategy is a flexible one, willing to drop tactics that aren’t working, and continually experimenting with fresh ideas.
Burcher also notes that it is very important to engage with the audience on their own level, with two of his rules being: “Be humble” and “Be real”. A superior or detached tone on social media will only alienate your potential audience. Seeking out professionals who are fluent in the social language of your audience is essential if you want to promote engagement with your content.