Before you can put any of these rules to use, you may want to understand a little more about the differences between social media marketing and social media optimization.
SMM = Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is strategically using the big social sites to spread your brand name or drive traffic back to your web presence.
SMO = Social Media Optimization
Social Media Optimization is adding key elements to your websites or content that make them easy to spread across the big social sites.
Rohit Bhargava Developed Social Media Optimization Rules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
1. Increase your linkability
Linkability is the willingness of other websites or articles to link back to your site. One way to increase your natural Google listing is to increase how many authority sites link to you, so to increase your linkability with social media optimization is to make your site more informative and useful to others. You can do this in many ways; blog, white papers, press releases, keyword targeted articles, RSS feeds, etc. This is the most important step in Social Media Optimization and should be your first priority.
2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
The act of tagging is to bookmark the website to social bookmarking websites. For example, if you like the content or services provided at a website you tag it. This will show others that you approve of this site and they will check it out, making viral traffic. To include social media optimization tagging on your site, you can add tagging links such as Digg, Del.icio.us, Technorati, etc. Also, add the tagging links to other pages in your site (not just the homepage) and when visitors click the tag button make sure that there is a suggestion box to help your visitor list a relevant tag and notes.
3. Reward inbound links
As I mentioned before one way to increase your natural listing with Google using social media optimization is to get more back links. You can do this by rewarding people/websites that link to you (inbound links). Inbound links are links that send people to your site from somewhere else. One way to reward people for linking to your site is to have a “Recently Linked” that lists all of the websites that have linked to you.
4. Help your content travel
Social media optimization focuses on providing useful content to your market. When you publish content such as an article, video, or audio file you must help it reach as many people on the web as possible. You can do this by submitting to relevant high traffic websites. When the word gets out about your great content (no matter what format) you’ll receive backlinks to your site.
5. Encourage the mashup
To mash up is to use two websites content and mash them together. For example, YouTube makes it easy to mash their content (videos) onto your site. In addition, because it is so easy you have added a video to your site that has a YouTube logo on the video as well as a link back to you tube. So to encourage a mashup with social media optimization is to make it easy for other websites to use your content and reference it to drive traffic back to your site.
Jeremiah Owyang Developed Social Media Optimization Rules 6 and 7
6. Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you.
One thing all visitors appreciate is honesty. With social media optimization you should include links to other websites that will help your visitor reach their goal or find the information they want. Do this, even when it doesn’t benefit you. By linking to competitors or information not created by you, you reap the benefits of having the all inclusive information on a particular topic. In the end, more people will link to you because you have lumped all information (or links) on a topic on one location.
7. Reward helpful and valuable users
Valuable users are your best friends. A valuable user can be determined in many ways; they may send traffic to your site, add valuable content to your site, or assist visitors at your site. No matter what their doing, if it benefits you, your site, or your service you need to reward them. This could be by sending a personal message thanking them for their dedication. Other ways to reward your valuable users is to create reward systems, advertise for them or promote their efforts on your homepage.
Cameron Olthuis Developed Social Media Optimization Rules 8, 9, 10, and 11
With Social Media Optimization you can participate by joining on the conversation about your topic (or targeted keyword). Simply posting articles and sharing content isn’t going to keep the buzz going. You should continue to share information on other websites. This participation will share your knowledge with more people. One way to do this is to find people that are blogging on your topic and to give input on the conversation. Also, participate in forums or other social groups that are discussing your topic. Read comments on your articles, videos, and audios and respond to them.
9. Know how to target your audience
Social media marketing is about sharing content/information. Not everyone is interested in your topic, so be sure to do your marketing research and post your information and knowledge where it will be understood and appreciated.
10. Create content
Content is considered to be any form on information that benefits a visitor. Content can be a white paper, article, video, audio, widget, the list goes on. Your job is to find a piece of content that will spark interest in visitors. No matter what market you enter there is always a form of content that they will share with others. Find out what it is and give it to them. This will in turn have them coming back for more useful content. If this happens, then you know that your social media optimization is successful.
11. Be real
Internet users are searching the web for specific content. If you are providing content that links back to a website, be sure that the website is relevant. You will not be rewarded for coaxing a visitor to a site that has nothing to do with the content they just read (or watched depending on the type of content you provided).
Loren Baker developed Social Media Optimization Rules 12 and 13
12. Don’t forget your roots, be humble
It’s easy to let popularity get to your head. When you become the shining star in your market be sure to recognize those that helped you get to the front of the pack. (this ties into #7 a little)
13. Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh.
Any one on the internet knows how quickly things change. Keep up with new media content, new types of websites, and new interests in your market. By staying on top of new information you can maintain top rankings.
Lee Odden developed Social Media Optimization Rules 14, 15 and 16
14. Develop a Social Media Optimization strategy
Social Media serves multiple purposes. You need to identify what your purpose is and then publish content that will promote that purpose. Some purposes for Social Media Optimization include: branding, reputation, charity, increase traffic, build reputation, increase sales, credibility, etc. Make sure that as you develop content that you are publishing and creating with that purpose in mind.
15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely.
Of all the content available on the web only about 10% of people on the web are content creators. The other 90% are consumers and are willing to share your content. Make your content easy to consume and spread. Also be sure to create content that will have the most impact on your original purpose (which could be any of the following: branding, reputation, charity, increase traffic, build reputation, increase sales, credibility, etc).
16. Make Social Media Optimization – SMO part of your process and best practices.
We all know that there are specific Search engine optimization tactics that every website should include. Just as you include keywords in your title tags and keywords in your H1 tag, you should find ways to include social media optimization aspects into the building of your website. This can be small details like including social bookmark tags on your site or encouraging incoming links with the “recently Linked” list I covered in #3.
17. Don’t be afraid to let go of a message or idea and let others own it.
Finally, when you create a movement, spark and idea, or develop a new topic don’t be afraid to let others run with it. Collaboration is key. Others can improve upon your original idea and give you credit for the start. Be sure to give credit where it’s due.