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The Life of Social Media Optimization

Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz

As of Monday, August 21st, 2006 … Social Media Optimization (SMO) is now a term in Wikipedia.  From it’s humble beginning as a blog post less than two weeks ago, it has been tough to keep up with all the activity from many smart folks that have added to the original 5 rules and taken the dialogue about SMO into the real world in panel discussions and industry events.  Along the way, it was perhaps inevitable that the spread of SMO would become a case study of the power of social media to take an idea and give it a life of its own.  For example, in the time that I have been tracking this idea, here are a few of the interesting signs of its life in social media:

  1. 53 337 tags on del.icio.us (to the original post)
  2. 8 13 diggs on Digg.com (plus more for other posts on the subject)
  3. 37 2,876 linked blog posts according to Technorati (to the original post)
  4. 139 165 promotions on New PR (to the original post)
  5. 18 25 votes on Netscape (to 16 Rules post on toprank)
  6. 6 marks on Marktd (to 16 Rules post on toprank)
  7. New page added to The New PR Wiki
  8. New Wikipedia article on "Social Media Optimization"
  9. Corresponding update to Wikipedia page on "SMO"

These results show a strong life for the idea of SMO, but how good are these numbers?  For anyone marketing with social media, optimization alone can set you up to become more visible – but the next challenge is bound to be how to measure it.  If this were a marketing campaign, how would I judge success?  Is something like a Social Media Score even possible?  Just as SEO or SEM have evolved their success metrics and sophistication, SMO will need to have a separate criteria to help marketer’s claim success.  This is the next frontier I hope to see some dialogue about on the New PR Wiki page.  Getting SMO into Wikipedia is a great first step.  Now SMO is living and breathing.  As personal media continues to rise in relevance and influence – the need for SMO and related services will only become more apparent.  In time I believe we will see SMO find its place in the overall marketing mix as a core expertise.

Figures updated (03/15/07)

10 thoughts on “The Life of Social Media Optimization”

  1. Rohit,

    Good follow-post on the measuring issue. This is the same issue related to Word of Mouth: how do you define success, how do you measure it, and finally how do you *forcast* it.

    I’d say under the SMO scheme, WoM would be a related idea, though SMO is more broad and robust term for something that also covers WoM. I think we can look at how WoM is being measured and try to apply that to SMO.

    Off to another tangent and more of a general throught for everyone, I was wondering where the heck to put SMO and Word-of-Mouth in the scheme of SEO. Its not longer about what component is part of which service, but almost the need to use the good-old venn-diagram.

    If you check out one of my early mindmaps for SEO, its a bit confusing but shows how many factors SEO is dependent on and related to. I think I’ll take a stab at doing a mindmap for SMO, as well.

    Reply
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  3. Good to see the term acknowledged, Rohit. Watch out though. A group of people recently thought they had included Enterprise 2.0 in Wikipedia, until some editor decided it wasn’t “notable”.

    Reply
  4. Niall – good word of caution. Just like with SEO, the job is never done because of the high potential for your efforts to be undone by someone with a differing view or alternative perspective. Hopefully the masters of Wikipedia feel it has enough merit to survive …

    Reply
  5. Rohit, the beauty of SMO is that much of the work is measurable, as you bulleted out with your metrics from Digg, delicious, etc. However, I am intrigued by the notion of a Social Media Score that would aggregate these into one numerical value that can be benchmarked on a regular basis. PR folks have been doing that with traditional media placements for years so I think it’s only a matter of time until we can agree on standards. I look forward to seeing where the conversation threads lead!

    Reply
  6. Tony,

    I’m working on trying to answer Rohit’s posting on my own blog. But my thoughts for now are that while SMO would be somewhat measurable (see SocialMeter.com), it’ll be difficult to perform the degree of analytics and ROI analysis as done with PPC (since the channel is very limited compared to the seemingly limitless SMO).

    Part of the lure of online marketing is the ability to track end to end. And, I can see how some might be hesitant at SMO and word-of-mouth because it seems less measurable than PPC, emarketing etc such as ROI and forecasting the success of the campaign.

    I’m still mulling it over. Check out my blog sometime this week for a more thought-out posting.

    Reply

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Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

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