SMO is an acronym for "social media optimization," which basically is a business buzzword that refers to ways of optimizing online content for social media distribution.
SMO also is used as shorthand for how widely content is shared online, or the sheer variety and number of social media channels though which it is distributed. Sometimes it's referred to as social media SEO.
What is the Goal of SMO?
Since SMO has become a popular marketing buzzword, people use it to mean all kinds of things associated with the marketing of websites, services and products, but typically, the goal of SMO is to boost traffic and exposure through the use of social media. Perhaps the simplest way to describe SMO is to say that it refers to almost anything involving the smart use of social media.
There are many things people can do to websites and mobile content to make that them more likely to be shared through social media, of course, such as adding a Facebook Like button or an "email this" button to a web page. Those actions are example of SMO, as is anything that makes it easier for people to share content. These actions are considered SMO because they optimize content for social sharing.
How is SMO different from SEO?
SMO is related to SEO, an acronym meaning "search engine optimization" which in turn means optimizing online content to perform better in search results.
The two concepts (SMO and SEO) are similar because both involve optimizing online content so it's more likely to be seen by a larger number of people.
Website owners wanting search engines to find and index their sites more prominently have long referred to the practice of organizing and tweaking their sites to look better to search engines as SEO.
So not surprisingly, when social media became the rage in marketing, the phrase SMO arose to describe a similar concept for social media -- tweaking online content or a website to facilitate distribution with social media tools and services.
Today SMO and SEO are highly interrelated because search engines take into account how well any content performs in social media -- or how widely it is being shared -- as one of the many factors in the formulas determining placement in search results.
SMO Key IngredientsGood Content - As with SEO, high quality, good content is perhaps the most important factor in social media optimization. It's real simple--the better the content, the more likely it is to be shared.
Sharing Buttons - Social sharing buttons are particularly important tools for SMO, too. Placing buttons in spots where people are likely to click and share can sharply boost distribution of that content. And in the long run, the extra sharing can lead to better search engine rankings.
Engagement - Sparking conversation, dialogue, or any kind of engagement with your content is another excellent strategy for SMO. It could be as simple as inviting comment or presenting a poll. Whatever the method, getting people to respond to your comment has a viral effect.
Share Your Stuff - Sharing your own content widely in social media channels also is a key plank in any SMO strategy. The more channels you send your content to, the more likely it will be seen and shared by people who don't visit your website to see it there.
SMO Tools: Automate your Social Media Management
A ton of social media management tools exist to help people and companies optimize their content for social media, so these tools can be considered SMO tools.
Our guide to the top social dashboards lists eight of the best social management tools. Each can be helpful with SMO by widening your content distribution.
The eight tools include a vareity of dashboard programs that let people manage multiple social media accounts from one place, like Hootsuite, SocialFlow and various Twitter clients.