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What is Social Media Optimization (SMO)?

While the term Social Media Optimization (SMO) is still inconspicuous, it is exercised by companies daily through Twitter, Facebook and other major social networks via social media commentary (businesses dialoguing with their fans and followers).  Coined by Rohit Bhargava, a founding member of the social media strategy team at Ogilvy & Mather, effective social media commentary is normally dressed with a link to the company’s site along with relevant keywords and/or hashtags.


Rohit Bhargava … creating of the term Social Media Optimization


 At one time, SMO was forecasted to eventually over shadow the effectiveness of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is still the major component that many companies use to differentiate their business from their competitors within search engines. SEO professionals and their clients consistently create, research and drive unique keyword phrases to set their clients apart from the next business, but what if that isn’t enough? What if your main competitor is planted in the number one spot while you flip flop from keyword to keyword only to remain in the second, third or fourth spot?

B Culture Media recently wrote an article titled, “SEO vs. Social Media – Which is More Important?” Each of these digital marketing tools were analyzed to see which one more effectively brings more traffic to your website and ultimately increase the loyal following of a product or service. The conclusion was that even though SMO is important, it is obviously an extension of SEO and can’t stand without it. However, this doesn’t lessen the significance of using SMO. Millions of people worldwide use smartphones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers to access various social networking platforms (via apps) to get the latest information on products, events and services. People want short, concise information and don’t always have time to go to a business’s website to discover what they offer.

While SMO is the implementation of relevant keyword phrases while social networking, Twitter and Instagram member’s use of hashtags is also a major form of SMO. Twitter and Instagram give their members the ability to search by hashtag which are considered trending topics. Websites like What the Trend let you know what hashtags are being used the most during a particular day and allow the public to determine why the popular hashtags are being used so much.

Many companies are creating hashtags to assist in the branding of their company, product, service or event. Here at B Culture Media, we often close out our tweets with #BCultureMedia or #BCM to increase our visibility within Twitter. When Digital Atlanta hosted their annual conference in 2011, they promoted it with #DigATL and encouraged attendees to use the hashtag when attending the conference’s different forums. Some companies offer special discounts for their customers who tweet the specific hashtag that is tied to whatever the company is promoting. Celebrities like Tyrese have gone as far as wearing a shirt with their Twitter address to a major award ceremony to increase their Twitter fan base.



Tyrese at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards

Social media optimization is not the back bone of online optimization but rather an extension of it. The popularity of social media allows businesses another avenue to engage with their customers while SMO gives their marketing efforts more direction. It also helps a business reach those customers that may not be fans or followers as of yet but shows the potential customers that the company offers what the potential customers are looking for. SMO-less conversation gets lost in the multi-dialogue jungle of this social speed- networking game.

By Bianca M. Bailey @ B Culture Media

A company’s participation in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media has grown to be a huge priority in this digital era of marketing. However, is having the ability to be found by potential and current customers on the Internet more important than being social with potential and current customers through such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Unfortunately, they are both measured on the same scale while one is much heavier than the other. Eventhough it’s lighter, the value of the other’s reach can not be denied.

Millions of people frequent Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but search engines are the gurus of information and Google is the Dalai Lama. SEO is the lifeline of relevancy for everything a company does on the Internet, even social media. Unlike a consumer who just posts what they feel on their Facebook or Twitter account, a company must be very strategic in how they word the “low on sales, more on socializing tone” posts on their social media account. The business has to make sure they include keyword phrases that relate to the search engines and customers. This SEO rich content about the company and its products/services need to be filled with keyword phrases that include the business location (city or community it is available in) and product/service.

It appears that SEO is the egg and social media is the bird. Social media accounts are another attempt by a business at SEO achievement. SEO being this shell that all online content must incubate in with the hope that it will be birthed into a bird that will soar high in the search engine results (unfortunately, there are many social media campaigns with a short lifespan). The eagle-eyed social media campaigns will see their exposure and ROI increase from their not-so obvious inclusion of relevant keyword phrases within their new product/service, discounts and event posts.

SEO vs. social media … it is an unfair fight. You can’t have a strong social media campaign without considering the presence and strength of SEO techniques within it.

Written by Bianca M. Bailey at B Culture Media

Foursquare is a social networking website that is location-based. Account holders can “check-in” when they are at a certain restaurant, club, movie theater, hotel and other locations.

Foursquare owner, Dennis Crowley, recently reported that his social media website is experiencing tremendous growth. Crowley was named as one of the “40 under 40”: Business’s hottest rising stars in 2010 by Fortune Magazine. As a business owner within the hospitality industry, it is important to monopolized off of Foursquare and this is how you can do it.

Foursquare’s users download a map application to their phones so the user’s can announce (check-in) their current location. Their friends can track where they are at the time. This will either encourage their friends to come meet up with them at these locations or visit the businesses at another time. This will help your hospitality-focused business discover the demographics of your customers.

Users of Foursquare can also leave comments about their experiences at a business. Since Foursquare is tied to Facebook and Twitter, these comments can echo across those social networking websites as well. When a Foursquare user frequents a place, they can reach “Mayor” status. Businesses can monopolized off of this by providing the Mayors with recognition within their business and give them special discounts. Hopefully your current and potential customers will follow the leader and compete to become the next “Mayor”.

Encourage your staff to “check-in” when they begin their work shift. This way they can post the day’s specials and encourage their friends (who will hopefully encourage their friends) to come and enjoy your products/services.

The prediction is that the more offers that businesses make available to Foursquare users, the more popular this social networking website will be. The creators of Foursquare are growing a rewards system so users will qualify for special offers from the businesses they frequent. Tap into this exciting social media platform and don’t fall behind. Foursquare is still young, so be one of the first “Mayors” within your industry to experience a tremendous increase in revenue from using this free social media tool.

Written by Bianca M. Bailey at B Culture Media

A hotel’s goal has always been to get customers into their sheets. Fortunately, social media has been a relatable tool that’s being used to organically achieve this goal. Social media gives you the opportunity to form a one-on-one relationship with your current and potential customers.

Social media has been the leading force in marketing various products and services because it provides up-to-date information that a consumer can use to make instantaneous buying decisions via their desktop computers, laptops, iPads, e-notebooks and smart phones.

People are tweeting and posting throughout the day and the faster you can slide exciting news about your hotel in between those posts and tweets, the better. On Facebook alone, there are 750 million active users and over 50 percent of them log in everyday and host at least 130 friends on their page. Twitter has 100 million active users and around 50 percent of those log in daily. These stats show that social media seems to be the third arm of most people, so with the right social media marketing approach your sheets will be filled in no time.

Some prominent hotels have found clever ways to leverage social media to keep it more “social” and less of a sales pitch. For example, the MGM Grand started a “Confessions Campaign” on Twitter where they asked their followers to tweet their sins which stimulated a livestream of people tweeting their sins. Other people could re-tweet which sins were forgivable or unforgivable. After cruising through the sins, the sin that was judged to be the best won a free night at the MGM Grand. Rewarding your customers for “liking” or “following” you is always a plus.

Social media optimizing is a key way to reaching potential customers outside of the SM bubble. Search engines are attracted to social media pages connected to businesses. Good keyword usage in your social media business profiles can also establish you as an expert in the hotel industry because you will come up higher in the search results.

When hotels find a comfy home in social media, they relate more to the increasingly digital savvy customers they are wanting to fill their sheets.

Written by Bianca M. Bailey at B Culture Media

Yes, social media has made us all rock stars in our own right (some are more Courtney Love than Oprah) but for authentic celebrities – Twitter is considered the information highway for knowing your favorite celebrity’s every move. We can probably go as far as saying social media has launched a lot of socialites and reality show faces into official celebrity status.

We are long gone from the days of wondering what our favorite celebrities are buying, eating, wearing, endorsing, where they are traveling and when they will release their next song. Social media is a powerful commercialized hammer that some celebrities have wisely wielded to secure the nail in the foundation of a fruitful relationship with their fans. Successful social media celebrities have done this by staying relatable to their fans. Whether it is posting information that make their followers and fans burst into uncontrollable laughter after reading, cry with empathy or eager to partake in a product they are endorsing because they genuinely feel the celebrity likes the product. Jason Mraz, singer/song writer, once tweeted, “Tried on some jeans today. Farted in some. Shhhh, don’t tell.” Amanda Bynes, actress, once tweeted about her dog dying, “Sad Day….Little Angel is in Heaven now. RIP I Love You.” Liz Hurley has been known for tweeting about Estee Lauder. She has been a spokesmodel for the cosmetic company for years.

Some celebrities have unconsciously used social media to put their popularity six feet under. As a celebrity, their lives are plastered all over the tabloids coupled with having to bat off swarms of paparazzi. Celebrities are often tangled in stories they can not control while social media is their time of truth and relevance. However, some celebrities choose over endorse products or overly displaying their consistent self-decay over setting the record straight. Of course train-wreck celebrities are always digital eye candy but in the instance of Charlie Sheen, it is obvious that the popularity of wreckless behavior eventually wears thin and will make their followers want to dethrone them. Relevant celebrities reign.

Written by Bianca M. Bailey at B Culture Media

 

First it was reality television that could make a plain Jane or Joe a super star overnight, now social media has given everyone, from the meek to actual celebrities, a louder voice. Thanks to the following league of extraordinary gentlemen, social media has revolutionized the way we relate to one another.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is a social media guru who started Facebook in 2004 while attending Harvard University. He then branched Facebook out to other Ivy League schools. Zuckerberg was way too cool for the prestigious Harvard University and dropped out to grow Facebook. Let’s just say it wasn’t a bad move considering his company worth is in the billions. Facebook has over 750 million users world wide with over 50 percent of the users on this popular social media site daily.

Tweeting is defined as your 140 maximum character count statement made on the social media giant – Twitter. Even though it was created by Jack Dorsey in 2006, Dick Costolo is now the CEO. Costolo was once the COO of Twitter and before then, he was a co-founder of Feedburner which was bought out by Google. Another interesting fact about the head of tweeting, he actually dabbled in theater while at the University of Michigan.

Dennis Crowley originally co-founded Dodgeball in 2000. It was bought out in 2005 by Google and shut down in 2009. Crowley’s successful follow up, Foursquare, has over 3.7 million users after being released to the public only a couple of years ago. This location-based social media site has its users “check-in” where they are hanging out at. Creepy? Maybe. Growing popularity? Definitely. Never-the-less, this Syracuse University and New York University graduate was named one of the "40 under 40": Business’s hottest rising stars in 2010 by Fortune Magazine.

YouTube, video-sharing social media website, was founded by Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim and Steve Chen in 2005. These three social media musketeers met while working for Paypal (Hurley designed one of the Paypal logos which landed him a job there). After breaking records with YouTube from 2005 to 2006, they sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion. Hurley was the CEO of YouTube until October 2010. The CEO seat was then filled by Salar Kamangar, who was the 9th employee to join Google, with Hurley currently as an advisor. Before becoming CEO of YouTube, Kamangar was Vice President of Google’s Web Applications.

The new kid on the interactive block is Google+. Even though it is the offspring of the Zeus of search engines (Google), it is still trying to find friends to play with on the social media playground where the cool kids, Facebook, Twitter and now Foursquare, are dominating. Larry Page is the CEO of Google and co-founded the algorithm giant with Sergery Brin in 1998. Page, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Stanford University, has monopolized the world wide web with software that fills most of your personal and business online needs. The creation of Google+ is an attempt to fulfill your social media needs as well.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, joined the professionals-to-professionals social media platform in 2008. With 16 years of experience which includes being the former Executive VP at Yahoo!’s Network division, an executive at Residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, Weiner has been leaving a blazing trail of growing revenue at every major company he heads. LinkedIn has recently upgraded to giving account holders the ability to apply for jobs through this social media site (it isn’t widespread as of yet).

These social media moguls continue to make life so convenient for us online. Whether it’s sharing stories, music or videos online, social media has left no stone of digital activity unturned … or so we think.

Written by Bianca M. Bailey at B Culture Media

 

 If your Atlanta business has been a wall flower at the social media party that’s been booming for the past 5 years, it is time to learn the latest social marketing dance moves ASAP. From Facebook, Twitter and YouTube usage, many of Atlanta’s most influential companies are currently having the time of their lives on the social media dance floor and rocking out large profits by building relationships with their potential and current customers. This is all done by hiring a social media professional to tweet and post up-to-date information and videos on their events, products and services. This has improved their customers’ experience tremendously by making the company more relatable.

Customer loyalty is the stepping stone to positive word-of-mouth. Social media has revolutionized this by giving consumers the ability to see who their friends and colleagues are “liking” on Facebook, “following” on Twitter or “subscribing to” on YouTube effortlessly.

Social media is a staple in the lives of most people around the world which makes it highly addictive – the more friends, followers and subscribers you have the better. And of course everyone must know what businesses you like. This makes it really important for businesses to provide up-to-date information on the new products and services being launched as well as pop-up special appearances and events that are happening.

Once you open a business or fan page on Facebook, you can invite your clients to your events by creating an “Event” followed by sending it to your customers’ inboxes. Your customers can then comment before, during and after the event. You can also post articles about your company on your page and leave extensive information on your products or services by using the “Notes” section where your customers can also leave their comments.

For free, individuals and businesses can open an account on these social media websites. It is important for companies to have regularly managed and monitored accounts with various social media outlets because their customers may have a Facebook page but not a Twitter or the opposite.

So let a social media professional help you get your Atlanta business off the wall and work it into the “cool kid” status of social media by Facebooking, tweeting and posting instructional videos or exciting commercials of relevant and fun content that will enhance your end-users’ experience.

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Written by Bianca M. Bailey at B Culture Media

(Source: facebook.com)

By Nikki Stephens

Strategy Assistant

B Culture Media

When it comes to friends, the saying goes, “Some are silver and others are gold. Make new friends, but keep the old.” Well this isn’t the case when it comes to Twitter. A year after launching its new version, Twitter is finally getting rid of the old version. 

Tweeters have had the option to keep the old version on their dashboard in the past, but Twitter sent out several warnings last week letting everyone know that the old version will no longer be available and every user will be switched over to the new one. 

"If you’re currently using Old Twitter, we want to let you know that you’ll be upgraded to New Twitter this week. twitter.com/newtwitter," says the company in a tweet last Tuesday night. 

In the new design, you will find @mentions, retweets, searches and lists just above your timeline. On the right, you see features you’re already accustomed to: who you follow, who follows you, favorites and Trending Topics. Thanks to partnerships with various photo and video uploading sites, you can now see embedded content directly on Twitter. Something that was only a dream on Old Twitter. With the old version, clicking on a person’s profile meant navigating away from the current page you were on. Now you will be able to see a mini profile that provides you with quick access to account information, the user’s bio and recent Tweets. Another upgrade to the site is the ability to discover related content. Depending on the content of the Tweet, you my see @replies, other Tweets by that user, a map or some other information. 

We all know that change can be scary, but unlike other social networking sites, Twitter has had the new version up for “preview” for a year. This allowed you “to switch back and forth, so you [had] time to grow accustomed to the way things work[ed],” twitter.com/newtwitter states.