What is Social Marketing?

Social Networking

Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) is all about the use of user-generated "web 2.0" web sites to create buzz and viral marketing for your business.

It used to be that the only reliable way to find information online was to use a search engine. No longer. With more than 60% of all online activity being spent on sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace it is important to create marketing approaches that leverage user communities and target your specific customer demographics.

A recent example of a wildly popular web 2.0 website is delicious.com (now owned by Yahoo). Websites like Delicious, Digg, and Furl allow users to share their personal favorites (bookmarks) with others. Users tag each bookmarked website with the keywords they feel are most applicable. When I search delicious for the "best italian food in new york" I am not seeing the results Google thinks is most relevant -- I am directly seeing what people like me "tagged" as the best.

Instead of using a search engine finding information for me, vistors can instead search tags that will display all websites bookmarked with that specific keyword or phrase. This human referrel is much more powerful than what any computer algorithm or formula can give us.

Another example of a "social networking" website is Technorati.com. Technorati indexes blogs based on the amount of incoming links those blogs have, as well as the tags associated with their posts.

MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are most popular social sites on the internet. They get over 100 million unique visitors every month and few businesses or website owners have thought to penetrate this incredible resource.

A final example is websites at the cutting edge of "rich media" - YouTube and BlogTalkRadio. These mega sites allow amateur and pro filmmakers and broadcasters to share their visions with the world and spread the word about what matters to them.

Few businesses realize it yet, but these media networks are potential goldmines stock full of future Speilbergs, Bloombergs, and Oprahs - all potential broadcasters of your marketing message.

How Will Social Networking Help My Site Traffic Grow?

60% of all time spent online is spent in a web 2.0 or social networking site. If you get your message onto these sites and get people talking about you - spreading the buzz - your site will get more traffic and convert more leads and sales. It's that simple and this is the cornerstone behind SMO.

How Do I Get Involved in Social Networking?

Working with social sites is similar to working with the media. Give them a good enough story, secret, tip, or resource that they can sink their teeth into and you’ll have an army of talkers spreading the word about you and your business.

And this translates into referrals, which convert into sales on an average of 667% better than cold leads (search engine results). So even if you reach less people through social networking, your conversions will be far higher.

At Agilade, we use all the current best practices for social media optimization:

Article and Blog Promotion

We manage several blogs and article directories for our clients. These websites contain content written solely to capture a visitor's interest and promote them to click a link to a client's website. This is called "link baiting" and is the foundational element of all social media optimzation.

For example, let's say you sell pet supplies -- pet beds, dog collars, cat food, etc. To promote your business we will write blog posts and articles that discuss a controversial “hot off the press” topic that pet lovers find either highly valuable as an information resource, or highly intriguing or emotionally stimulating. This content will be published on the most popular news, article, and social sites. We will promote it on various social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg, and comment on other topical and relevant blogs - who will then circulate the story and generate traffic back to your website.

Social Promotion

Particularly effective for clients who target teens, young adults, musicians, or other highly active social groups, we implement social promotion campaigns on networks like MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, and CraigsList to spread the word about your business. Even if your business does not target the “myspace crowd”, we can almost always devise a creative campaign to get the net buzzing.

How Does Social Networking Work With SEO?

As more and more internet users begin to use tags to find information (a tag is a keyword that a human associated with a website, vs. a keyword that a search engine attributes to a website), Search Marketing professionals cannot ignore the growing dominance of the social networks.

However, we view the partnership between social networks and search engines as an excellent and balanced marriage. Sure, social networking gets you in front of people who no longer use search engines in lieu of finding their information through referrals or bookmarks/tags.

But the added, and perhaps more exciting bonus, is that while you grow in popularity with social networks like Digg and MySpace, your search rankings will continue to increase as a result!

Your popularity signals Google that you are an authority in your market according to your human audience.

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