Businesses and organizations make a mistake if they optimize their online content just for search engines, which are really about one-on-one findability. You should also optimize for social media, which is about shareability.
While important, search engine optimization (SEO) is essentially a pull mechanism. It requires individual searchers, each actively seeking to discover your content. Social media optimization (SMO), on the other hand, is a more expansive push system.
SMO drives an ever-widening circle of users to push interesting content to their friends and followers. This push is what really gets your content noticed. No push, no buzz. Or, as a Washington Post journalist recently asked in an Innovations blogpost, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one posts a video of it on Instagram, did it make a sound?”
Optimizing your content for social media means more than just adding Twitter, Facebook and +1 buttons to your web pages. The Psychology of Sharing, a fascinating study, identifies these six key actions:
- Connect people with each other, not just your brand
- Be trustworthy
- Keep it simple
- Use humor
- Be urgent
- Realize that sharing is just the beginning
And it is just the start. There are all kinds of other things to consider, too—posting strong images, building your online reputation, linking to other content and much more. It’s an unending process … just like everything else that’s important to what you do.