The Life of Social Media Optimization

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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)

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