Rand started by provide an overview of the benefits of SMO: visibility, branding, link love, community engagement and influencing traditional media. He also addressed the perception that SMO is often seen as spam, yet SEO itself is responsible for driving significant traffic to the social media Web sites. His tips included respecting the community, building and maintaining a consistent and robust profile (or brand) and engage in the community by commenting, contributing and sharing regularly. Rand’s favorite social media sites include: Magnolia, Ning, 43 Things, Newsvine, wikiHow, Frappr, Yahoo 360, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Flickr and Furl among others.
Neil Patel with Advantage Consulting Services (ACS) took a much more candid approach. I enjoy when novice speakers with tons of experience share their secret sauce with the audience. Patel was enthusiastic and entertaining as well as informative. He focused his presentation primarily on Digg and StumbleUpon, providing examples of successes. SMO best practices, according to Patel, include: add tons of friends, participate regularly, optimize titles & descriptions, gain top user status and submit in a timely manner. Don’t include: blatant self-promotion, posting biased information, paying for votes or breaking community rules or spamming.
Andy Hagans with Text Link Ads rounded out the panel with a case study on Network Security Journal. He stressed the importance of a catchy title, in that it is the single most important factor of SMO. If it makes a good magazine cover title, it will work well for SMO. The content should be focused, pretty and “lifehacker good.” Hagans also recommended promoting aggressively in a short timeframe and linking out generously. His favorite sites include Digg, netscape, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Delicious. SMO junkies should also remember to reach out to relevant bloggers to generate link bait. Overall, the presenters were informative due to their specific and candid recommendations. Bravo!