I’m sure you’ve heard of SEO before, but have you heard of SMO?
SMO stands for Social Media Optimization and it is the process of optimizing your website for social media.
When you post a website link on a social media network, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, the social network pulls some information from the link and displays a preview for the users who see it.
This makes the social network a richer experience, by giving the users a more visually interesting preview of the web page instead of just the URL.
What many people aren’t aware of is that the social media networks allow website owners to choose what photo and information they want to show up in this preview. You can optimize your website by putting special SMO meta tags in the head area of your website code to tell the social networks what photo, description, etc. to use. In this way, you can optimize the information that is shown when a link to your site is shared.
Social Media Optimization allows you to control your message and the way your links are being shared. If you share a link to your own website on Facebook, you can always edit the way the preview looks. But when other people share links to your website on Facebook, the only way for you to decide how their link previews will look is to use Social Media Optimization.
SMO is especially important if someone shares a link to your site and doesn’t include their own comments. An optimized preview on social media will give people a good idea of what the link is about, and entice them to click through.
Links with visuals are more likely to be clicked on. Therefore, taking advantage of SMO can help drive more traffic to your website.
There are several ways to include social media optimization on your website. You can look up the documentation for every social network and figure out how to code it in your website yourself. Or, a simpler way to do it is just install a WordPress plugin.
My recommendation is the Yoast SEO plugin. This one of the most popular SEO and SMO plugins so you may even have this on your site already for SEO purposes.
Install and activate the Yoast plugin and then go to the “Social” section.
You can see there are 3 tabs: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Under the Facebook tab, checking the box that says “Add Open Graph meta data” will add some SMO tags. Even though the tab is labeled Facebook, many social networks use Open Graph as well, so by checking this box, you are also adding SMO tags that work with other networks, like Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Twitter is a bit more complicated. On Twitter, SMO comes in the form of providing information for Twitter cards. Twitter cards are a tweet that can be expanded to display more information and sometimes even interactive media.
Below, you can see what an optimized web page looks like when the Twitter card is expanded. Users can see a nice preview of the website without even having to leave Twitter.
Twitter has a lot of other forms of Twitter Cards, including photo, photo gallery, video, and more. You can visit Twitter’s website to find out the different type of cards and how to use them on your site.
When setting up your Twitter SMO, you will have to go to the Twitter card validator and paste in the URL of one of your blog posts. Then fill out the form to get Twitter to whitelist your domain so they will approve all future Twitter cards.
Lastly, go to the Google+ tab and check the box to add the Google+ specific data and enter your Google+ page URL if you have one.
Congrats! You’ve now set up Social Media Optimization on your WordPress blog. If you want to get more specific with what meta data shows up on the social networks, you can even edit each post’s SMO tags individually from the post edit page in the WordPress admin area.
From now on when people share links to your website, the link preview will look a lot nicer and entice more people to click through. It only takes a few minutes to set this up, but having your blog optimized for Social Media will go a long way to making you look more professional and bringing in more traffic.