Will Social Media Optimization become mainstream?

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A couple of days ago I was asked the following question; What do you see as the main obstacles that Social Media Optimization needs to overcome in order to become a more mainstream marketing strategy? Social Media Optimization is still very much in its infancy. Although most of the concepts have been used for awhile, the phrase was just recently coined and through the community, the rules and concepts are just beginning to take shape.
I am not even sure that corporations fully understand and appreciate SEO yet and it’s been around for a good 10 years now. I think SMO will be different though, ‘social’ everything seems to be taking off right now at warp speed and the companies that don’t start participating will be left behind. The whole marketing ideology of corporations needs to change and it needs to happen quickly.
Here are a few of the obstacles that I came up with that SMO is facing.
1. User adoption of social media – Sure, MySpace and YouTube have hit the mainstream but social media as a whole is still unfamiliar to most people. Most marketers will follow the crowds and they aren’t yet adopting social media.
2. SMO is not yet a proven model – We need to see more examples that show SMO works, not only that, we need to show how it works and why.
3. Companies aren’t prepared for the feedback – The old way of marketing is to push a well crafted “message” onto people based on what the company thinks people should hear. It is a purely one way communication with all the control lying in the hands of big corporations. This needs to change, two way communications need to be enabled.
4. Companies need to be ready to let people have some level of control over their brands, products and messages – Are corporations ready to give people this type of control? What about some control over their products and services? Companies are not yet ready to create products with their customers.
5. Better tools and methods – Better tools need to be developed to help marketers reach these audiences, there also needs to be better analytics and tools developed to help them measure and track the activity.
Lately we have seen a number of examples of companies that have tried to embrace social media, but it is obvious they don’t quite get it. Look at what Facebook did the other day, it’s pretty obvious they don’t even get it, but they are learning from their mistakes. Instead of letting their users help shape the features they pushed them on people without fully understanding the implications. We need to find a way to teach these companies exactly how to participate. Dell is trying to but they keep messing up as well, and this just scares other companies away. GMC is another example of a company that doesn’t get it. When they tried with their consumer generated SUV commercials they got torn apart and it completely backfired on them. Don’t they know that a lot of people hate SUVs? And that these people are activist that will take action when thrown such an easy opportunity.
There are just some things that I could come up with, if you would like to contribute I encourage you to leave more ideas in the comments or blog about it on your own blog, we need to help companies better understand the power of social media.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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