While the term “optimization” might seem like a buzzword that gets attached to virtually every type of web activity, there’s a good reason that it serves to draw attention from ManoByte and other social media strategists. Isn’t the ultimate goal for any business that’s using the internet to generate revenue (either directly or indirectly) to have that web presence perform at its optimal level? Just like search engine optimization can help your site to show up on the first page of Google, social graph optimization can help your social presence to show up in the feeds of your biggest fans and to funnel those fans (and their friends) back to your site where they become leads and ultimately customers.
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
What is the Social Graph?
First things first, the term “social graph” is one that’s been rolling around freely without being all that clear. While the social graph is certainly interconnected to the concept of social media, the two are not synonyms. Social media is a broader term that encompasses the different platforms that we use to connect socially (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, for instance, are all a part of the larger world of social media). The social graph is a distinct part of social media. It’s the concept of connection. Everyone has their own social graph because it’s the way that one person connects to another via social media.
For marketers, the social graph is where your message shows up and how your fans relate to one another. To optimize for the social graph, you have to make sure you have the best message possible and that it’s showing up at the right time and in the right place.
How is Social Graph Optimization Different from Social Media Optimization?
Social graph optimization and social media optimization are two terms that are often used interchangeably. In fact, there is still debate about whether or not a distinction between these two does or should exist. For the purposes of marketing executives it is important to understand that some strategists may use both terms to mean the same thing. For the purposes of this blog, social graph optimization means getting the best social content in front of the most relevant users while social media optimization is a term that encompasses that, but also goes beyond to include paid media, sharing plugins, and other social media topics.
How Can Marketers Optimize for the Social Graph?
Just search engine optimization drives users to a website by helping it rank highly on Google (or other search engines), social graph optimization drives people to a website with social content. This optimization can take a few different forms.
The first part of social graph optimization comes with content. Good content is always going to be key to optimization because it “sells itself,” so to speak. But because social media is indeed social, optimization also comes in the form interaction. Social graph optimization is about being a part of a conversation, but doing so in a way that isn’t forcing your content and messaging in where it doesn’t fit and isn’t want.
And we can’t forget analytics. Optimizing means being open to new ideas and to change. When analytics can show us that certain strategies are not working, we need to be nimble enough to change them and try a new direction. A social media strategy will never be “optimized” to the point that it can run itself. It needs to be constantly monitored so that it can bring in the best possible traffic.
Marketing executives in the traditional and social media marketing space should certainly familiarize themselves with the concept of social graph optimization. Not only because it’s a buzzword that at least one consultant is going to be throwing around regularly, but because being able to do it could mean major positive strides for your company in the social media realm.