With 10 percent of Internet visits and 25 percent of page views going to Facebook these days, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has emerged as more powerful than even Google.
What are the implications of this? For starters, it means you should worry a little bit less about search engine optimization (SEO) and a little bit more about social media optimization (SMO).
Sure, you can spend your days optimizing your website for Google search results until you are blue in the face, or until Google tweaks its algorithm again and you have to start all over.
You can read or hire search gurus for thousands of dollars to show you the “hidden” tricks for SEO.
Thing is, since they show everyone else, including your competition, those tricks aren’t so secret anymore. It’s like everybody trying to climb the same ladder, at the same time, to be the first on top.
For what? Lots of clicks? And does that bring business?
Just because you throw your kite up in a lot of wind, that doesn’t mean it will fly.
Social Media Optimization
Google’s problem is what Google is: a search engine. It’s not a reference tool, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.
Every day, millions of people are on these networks sharing what they like, and dislike, on a huge scale. Friends, colleagues, and family are sharing links, telling each other, “Look at this.”
Why can’t the photographs on your website be among these links?
While your competition is still trying to climb the SEO ladder only to fall off a few weeks later, you’d be much better off focusing on SMO — social media optimization.
I’m not talking about starting a Twitter account and tweeting about what you’re having for dinner. Besides your mom, no one cares. I’m not talking about simply launching a Facebook page about your photography, either.
No, what I’m talking about is becoming the fuel of social media. Generating the links that people want to share.
If You Move Them, They Will Share
Yes, there are established techniques for SMO. Blogging, commenting on other blogs, posting relevant status updates, adding social news and sharing buttons to your site, and on and on.
All of these tools can stir up the wind, but like SEO, they can’t make your kite fly.
No, your photography has to do that. Your photography has to shock people, inspire people, anger people, touch people. It has to move them.
And when you move them, they will share.