Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of social media networks to manage and grow an organization’s message and online presence. As a digital marketing strategy, social media optimization can be used to increase awareness of new products and services, connect with customers, and mitigate potential damaging news.

For many years, search engine optimization (SEO) was the standard for digital marketing efforts. While social media optimization and search engine optimization have similar goals—to generate web traffic and increase awareness for a company’s website—search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a webpage to users of a web search engine, especially Google.

More recently, social media marketing has come to the fore, at times converging with SEO and in some instances replacing it as the most effective way to strengthen a brand, conduct lead generation, increase a company’s visibility in the online space, and connect to an audience. Various social media platforms can be used for digital marketing, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest.

Social media optimization often directs the public from these social media platforms to the company’s website, where more information can be provided. For example, a campaign to raise awareness about a new automobile on social media may direct the visitor to a company webpage that provides information about where local dealerships are located and how to schedule a test drive.