Social Media Optimization is still very much in its infancy. Although most of the concepts have been used for a while, the phrase was just recently coined and through the community, the rules and concepts are just beginning to take shape.
Here are a few of the obstacles that I came up with that SMO is facing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.