If you operate a website or blog, you have probably heard about the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Good SEO usually provides you with the best results online and gives you the best chance of gaining high places in the search engine results. Things are similar when you operate your social accounts. Good social media optimization (SMO) practices will give you your optimal results.
Social Media Optimization refers to all that you can do to enhance your social media presence and give you your best results. It begins with you setting goals and creating a social media plan. It then covers every aspect of tuning your social accounts, including paid social ads, up to the point where you analyze your social performance and make any necessary changes to improve future results.
You use search engine optimization to ensure as many relevant people as possible can view links to your website when they use the search engines. When you use social media optimization, you are trying to improve your social profiles and activity to reach as many members of your target audience as possible via social media. The two terms are inter-connected. Many of the techniques you use in SEO are also useful for SMO and vice versa. In both cases, you are trying to get the most out of your marketing expenditure.
7 Social Media Optimization Tips You Will Love:
Why Use Social Media Optimization?
Firms can use social media optimization as a boost to their online presence. Many firms treat social as being something they "should" do, without any thought as to why or how. This makes their social accounts haphazard, with an uncoordinated look and an irregular posting schedule. In some cases, firms set up social accounts and never use them. They sit there, slowly decaying over time with stale information, a snapshot of one moment in the firm's existence.
By using social media optimization, you are strategically connecting to your largest online audience. Why waste resources creating posts for the wrong people to see, or making posts when most of your audience is sleeping?
Social media optimization works with search engine optimization. Sure, SEO does not equate to SMO. But the two combine to ensure that you are doing all you can to attract the most relevant people to your online assets, whether they be your company website or your official social pages.
Remember that your customers (and potential clients) use the internet in a variety of ways nowadays. Things have changed in a relatively short time. Sure, you may have an excellent website that offers many things to people. But many of your clients don’t surf the net, searching through Google. They may only come online to spend some time on their preferred social sites. In some cases, they may use an app to consume their preferred content – perhaps watching videos on YouTube, catching up on funny posts on Facebook, or keeping up with their friends’ Instagram Stories. So you want to ensure that you appear on the same platforms as them and that you are using them well.
1. Plan and Optimize Your Social Strategy
You often hear managers complain about their firm's lack of social success. Many older managers, in particular, still haven’t got their heads around how social media works. They struggle to see how it fits in with their core business. They know that they are supposed to be on social, and often try for a while, but don’t achieve the tangible results that they would love.
One of the most significant reasons for this is a lack of planning. Like most aspects of business, you need to plan social strategy and customize it to the specific company.
You need to think of social as being merely another channel for marketing, albeit a highly powerful one if handled well. Most firms run separate marketing campaigns for their products. Hopefully, you will have always set some goals for these campaigns. Social is no different. You need to begin your social campaigns with clear, distinct goals.
The essence of a good social strategy is one where you spend your time making relevant social posts on the same networks that your target customers spend their time.
The main steps that you will have to go through when you plan and optimize your social strategy are:
- Set SMART goals for your social strategy as a whole, perhaps yearly
- Research how your target audience uses social media. For example, if you are in the fashion sector, your target customers will likely use Instagram and possibly Pinterest. However, if you are in the financial industry, your customers are more likely to spend time on Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Determine which social media metrics are essential to you. These will be those metrics that will tell you most about how you are tracking towards reaching your goals.
- Establish what your competitors are doing on social media – look at what works for them, and what perhaps doesn’t.
- Determine the types of content that are likely to attract your target audience
- Remember the "social" part of social media – establish the best way you can communicate with your social followers
2. Perfect Your Profile
In some ways, you can look at your social accounts as being marketing assets. Like most assets, if they are treated well and handled carefully, they can increase in value. If they are neglected and mistreated, they lose value and depreciate away to a point where they become worthless. Your social profiles are central to this. A well-written and pleasantly designed profile can do wonders for any marketing campaign. A profile lacking in compelling copy, with typos, and poor design, is like a traveling salesman turning up in a broken-down wreck of a used car.
I’m sure that you know the importance of using SEO to optimize the copy on your website. The words you choose to use on your site convey your message, and if you target specific keywords, you can rank highly for them in Google and the other search engines. With social media optimization on your profile, you can achieve the same success with your social accounts.
You may be tempted to skip over your social profiles. You might wonder who bothers to read them. However, just as the About page is one of the first pages of your website that people visit, your social profiles are the first point of call for many visitors to your social accounts. Your social profiles are the foundation on which you build all the rest of your social marketing.
Remember that we are talking about business pages here. There are a few differences from how you would construct your personal social profiles (which are just as important from a personal branding point of view).
Specific Tips for Perfecting Your Profile
For a start, make sure that your username is your company name (or as close as you can get to it if your preferred name is already taken). You might need to add a descriptive word to it if you have a relatively common term as your business name.
If your business has distinctly separate divisions, each known by a different name, then you probably want to set up separate social pages for each one.
You should use your company logo as your profile pic. Leave personal pictures for personal profiles, and avoid other images entirely.
Describe what your business does, succinctly, and clearly. Most social networks allow you to include a link back to your website so that you can drive more traffic. Make this a trackable link, so you know where that traffic has come from. You might choose to change this link at times – particularly on Instagram, where you can't include links in regular posts. It is usually best to link to a specific landing page, rather than a generic link to your home page.
Most importantly, fill in every section of your profile. Many of the social sites allow you to add a lot of information about your business. Don't waste this opportunity. Many people will never go to your website. Think of the social profiles as a "free" opportunity to market your business. You want a 100% complete profile on each social network you use.
3. Integrate Social into Your Website
You want to make it as easy as possible to share your content online. This is particularly so if you operate a blog or a website where you regularly add relevant, exciting content.
The easiest way to do this is to integrate social sharing buttons into your website. That way, people can share anything that takes their interest on your site with the click of a button.
4. Optimize Your Content
Sharing content is the heart of social media. Some firms forget about this. They set up social profiles and sit back, not bothering to do anything else. Unsurprisingly, they then complain about their lack of success with social marketing.
You will want to share two types of content:
- Original content related to your business
- Curated content – quality material you find on the internet that will interest your followers
You will often make original content as part of specific marketing campaigns. You may also use it to promote your other online content, e.g., your blog posts, podcasts, or new YouTube videos. You might create original content in the form of graphics or videos to share facts about your business, or to promote an upcoming sale, for example.
It is essential to remember that you only want to share content that is of value to your followers. And the curated content you share needs to follow this philosophy. Don’t just retweet random links, unless there is a clear synergy between what you share and your audience. Ideally, you should add a comment to the curated content you share.
Although it depends somewhat on your target audience, most people prefer posts that include pictures or videos. Wherever possible, you should include an image as part of every post you make. We have previously written our Ultimate Guide to the Best Image Sizes for Social Media.
5. Post at the Best Times
There is little point in making your posts when the bulk of your target audience is sleeping. You need to strategically post at the best times to give you the eyeballs of your followers.
Different audiences use social media in varying ways; however, so you can't just go by general statistics. By all means, start by taking notice of the most common popular posting times, but adapt these times to suit your audience.
CoSchedule has compiled the results from 25 studies to come up with a guide to The Best Times to Post on Social Media. However, they recognize the differences between firms by splitting their results across industries. You should be prepared to experiment until you find the schedule that best pleases your followers.
6. Remember the “Social” in Social Media
A problem with social media is that it can tie up a considerable amount of your time. But you must devote some time to being social on these channels. You are never going to succeed if you use social media as merely a broadcasting channel.
You need to participate regularly in online conversations with your target audience.
There are simple ways you can achieve this without taking up too much of your busy schedule. Make a point of looking at and liking posts shared by your followers. Do it with purpose, though. Don't like things for the sake of it. Reward high-quality posts with a like or a share.
Write genuine comments on interesting and relevant posts, too. But don’t restrict yourself to the “nice post" type of garbage comment. Make sure that what you write is thoughtful and adds to the conversation.
By commenting on the posts of others in your niche, you are gradually building up a reputation as a thought leader, and even perhaps an influencer.
You should also consider joining relevant groups, particularly on Facebook or LinkedIn. Again you can use these to establish yourself as a thought leader – not as a way to try and sell a product. Remember, that social is a place for subtle selling, not in-your-face direct sales.
7. Keep a Close Eye on Your Social Analytics
You should look at your social media marketing as being a type of Science. Your goals are effectively a hypothesis. You then carry out actions to reach those goals. However, you need to look at the results of your efforts. How successful have you been at meeting your goals?
At the time you set your goals, you need to establish a metric you can use to measure your success. In some cases, you can use analytics software provided by the social networks, such as Instagram Insights or Twitter Analytics. Many of the social media marketing platforms offer more detailed analytics about your social posting.
Some of your goals will relate to success on your website. For example, you may use social posts to drive traffic to your website, possibly even trying to boost sales there. In these cases, you should use UTM codes to track people’s movements.