Social Media Optimization: 2021 Guide For Digital Marketers
In the world of digital marketing active social media presence is one of the pillars of success. All brands alike want a substantial social media following and a buzz around their product or service. However, it is not enough to simply be active and present on social media platforms. Social Media Optimization or SMO was created to take your social media profile one step closer to recognition and success.
What is Social Media Optimization (SMO)?
Social Media Optimization is the practice of using social media platforms for the purpose of promoting a product, increasing brand awareness, and growing an online presence. SMO is similar in essence to SEO in that the goal is to generate web traffic and increase the visibility of a brand. As a digital marketing strategy, SMO is also used to improve communication with customers and as a way to grow a company’s network.
SMO involves a process of social media analysis, where you have to figure out what online content performs well for your business and work out a strategy based on that. In order to do this you need to know exactly who your target audience is and be able to develop a social media strategy that will be ahead of your audience’s needs.
Social Media Optimization Strategies
Wondering how to optimize social media? Well, social media optimization strategy includes many aspects; it takes a comprehensive approach to develop a successful online presence for a brand. There are social media optimization techniques you should consider before you begin. Keep in mind that you will need to redefine your social media strategy and content for different platforms.
1. Conduct keyword research
Conducting keyword research for social media is slightly different than for other digital mediums. Social media content does not easily get indexed by web crawlers, which is why it’s a more subtle process. More often than not, keyword research for social media includes hashtags, and trending keywords and phrases.
Different social platforms have different keyword search systems. Take a look at our list of the main social platforms and their search algorithms to find the right fit for your keyword research strategy.
Facebook has a very sophisticated approach to keyword generation. As one of the biggest platforms for advertisers and content producers, Facebook allows its users to target their audiences based on many different criteria like behavioral patterns, online interests, demographics, etc. While it’s not a very traditional keyword research strategy in itself, it allows for precise targeting capability. You can find this Facebook feature in the ‘Targeting’ section.
Twitter has one of the best internal search algorithms, which makes it easier to find relevant content. Previously, Twitter hashtags were used to identify trending topics, but now you can enter any relevant keyword into their search bar and you will find all the relevant posts for that topic. Another very useful feature that Twitter has is that you can search directly for specific keywords, hashtags and phrases. All you have to do is use quotation marks in your search to find the exact match for your search inquiry.
Instagram is a platform made primarily for visuals, which is why keywords are not particularly relevant here. However, Instagram relies heavily on hashtags in terms of content discovery. Although Instagram hashtags recently have become a cliche and influencers try to avoid using them openly, they still function as a primary way to discover relevant content. While using many hashtags is usually frowned upon, using a small number of relevant hashtags for brand visibility is perfectly acceptable .
Pinterest is one of the only platforms that relies solely on user-curated content, meaning that Pinterest itself has little control over what content appears on their website. However, one feature that Pinterest has is the autocomplete function that will help you find relevant keywords and hashtags. Also, before you even enter your search query, Pinterest will provide you with a list of trending keywords and phrases. (sth ab trends.pinterest.com to mention)
YouTube’s search functionality is very much like Google’s in that it offers a ‘wildcard’ search capability, which is when you include an underscore in place of a missing word to find new keyword suggestions. If you use YouTube ads, you can use Google’s keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner to conduct keyword research for your YouTube channel.
Want to improve your visibility on YouTube? Use WizStudio to create optimized Youtube video tags to rank first.
Suggested Reading: Social Media Instagram vs Facebook For Business [Demographics, Ads, Engagement]
2. Create your social media optimization strategy
A good social media strategy is supposed to guide your actions and then let you know whether or not you are succeeding with this approach. Follow these steps to create your individual social media strategy:
- Analyze your audience. Consider things like age, location, average income, occupation, interests etc. Based on these descriptions, create your audience persona and tailor your marketing strategy for them.
- Perform competitive analysis. Now that does not mean stealing ideas from your competitors. But, you can gain valuable insights from the way your competitors interact with their audience and then make strategic decisions on your part. Use analytics tools to track the activity of your competitors.
- Build a strategy based on your findings. Once you’ve completed the first two steps, go ahead and make a detailed plan based on your findings. Create content for weeks ahead and utilize social media tools described below.
- Execute on that strategy. Set up your social media profiles and begin making content. Don’t procrastinate, better done than perfect!
3. Optimize your social media profiles
Optimize your social media profiles when setting them up. Optimizing your profile is one of the best ways to drive high-value users to your brand. Add links, write a convincing intro using relevant keywords, create branded cover images, and most importantly make it all cohesive. Your profile info is supposed to be uniform and state exactly what you brand is about.
4. Optimize your content
Your content is going to be the driving force for the success of your social media optimization campaign. Divide your content into two types: 1. Original content – branded content that is made specifically for your social media campaign; 2. Curated content – content that is shared from other sources. Consensually, marketers create social media strategies that are a mix of both. Determine the type of content that is most relevant for your audience by measuring engagement using social media analytics.
5. Optimize your headlines
Headlines are the face of your content. Well-written headlines will attract more audience to your content. There are three elements that make up an effective headline: 1. Valuable offer; 2. Keywords; 3. Incentive. After you finish writing your convincing headline, test it out with tools like PPC ads on Facebook, Linkedin, Google Adwords etc. If you use these tools, you will find that roughly 20% of the headlines that you write will do well. Dump the other 80% of marginal results and continue experimenting with the rest.
6. Use relevant visual content
Every social media platform nowadays needs good visual content. Some platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube only support visual content, others like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin use it to support the written content. Regardless, quality images and videos are key elements in your social media optimization. Try not to use stock images, and even if you use them, try to change their appearance slightly to make your content more individual and unique. Posting images on your social media platform gets people talking about you and sharing your content.
7. Use hashtags
Hashtags are a crucial part of social media optimization; it’s one of the most convenient ways of labeling, finding social media updates and making your content more discoverable.There are several types of hashtags you can use. :
- Localized hashtags. If you are aiming to optimize for local reach, consider using localized hashtags. Localized hashtags are area-specific hashtags such as #NewYorkStreetwear that allows potential customers in your area to discover your page by searching that hashtag.
- Niche specific hashtags. Niche hashtags are specific to the target audience you’re trying to reach. For example, if your business is aimed at selling fashion photography services, those will be your niche hashtags.
- Branded hashtags. Branded hashtags are hashtags that you and your customers use to showcase and tag your content on Instagram. Your branded hashtag could be anything from your brand name to something that has to do with your brand identity.
- Community hashtags. Community hashtags connect like-minded users around a specific subject. They’re a great way to connect with others, improve the searchability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your own community.
8. Optimize your posting schedule
Successful social media optimization experts don’t rely on chance when posting. Creating a localized schedule for your posts is one of the most important things in social media optimization. If you want to create an extensive reach and engagement, you need to create a strategy for posting time. Most posts on social media don’t have a long half-life, so it’s important that your post reaches ‘trending’ early on. Here’s a little data on the lifespan of social media posts:
- Facebook – 5-6 hours
- Instagram – 48 hours. Instagram Stories remain visible for 24 hours, although you can save some on your profile for longer.
- Pinterest – 90 days.
- Twitter – 15-20 minutes
9. Track and improve with social media optimization tools
Utilize the following SMO tools that are designed to improve the organization and delivery of content, including content scheduling, messaging, commenting etc:
- Search, social media, and audience research: Alexa, Sprout Social, Shield App
- Social media scheduling: Later, MeetEdgar, Buffer, Sprout Social
- Marketing automation: HubSpot, Salesforce, Market
- Social media analytics: Keyhole, AgoraPulse, Hootsuite
- Image creation: Canva, PicMonkey, Pixlr
10. Build your social media network
While many people consider this tangential, it’s important to grow your network and engage in your social media community in order to build your brand. Find people in your niche and start a conversation with them. The bigger your network is, the more people will be referring you and reposting your content, which will build your online credibility.
Why is SMO important for your business?
SMO is inherently connected to SEO in that the sole aim of both is to increase your web visibility and drive traffic to your online business. In essence, there are five main reasons you should optimize your social media.
- Web presence. With social media optimization you can ensure a strong online presence for your business and establish credibility for your brand.
- Increased traffic. SMO is a great way to generate traffic to your website. Social media allows you to reach customers and audiences worldwide without having to invest extra money.
- Wider reach. Quality social media optimization provides an opportunity to increase your niche reach. By using the right tools and techniques, you can position your brand to the customers on their own terms. Your customers will have a chance to reach you anywhere and everywhere.
- Lead generation. Social media is increasingly used to initiate consumer interest. The more commercialized social media becomes, the more opportunities will there be for marketers to create sales leads.
- Search engine ranking. Here comes the connection with SEO. The marketability of your social media is directly proportional to your search engine ranking. Search engines have started acquiring data from various social media platforms like Google and showing them on search results. How well you optimize your content on social media is now directly linked to your success on the web surface.
Social media optimization has now become an essential part of digital marketing, largely because of its intrinsic connection to SEO and web visibility. It takes a comprehensive approach to succeed in SMO, so use the techniques described above to create your unique social media optimization strategy.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.
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