Best Practices for Social Media Optimization
When we talk about online marketing, we’re talking about essential two things: visibility and awareness. Customers usually find business in one of three ways:
Search: By finding you on the first page of search results
Referral: You’re mentioned or recommend by another person or website
Direct: They already know about you and go looking for you
You’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO), the practice of optimizing website pages to help the website rank better in search results, helping you with the first way mentioned above. SMO or Social Media Optimization can be a part of SEO, but it can also help you with all three ways of reaching your customer.
What is Social Media Optimization?
SMO is optimizing your social media profiles and strategy to help you rank better in search and drive traffic to your blog or site. This includes your company’s reputation on social media profiles, as well we blog sites, forums, and any site that your company is linked to or mentioned socially.
Right now, a business cannot ignore the fact online visibility and customer interaction are crucial issues. Customers need a clear path to discover your business, learn more about your business, and become interested in your products and services.
Why is Social Media Optimization so Important?
While we describe SMO and SEO as different practices, that line of distinction is getting increasingly blurred. Google hasn’t directly stated that social media influences search engine rankings, however, a survey found that 50% of companies that aren’t succeeding in SEO aren’t integrating social media. SEO and SMO go hand in hand, creating the perfect balance and approach to online marketing
Popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have high authority in search results, often sitting at the top of search results. So it makes sense that the more content that is added to a company’s profile is on these social sites, the more likely the are to be seen and positioned at the top of search results.
What are Some Good SMO Practices?
If you’re looking to improve SMO for your business, it’s important to be strategic about it. SMO does not mean create every type of social media profiles just to be “cool”. Instead, it’s thinking about what social media platforms would be most beneficial for your business to share information about products/services and communicate to your audience.
Create a Strategy
First step is to create a social media strategy helps you lay the foundation for what you want to accomplish and who you would like to reach.
- Focus on setting up social sites that hold value to you
- Establish what type of content you would like to share
- Identify what business opportunities you have on social
- Identify what target audience you are trying to reach
Optimize Site & Profiles
Help customers and prospective customers find you by creating a consistent brand presence on your social profiles and website.
- Make sure username, profile photos, bio are consistent to your website.
- Fill out social profiles completely. There more complete it is, the more it’ll stand out.
- Add share buttons to your content; make it easier for users to reshare content
- Group and display links to social media accounts prominently on your website
Make Content Shareable
Content marketing is the heart and soul of social media. Without it, what would we be reading on our Facebook and Twitter profiles? You can’t be successful on social media without sharing quality content, and you can do this two ways on social media:
1. Curated content – shared content found from other sources
2. Original content – content written by you to purposely share on social media
Social content should incorporate a mix of both. Other things to keep in mind:
- Quality is better than quantity – useful, relevant content is what gets read and reshared.
- Optimize title tags for sharing – incorporating the right hashtags and keywords in your social post, headline, and body content can help that content find the right reader.
Use Images & Videos
The most successful way to ensure your content gets seen in social media is by adding image to that content.
- Add high quality images to posts whenever possible.
- Including a featured image to your blog post will ensure that an image is associated with that content, no matter where it’s shared.
Adhere to a Schedule
What’s the point of posting something fabulous if no one is there to see it? There’s an optimal posting time for every social media channel. Finding the right one depends on who your target audience is and what social site you’re using. According to Sprout Social, these are the most optimal times to post:
Facebook: 1-3 pm
Twitter: 12-6 pm
LinkedIn: 7-8 am; 5-6 pm
Pinterest: 8-11 pm
Instagram: 3-4 pm
Google+: 9-11 am
Track & Improve
The only way to improve your efforts and see where you’re going is to look at where you’ve been. Just like SEO, you’ll want to track your SMO with social media analytics. Shortened URLs (bit.ly) and UTM codes allow you to attribute website traffic to a specific social media campaign or post. You’ll be able to see which one of your social posts gets the most engagement from your audience. From there you’re able to make adjustments to your social media efforts and make drastic improvements to your SMO.