The Complete Guide To Social Media Optimization
There are so many terms added to our digital marketing glossary every day that is it difficult to keep track without being overwhelmed. The term that you should all be aware of if you want your social media strategy to succeed is SMO, which stands for Social Media Optimization or Search Marketing Optimization. This should not be confused with SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. Although they are two different processes treated separately, they should really go hand in hand complementing each other according to Search Engine Land, bringing more traffic to a website. But before we analyze SMO further, let’s define the two to clear out any ambiguities.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Is the process that helps optimise a website making it easier to find on Google and Bing Search with the use of the correct keywords, tags, content, images etc.
SMO (Social Media Optimisation)
According to webopedia, SMO is the process of increasing online awareness through using different social media channels, RSS feeds, blogs and videos.
5 Reasons Why You Should Optimise Your Social Media Channels
The ultimate goal of every website is to draw traffic and increase the business’ ROI. SMO goes beyond creating a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest account, and focuses on the effective use of social media by creating a plan and a strategy that will help improve a website’s reach and will bring the brand to the right audience.
- Creates Brand Awareness
Social media makes communication with your audience easy, direct, and quick, passing on a message with a click of a finger. When you are talking to a large audience you have to be consistent with your message, clear with your positioning and cohesive with your branding. Choose your tone of voice and have similar aesthetics and graphics throughout all your social media channels.
Fashion brands are a very good example to examine with regards to building brand awareness through social media. Looking at the international brand of Louis Vuitton, we see how important it is to have cohesive aesthetics and messaging through the different social media channels to avoid diluting the brand values to their audience. The same profile and cover photos are used for both Facebook and Twitter and similar content is posted on the more visual channels of Instagram and Pinterest. By following a strategy and being cohesive through your social media channels your audience knows what to expect from your brand, increasing their loyalty.
- Enhances Loyalty And Credibility
According to a report by Texas tech university people tend to be more loyal toward brands that have an engaging social media presence. If you think of your own online behavior, when interested in a brand or service you would immediately check the brand’s social media channels to see how they talk to their audience and how active they are. You would be more likely to Follow or Like a page if the brand has been posting regularly and has content that you could benefit from. As they say content is king and good content can help build a brands credibility.
- Improves Search Engine Marketing Leading To Increased Website Traffic
The correct use of hashtags, headlines, and images boosts the search results within the social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc). Similar to SEO, you have to optimise your social media posts using the right titles, hashtag and images to be discovered by your audience.
- Generating Leads And Direct Referrals
Using social media campaigns is a great way to generate leads for your sales team and increase interest in your brand. You can run paid advertising through your main social media channels asking people to sign up or learn more about your business.
- Attracts More Customers and Enquiries
Social media optimization and fresh content will automatically help to create a community that is interested and will encourage them to interact with your pages about any enquiries they might have.
5 Tips On How You Can Optimise Your Social Media Channels
Now that you know WHY it is important to use SMO you need to find out HOW to do it. If you are struggling with getting ROI then read the below steps to learn the most important tips that you need to follow in order to help your platforms perform better.
- Optimise Your Social Media Profiles
The first and most important part is to optimise your social media profiles. Setting up a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account is only the first step but there are so many more in making the most out of these profiles.
Facebook is the number one social media channel that your brand has to have a presence on as it is where your audience can be found. If your business hasn’t already gotten started with Facebook you can follow this guide and do so in a few simple steps. Taking this social media channel as an example, it is crucial to take the time required to optimize your page starting from your profile and cover photos. If you are a business use your logo as a profile photo and if you are a freelancer you could possibly use a headshot so people become more familiar with you. Treat your cover photo as your business’ shop front and try to use the video option which is available to showcase your hero products or explain what your services are. Take full advantage of the About us section that has been added and give as much information about your business as possible including hashtags to help in the search engine marketing.
(freelancer’s use of a Facebook page)
(brand’s use of a Facebook page)
This tip is stolen by SEO but it also applies to SMO. Researching your keywords simply means to be aware of what your audience is talking about so you can listen and create content. Twitter gives the option of the advanced keywords search where you can search for words that your audience is tweeting about and create appropriate content or offer solutions. If you are a travel agency you can search for beach holidays, sunny escapes and create tweets promoting your offers. You can also search for popular hashtags and see what would work best for your business.
(use Twitter Keyword search to find out what your audience is talking about)
The use of hashtags started on Twitter and it was a way for users to communicate on different topics. Through the years hashtags have evolved taking over all social media channels being the best way to build new conversations and generate exposure for brands. To create engaging hashtags that will help your brand be noticed you have to do your research, aim for trending topics, be specific and unique. Delve deeper by searching for hashtags according to locations to help you to get closer to your audience.
If you are a cafe in Dublin City centre it is better to use hashtags that will include your location such as #dublincoffee or #dublincoffeeshop, but if you are writing an article about coffee it is advised to use more generic hashtags such as #coffee #coffeeshop etc. It is also advised to create your own brand’s hashtag and use it for all your social media posts, thereby remaining consistent. Keep in mind that by including trending hashtags it will help your posts be seen by a much larger audience.
Instagram has made hashtag search even easier for brands by adding the number of posts under each hashtag showing you the popularity of each topic. See below examples of generic search of hashtags vs Geo-targeted use of hashtags.
- Optimise Your Content
This tip comes from SEO but it is also very applicable for SMO. Content is the most important part when it comes to social media marketing and in order to draw attention to your social media channels or website, you have to create high-quality content. The competition is extremely high and anything you create will have to add value to your audience, by inspiring and creating conversations.
Treat your social media post like you would when you are writing for your website and use headlines that will make people click to read more, or to watch your video etc. When you post on Facebook and Twitter alternate your headlines to make your feed more interesting and give a variety of posts for your readers to click on. Also some headlines may perform better than others so this is a way to test which performs better. Use images and videos to make your posts more interesting and engaging and be aware that you have to treat every platform in a different way. Eg. Be more informative on Facebook and Twitter and more visual on Instagram and Pinterest.
- Schedule Your Posts
All the above tips are very important to boost your platforms performance, but they can only deliver results when posted at the right time. It is pointless to be post a good quality article, with the most effective headline and engaging photos if your audience is not present at that time. Posting times can vary and each brand should find out when is the best time to post for their audience.
Facebook insights, Twitter and Instagram analytics provide information on the best posting times and it is advised to use them. However, the best way to check when is the best time to post is by simply posting at different times and examining the engagement. In this case, trial and error are allowed in order to find the posting times that work best for you and your business.
Some generic posting times that could work for one brand, will not work for another, but as a rule of thumb it is advised that on weekdays it is better to post when people commute to/from work ie. 8am-9am & 5,30pm – 6,30pm and after dinner time ie. 8.00pm. Posting timings are different for the weekends with mornings being a better time than the evenings.
What you could also do is to create a routine for your audience letting them know that you will be posting the same time every day and see how the posts will perform. To be consistent with your posts and timings you will have to become familiar with different social media tools, find out here what the world best marketers would recommend.
Kassiani Cheirogergou is a Social Media Specialist and Content Writer working with Design Wizard. She has over 8 years experience in Marketing Communications and Project Management working on online and offline marketing projects and is passionate about helping business to grow online. Design Wizard is an online graphic design tool that enables users to create and share brilliant visual content within minutes in a fun and easy way.