The Internet is thriving with interactive communities that are more socially connected than ever. Social media optimization, or also known as SMO, is not just about helping you grow your company’s online reputation and presence on social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. It is also about leveraging these social media sites to reach more potential customers, boost your brand awareness, and drive traffic. The end goal is to increase sales, and social media optimization can help you do this in the most cost-effective way.
What is Social Media Optimization?
Social media optimization (SMO) is the process of creating and enhancing your social media plan so that you are able to get measurable results.
Social media optimization can benefit your business in more than one way. It can increase your online presence and make your brand more known. Not just that, it can also help you generate more qualified leads and improve your sales numbers.
Optimizing your social media pages makes it easy for others to trust you and get in front of your target audience. Because your goal as a business is not just to get mentioned on social media, but also get recommended or referred by others.
Why Social Media Optimization Is Important
Social media optimization is important for anyone that wants to tap into the power of social media marketing. Having a solid social media plan is extremely important if you want to build a relationship with your target audience.
Given below are a few ways it helps your business:
1. Build a Strong Web Presence
Creating a strong online presence or authority is crucial for any brand that wants to be known and trusted. With SMO, your business can build a viable web presence while helping you establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of your target audience. It gives your brand the needed visibility while educating people about the nature of your business.
2. Increases Your Reach
In order to increase your customer base and get more business, it is crucial for your business to find and connect to your niche audience. Social media is a great tool to establish a relationship with your niche audience without compromising on their preferences or likes/dislikes.
People have access to social media on the go. This makes it easy for them to connect with you through their mobile device regardless of their location.
3. Drive More Relevant Traffic
Traffic generation is an integral component of internet marketing. It doesn’t matter what stage your business is on, if you don’t have the right amount of traffic coming in, you will not see any favorable results.
SMO helps you generate relevant traffic to your website without burning a hole in your wallet. The biggest advantage being, you can use social media channels to reach out to customers on a global level. There are zero geographical limitations. And you don’t have to make a huge financial investment to do so.
4. Generate Better Leads
Generating high quality leads can help your business in more than one way. While most businesses are using social media marketing campaigns to build a stronger brand and get the word out about their product, some of them are quietly leveraging it to gather targeted leads. Regardless of your lead generation goals, by tapping into the right social media channel, you can take your lead generation campaign to the next level.
Common Myths about Social Media Optimization
There is no doubt that social media optimization is a powerful method for businesses that want to market their products and services. However, there are some misconceptions about the application of social media marketing and the results that it can generate.
Let’s look into three common myths about social media optimization before moving forward.
1. Social Media is Free of Cost
It is a known fact that setting up an account with a major social media network such as Facebook or Instagram doesn’t cost you a penny. However, that doesn’t mean social media marketing and optimization is free. Why? Because you have to give time to make social media work for you.
Your time investment goes into researching your audience, creating the right type of content, putting in consistent effort and optimizing your marketing campaign. And since time is equal to money, effective social media optimization is going to cost you. How much? It depends on what you want to achieve from it.
2. All Social Media Platforms Are Equal
As a business, you need to make sure that you have a presence on the right social media platforms. While it is okay to claim your business name on every major social network out there, it is important that you find out what social media platform is going to work specifically for your business.
For example, if you are a B2B business, you may benefit more by marketing to LinkedIn users rather than Facebook. You have to consider your audience and if the social media network can help you reach out to it. To make things easier and more efficient, try to focus on two to three social media platforms that go with your business and marketing goals.
3. Great Content Leads to Big Audience
It is not uncommon for a business using content marketing along with social media marketing to solely focus on creating top notch content and nothing more. What it fails to understand is creating great content for your social media channels is only one half of the equation.
The other half or the next step is to promote this content on a consistent basis so that it reaches the right audience. You have to at least create the needed momentum or the initial push so that your social media followers can take it forward.
Make Content More Shareable
A few years ago, when social media platforms were not as popular as they are today, every social media marketer was concerned about how many users they were able to reach out to. Back then, the success of social media marketing depended on the “reach” factor. The more the reach, the better.
However, times have changed. As more and more people joined the social media bandwagon, reach became less important. Now, the most important metric that you can measure as a social media marketer is engagement.
Effectively communicating with your followers and engaging them with the right content should be the top priority of every social media marketer. For example, a study conducted by Buffer found that Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. Why? Because they’re engaging.
Here’s how you can make your content more engaging, so it is shared more.
Focus on Your Target Market
Getting more shares for your social media content is all about understanding your target audience and giving them what they’re looking for. Because when your prospective customers find content that is relevant to them and fulfills their need, they are more likely to share your content.
Start focusing on creating content that can educate and inspire your target audience. Get into their shoes and try to understand the kind of content they want to consume. Once you are sure about it, the next step is to create high quality content that you can use to reach out to a bigger segment of your audience.
Leverage Video Content
If you look around the social media arena, you’ll find that most of the users are happy and comfortable sharing multimedia content. Even if you look at it from a consumer point of view, you will find many social media users viewing social content on their mobile devices.
And speaking of multimedia content, based on the latest Hubspot report, 54% of users prefer to watch video content from the brands they are actively following. So it only makes sense to create more videos for your posts. Say, if you are posting twice a day on your profile, one of these posts should be a video.
This is why you need to leverage the opportunity to incorporate video in your content strategy. Do make sure the video content you create is short, to the point and engaging in every sense of the word.
Entertain and Educate
Sales and social media do not go together in the traditional sense. Which is why you need to focus on entertaining and educating your audience instead of directly selling your product or service.
Your content gets shared more widely when it manages to inform and entertain at the same time. Your aim should be to give your readers a complete, fulfilling experience that will stay with them.
Keep the selling part for later, for now work on giving your audience a good time with your content.
Creating shareable content should be on the top of your list if you want higher audience engagement. Period.
How Do You Optimize Social Media Marketing?
1. Be More Social on Social Media
Being social is the first step to finding success with social media marketing and optimization. While there is nothing wrong in focusing on the marketing side of things, it should not come at the expense of being active on social media.
In order to effectively optimize your social media, you need to understand the social media landscape by being a part of it. In other words, you need to participate in every possible way to make sure that you are on the right track.
Once you create a social media profile on a particular social network, don’t stop there. Spend some time following others, visiting their profiles, commenting on their content, etc. Networking is all about connecting with others by reaching out to them and starting new relationships.
Here are three simple ways to be more social:
When it comes to liking others’ posts, do so with a genuine purpose. Like content that deserves to be liked. Don’t limit yourself to only those who you are trying to connect with. The reason why liking works is because when you like someone’s content, they are more likely to return your favor by interacting with you on your profile. Or they could go ahead and actually initiate a relationship with you.
Comment on Posts
Social media is a great place to share your opinions and express your thoughts with people who share similar interests. By commenting on the right content and connecting with the right people, you show your target audience that you care about the issues they care about. When you comment on content by others in your niche, you not only grow your network, but also stay ahead of others who are not participating.
Tap into Niche Social Networking Groups
One of the benefits of social networking is that you are able to connect with like-minded individuals by joining relevant groups. When you become a part of groups that go with your interest, formulating better relationships gets easy. You don’t have to be very active in a group, but it always helps when you post good content and contribute to it.
Last but not the least, try to tap into these groups to expand your immediate network and create connections with influencers who can help you with your marketing. Remember, the more active you are on a regular basis, the better results you will see.
2. Add Social Media Share Buttons
Social media has changed how people share information online. Today, anyone can share anything with a click of a button. This is why you are missing out if you don’t have social media share buttons on your website.
When one of your visitors finds some useful information on your web pages or blog, they should have an option to easily share content with their social media followers and friends. By making it simple to pass on content to others, the chance of getting relevant traffic and exposure goes up.
Let’s look into a few benefits of adding social media share buttons to your website:
Thanks to social media, people who understand each other’s point and value each other’s opinion have been able to come under one roof. It helps such people connect with each other on a higher level.
People usually follow or befriend other people on social media based on how much they trust or know them. So when someone finds their friends or colleagues sharing a particular piece of content on their page or profile, they automatically trust their recommendation. They feel more positive about the nature of the content and think it is worth checking out.
Boost Post Exposure
When you publish content online you are always looking out for new people to consume it. The moment someone shares your content with their social media following, your content is seen by a new set of users. You get to expose new audiences to your posts, which improves the chances of getting them on board as subscribers, prospects or customers.
However, copying a URL, logging into your social media account, pasting and sharing it with your followers is a cumbersome process. Social media buttons on the other hand make it easy for people to share a link to an article, a resource or a website.
Social proof is not a new marketing concept. Human beings are wired to trust and show interest in things that have been approved by others. So, if a large group of people has shown interest in a piece of content by reading and sharing it with others on social media, the likelihood of more people doing the same increases.
Social share buttons usually show the specific number of people that have shared a piece of content. While there isn’t much “social proof” to show when your content has only a few shares, the results are great when it has been shared by a large number of people. When your website visitors see that the content has been shared far and wide, it gives them the needed validation or proof.
3. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
One of the easiest things you can do as a social media marketer to increase your reach is to optimize your social media profiles.
Use Branded Cover Photos
While having a regular cover photo on your page is completely acceptable, as a business you would want your background photo to at least have your company logo on it. It not only helps in branding but also makes sure your company looks more professional. Your aim should be to make a great first impression on anyone who likes or follows your page.
Link to Other Social Media Profiles
If you already have brand loyalists or people who love your brand following you on one social media platform, then why not get them to follow you on other platforms as well?
For instance, if you’ve just signed up for Instagram, you can inform your Facebook followers to check out your profile. However, the problem with this approach is your post may not reach everybody.
This is why it makes sense to add links to your other social media platforms within your profile so that people can easily find them. Social networks such as Pinterest and Facebook let you link out other social media profiles prominently.
Link to Your Main Website
Your social media profiles can have a direct impact on the traffic you generate to your main website. So make sure you link to it from every social media platform that you are on. This not only lets you position your brand better but also makes it easy for your followers to understand which if your profile pages are official.
Start by listing your site URL in the “about” section of your social media profile. Also, try to verify your profile to make it look more authentic and real.
Fill Out Every Profile Field
An empty or incomplete profile is not a professional sign. It is important that you fill all the sections of your profile with accurate information and add a relevant, high quality description that gives a clear idea about your company.
This step is integral for improving your brand association with your business goals, topics, etc. You also make it easy for followers to trust you and improve their social experience in the process.
Related Post: 13 Instagram Marketing Tips that Get Real-Word Results
Use Search Keywords
Choosing and using the right keywords in your website’s content is a well-known SEO and blogging practice. But don’t limit yourself to it. Go ahead and find out your primary SEO keywords so that you can weave them within your profile.
Add them everywhere you can – right from the headlines to links to descriptions. You can also move a step ahead and add these keywords to the captions of images that you share.
4. Optimize Your Social Media Content
As a business, one of your top priorities is to seek new audiences and find prospects that would be interested in your products or services. Besides helping you solidify your relationship with your existing customers, your content should also help you connect with people who aren’t familiar with your brand.
Your social media content is no different than the content on your website. Which means it can not only get shared on the web through websites and blogs, but can also rank high for relevant keywords in the search engines. So optimizing your social content Google and other search engines makes complete sense. Here are two ways to do so:
Use Keyword Driven Content
In order to gain more visibility in the search engines and get targeted traffic, make sure your content is optimized for the right keywords. In other words, your social media content should be designed from ground up to rank well in the search engine result pages.
Publish Social Posts Worthy of Backlinks
Gone are the days when social media content was limited to one platform. Now you can embed social media posts everywhere. You’ll find them being used in articles, blogs, ebooks, etc.
While you are already putting in the effort to create great social media content, try to make it worthy of backlinks. Make the content valuable so that professionals from within your niche link to it. By naturally gaining backlinks to your social profiles, you increase the chances of getting ranked for valuable keywords.
Leverage the Power of Hashtags
Your social media strategy is incomplete without the right use of hashtags. They go beyond just helping you label your content. They make it easy to discover and help your message reach out to your target audience.
Hashtags are a great place to start when you’re looking for more exposure via social media. They help your social media content generate relevant audience engagement and give you the needed edge over competition.
By incorporating the right hashtags, your social media optimization efforts give better results. Your content reaches out to more people and is found by social media users who aren’t connected to you.
The last thing you want to do is stuff your posts with hashtags that may or may not be relevant. Whether you are on Facebook or Instagram, you should limit the number of hashtags you add to your post. The fewer the hashtags, the better.
In order to find success with hashtags, you should try avoiding uber popular hashtags. Why? Because most of the time these hashtags will fetch you followers who are only interested in being followed back or in spamming you.
You have to focus on using hashtags that help you connect with a niche audience that’s genuinely interested in your brand and its offering.
Be Specific and Unique
When choosing hashtags, it’s important that you avoid the genetic ones. Because people will have a hard time finding your post lost between other generic posts using sam type of hashtags. Try and find hashtags that are less popular but have a laser focused audience. What ultimately matters is how relevant they are.
Use Trending Hashtags
Trends come and go, but they have a strong effect on how people use hashtags. If a particular trending hashtag relates to your business area, then leverage it by using it in your content.
Your post will be seen by a bigger, more relevant audience with the help of this trending hashtag. This is how you move beyond your existing followers and get your content to be seen and shared by new people.
5. Optimize Social Media Ads
Growing your social media presence and reach “organically” works without a doubt. The only downside being, it takes time. So if you are short on time, but have the budget, then social media ads can potentially give you the best return on your investment.
When done right, paid social media ads can prove to be a cheap and effective way to reach out to your target audience. Here are two simple yet proven tips to help you optimize your social media ads and fetch you a better ROI.
Test Multiple Ad Versions
Finding out what works best for your ads is a matter of testing multiple versions. A successful social media ad is rarely the first version. Right from creating different ad copies to testing unique images, every single step you take to test various elements improves the chances of your ad being profitable.
Testing multiple versions of your ad starts with creating many variations to see what’s giving results. As you move forward, the poor performing ads can be replaced with new, better optimized versions.
Related Posts: 10 Essentials to Running Successful Facebook Ads
Create a Custom Landing Page
Ask yourself, why are you running social media ads? What’s your purpose? If you’re like most, your aim is to drive home some leads or sales. In other words, you’re looking for more conversions.
But in order to convert more people and make your ad campaign a true success, you need to look beyond the ad. And focus on where the user lands after clicking on your ad.
With a custom landing page that complements the ad, the likelihood of someone taking action is much higher. The transition from the ad to the page should be seamless. The copy on your landing page should be an extension of your ad copy.
It’s not enough to create a well-tailored, targeted ad. You also need an equally targeted landing page with a strong call to action.
If you want your social media campaign to pay off, integrate your paid ads with your organic social media marketing efforts. For example, if you’re running an ad campaign on Facebook to get more likes, make sure to nurture these new fans by posting high quality organic content on your page. The more closely knit your paid and organic marketing is, the better returns you will see. If you need help with this, LYFE Marketing got you covered. Contact us today!