Visualize creating social accounts for your company as the first page of your favorite book; it’s only the start of an eminent publication! Now, think of social media optimization like one of the most significant chapters to come.
Being present on social media is a big win for your business. But, it doesn’t stop there, you need to help customers find you.
In this article, I’ll be guiding you through a universal strategy that will make it easy for customers to find your business on intensely social marketing channels
About Social Media Optimization (SMO) Tips
In formal terms, social media optimization refers to the process of increasing the visibility of a product, brand, or event through the use of social networking websites and online communities in them.
In simple words, SMO builds the bridge of connection between businesses offering a product or service and the people that would be interested in it. Regardless of the end goal of a social strategy, it all happens on platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest (to only mention a few of the most popular social networks by 2019).
SMO is very similar to search engine optimization (SEO); both can turn into an authoritative source of web traffic. Interestingly enough, these two different types of optimization also share multiple tips.
For example, several on-page SEO factors, like creating unique & valuable content or crafting keyword-targeted titles and descriptions, easily apply to social media optimization as well.
The reason is simple. Social media platforms are search engines.
You’ll understand this in detail later on, but first, I want to point out a few basic social media optimization tips that I consider to be essential. So, before you go about the strategy itself, keep up with these basics steps:
- Use adequately sized profile pictures & cover images for each platform.
- Keep a consistent brand logo or profile photo across all networks.
- Take the same username for every platform (if possible).
- Link to other social media profiles (that belong to your business).
- List the business website on social profiles.
- Stay active and post on the best times.
Are these checked off of your to-do list yet? If the answer is no, save the checklist above, so you don’t forget about it later!
Prepare to take some notes. We’ll move on to the strategy.
Multiple complementary strategies compose social media optimization, and these will help increase the visibility of your business online. From start to finish, businesses can use this technique to increase visibility on any social network:
1. Conduct keyword research
This core SEO task is critical to SEM as well. In the social sphere, keyword research consists of discovering keywords and phrases that a target audience uses online. These are terms that communities utilize while discussing or researching about niche topics that are relevant to a business in particular.
By making use of such keywords and phrases, businesses take one more step towards achieving the maximum possible exposure. The idea is to place at the top of social media results when consumers look up a product or service related to your company.
Keyword research has evolved through the years, and so have the methods to do it. For our purpose, we’ll combine the modern and the old-fashioned way of keyword researching by using both a tool and a basic search on the platform we’re optimizing.
Here’s the deal; each social media platform has its unique search engine.
Use that to perform network-specific keyword research, which will result in the discovery of overused or underexploited keywords.
In a few steps, here’s how to conduct social media keyword research:
- Brainstorm seed keywords or general words & phrases related to your niche.
- Enter them into a keyword research tool.
- Expand your investigation by looking up your keywords on each social network.
- Build a list of your findings.
Traditional keyword research composes the two first steps while the rest of the investigation is a little old-fashioned (but very useful).
For this guide, I’ll jump straight ahead to the third step. I won’t leave you hanging though, here’s an updated guide on how to perform traditional keyword research.
Next, I’ll show you what this looks like with a little help from the most popular video-sharing website and the second largest search engine in the world, Youtube.
Let’s say some of our target keywords are “vegan recipes” and “veggie recipes.” We’ll expand our research using the search bar of our target social media.
It’s as simple as typing in your target keywords:
Voilà! The Youtube autocomplete feature will show you the most popular long-tail keywords on their platform once you enter a keyword or phrase to the search bar.
Once you finish the research stage, the rest of the process is very simple & straightforward. Now, let’s move on to the next step.
2. Add keywords to social media handle and business profile name
At this point, you’ll begin putting relevant keywords to use. Grab a target keyword that best represents your company as a whole and put it in your social media username (if applicable) and the business name field.
For example, the brand “Plant-Based on a Budget” shares plenty of resources on how to have a vegan diet on a budget, and they also sell vegan meal plans.
Above is the perfect visualization of an optimized profile. There’s a keyword in the username (which also happens to be the business name, smart move). Also, they properly structured the business profile name (personal name + keyword).
Pretty much genius if you ask me.
They make it easy for Instagram’s algorithm to understand what their account is about, in this case, budget-friendly plant-based diets. That translates in maximizing their brand exposure on that social platform.
Take this universal formula for social business profile names:
Business name + word divider [ |, /, :, -, ·]+ target keyword
For instance, Social champ: Social Media Scheduler or Social champ · Social Media Scheduler
According to statistics, consistent branding increases revenues by up to 23%, which is why company owners should think big while naming their business. The brand name is a significant player that should stay consistent across platforms for better results.
Not everyone names their business using an SEO keyword phrase, so the optimization of social usernames and profile names can take many forms. If your business name doesn’t include a relevant keyword, consider adding it at the start or the end of the username.
The Austrian brand of watches Holzkern is an excellent example of what to do when a company name doesn’t include a strong keyword:
They added the keyword “watches” at the end of the username!
Although not every social media allows you to choose a username, it’s professional to do it when you have an opportunity. Whether it’s a Facebook vanity URL, Instagram username, Youtube channel name, or other, consider optimizing handles to increase online visibility.
Still, remember to keep brand consistency for usernames. In that way, your followers won’t have to hunt you down.
Pro-tip: Analyzing the profiles of competitors on social media can also help discover what target keywords they use, how, and where they place them. Make sure to analyze each one of their accounts across platforms, remember that every social network is unique!
Now, let’s scroll down to the biofield.
3. Work on bio optimization
Social media bios grant the perfect opportunity for businesses to make the ideal first impression through a descriptive text that is short and easy to digest for users. Additionally, it should also help people find the business’s profile.
That’s when social media bio optimization steps in.
Before you start pondering about the perfect bio, I’ll share with you a few steps that will save you several precious hours:
Get the keywords that best sum up the brand
Grab 2-3 key phrases that your community frequently uses (from the list you built at the start!) and strategically place them in the text. The golden rule here is to avoid sounding like a robot or overdoing it, so keep it natural.
Summarize the details that profile visitors need
A well-crafted bio is visually appealing, descriptive, and easy to follow, highlighting the relevant points and uniqueness of a business. Depending on the network, you can also link to other social profiles, websites or relevant URLs, contact information, and more.
Review the space available
Every platform has a different character limit for bio sections, so it’s best to make a draft that you can customize later on. However, don’t try to use every last character if it isn’t useful. People tend to scan through the first lines, so remember to share only the necessary details.
Add some personality
Although the purpose is to showcase information about your business and what it offers, try to do it creatively. If it suits your brand personality, skip formalities, or add a distinctive touch that shows business values. Remember that bios represent your profile.
If you consider these tips, you’re off to a great start.
Here’s a great example of a business that follows these best practices.
The Page Name and About sections are crucial for Facebook Fan Pages. Note that Google pulls the meta description from Facebook’s “About” section, so fill in every field wisely.
Alternative apparel, a sustainable clothing brand with alternative styles, keeps it simple yet filled with personality and company values. In less than 100 characters, they managed to describe their brand smartly, while also utilizing two of their target keywords naturally (resulting in more search exposure).
Additionally, they filled other vital fields that build trust and are relevant for Facebook fan pages. Particularly, the founding date, contact information, website (for a good traffic boost), products, and even added the company story.
Let’s review another Facebook business page.
See the arrow? They linked to another social profile, which is a phenomenal resource for Facebook fans. Billie is a body brand that nailed optimizing their profile with a keyword-optimized bio and username.
Off to the last resource to maximize business visibility on social!
4. SEO your social content
If you’ve read about the importance of posting useful and valuable content before, this step will be a total breeze.
Tailoring content for target audiences is the first step to growing an authentic social media community. The benefits of loyal followers don’t stop in a significant number of likes, pins, retweets, or comments; in consequence, helpful posts will increase your business’ authenticity online.
The key to posting great content? Reframe the way you think. From start to finish of the creative process, think about your target social persona and build content around their questions, needs, and interests.
And, once you craft a batch of original content to connect with your audience and strengthen your brand, optimize it to reach the right people.
Again, your list of keywords will come in handy. An optimized social media post meets the following criteria:
Uses target keywords and hashtags
Sprinkle your target keywords to your posts whenever possible in a non-spammy way. Also, take the time to research popular hashtags relevant to your posts on each social network for organic growth.
Has the ideal post length
When it comes to social media copy, less is more. Of course, the optimal length will vary depending on each type of post & network. In general, try to keep it short so your posts don’t get boring, repetitive, or cut off.
Features visuals (Images/Video)
Visuals are fundamental to any social media strategy. Just on Facebook, posts that add images see an engagement of 2.3X compared to posts that don’t. Aim to achieve mass sharing, that will add up to the visibility of your content. Finally, skip boring stock photos and use high-quality designs for better results.
Includes a Call-to-action (CTA)
Guide people on what to do next. Whether it’s checking out a new product, reading a blog post, or downloading an ebook; keep your request simple, exciting & concise so readers or viewers can interact.
Time to see how that looks.
The well-known graphic design platform Designhill will help us do that.
Notice that it’s an informational post that works as inspiration for users. They aim to share one of their non-promotional blog posts, taking full advantage of the relevant topic, and following the criteria above to optimize it for greater reach.
Quick-fact: The lifespan of Pinterest pins is a thousand times longer than posts on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Spending time creating the perfectly shareable pin is going to be worth it for a while.
Nevertheless, it’s not like you should optimize every single post with all of these factors. The key to social media success is keeping a balance. Now and then, keep it fun with your community and allow brand personality to shine through.
It might get you unexpected results, just like the folks at Kool-Aid:
Look at that engagement! They take advantage of what’s funny to their community, keeping it creative, natural, and… Definitely out of the ordinary.
To wrap up
Social media optimization takes care, attention to small details, and patience. The time to see results will depend on different factors. There’s the social media platform(s) of your choice, the popularity of your niche, the competition, and how well you follow the steps & tips in this article.
Time for action! Get your notes, put them to use, and make sure to leave any questions that come up below.⬇️
Vanessa is an inbound marketing specialist and social media marketer. She’s also an advocate for conscious living, loves cycling in her free time, and (really) likes dogs.