What is Social Media Optimization?
Social Media Optimization (SMO) involves generating a strategy to make your content perform better and reach maximum people on social media to increase your engagement rate. To do this, companies have to figure out what content works best for them, in what conditions, how and where they fit in and at last execute their content strategy.
You may find Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) quite similar as the aim for both remains the same - getting your content in front of more people.
Nowadays it’s important for companies to have their presence on social media. But having just a presence isn’t enough. That’s where social media optimization comes in. It’s the way to increase the reach of your business.
The connection between Search Engines and Social Media:
It's incorrect for some companies to think that doing keyword research, writing good content and taking care of meta tags is enough to have a good rank on SERPs. Although, Google’s Algorithm considers more than 200 factors to rank a website on top of the page and performance on social media is one such signal.
Your performance on social media and its factors such as engagement rate, followers, consistency, can be positive signals for google to prioritize your company’s website. Basically, if your account or page on social media performs well, you are more likely to perform well on the SEO side as well.
If you do a search for a particular individual or a company, the social media profiles can appear on the first page of search results. For example, when you search for Adobe on google, you will see the links to their LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media profiles below their website’s link.
According to the study of Ascend 2, almost half of the companies that struggle with SEO are the ones that do not integrate social media marketing. Understanding that SEO and Social Media Optimization goes hand in hand and integrating both of them for a common result can bring great results for a company.
5 steps for Social Media Optimization (SMO):
Working on Social Media Optimization (SMO) requires a proper strategy, plan and consistent execution. If you follow these five steps, you are more likely to grow and out-compete other businesses on social media.
Analyse your target audience
Striking an arrow without knowing where the dart is meaningless. It’s necessary to know where your audience is. Choosing the social media platforms which are most used by your target audience is required for growth. It’s not about where you want to be, but where your audience wants you to be. Always remember, without an audience there’s no engagement.
Analyse your competitors
The next step is to perform competitor’s analysis. It’s important to figure out how you stack up against your competitors. What is their engagement ratio vs yours? What are the content types that are working (or not working) for them? What are the industry leaders doing on social media on a regular basis? To do this, you can use various tools like ubersuggest and drag down some meaningful information to plan out a perfect content strategy for yourself.
Build a strategy based on findings
Once you understand your audience and have meaningful insights on the competition, it's the time to design a clearly defined content strategy that will help you boost the game on social media. Your strategy must include the content types that are performing well, keywords to include, hashtags to target, which posts to boost and when, etc.
Execution on that strategy
A well-planned strategy formed is nothing without execution. Companies need to make sure that SEO Managers, Social Media Managers, Content writers work closely as a team to make the vision a reality. Social Media Optimization (SMO) is aligned with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and that’s why the team needs to make sure that the message delivered is the same on all the channels. Take care that your content strategy is aligned to meet the core objectives of your target audience. For example, if you make a post for social media, make sure to hyperlink your post to the blog or an in-depth LinkedIn article for people who want more information.
Monitor and Modify
Once you have started executing your strategy consistently, results should be monitored and adjustments should be made. ORM (Online Reputation Management) becomes a crucial factor once you start getting good engagement.
5 Social Media Optimization (SMO) Tips to improve your reach:
There’s no doubt Social Media Optimization (SMO) is essential for growth. But how will you drive your presence in such a way that will improve your reach and visibility. Here are a few SMO tips that might help.
Choose the right platform(s) for your audience
Ask yourself, where (on which platforms) your audience spends most of their time on a regular basis? People these days use Facebook and LinkedIn more for their professional concerns and Instagram for entertainment. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute once mentioned that 66% of marketers rated LinkedIn as the most effective B2B social media platform.
You don't have to be on every social media platform but you need to choose the right platform (considering your industry and target audience) and double down your efforts to optimize your presence accordingly.
Encourage employees to share
There’s no doubt that social media is successful but social media isn’t just for fun. According to the survey by Sprout Social, almost 67% of people use social media for work. Additionally, people connect more with people than brands and that’s why people are more likely to read a post about a brand from a friend than from a brand itself.
That’s why it’s essential for employees to share branded content on their social media profiles. That will double down the reach of the posts among a wide range of audience. These days, companies should train their employees not just to share, but spread the word.
Leverage visual content
Visual content catches more attention than textual content while scrolling through social media. The more you incorporate visual content in your plan, the better it is to increase your visibility on social media. It is obviously true for image heavy platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest but also true for B2B platforms when you are communicating your message in a creative manner through visual content.
Incorporating visual content into your strategy not only helps with Social Media Optimization (SMO) but also helps with SEO by performing well in Google Image Search. Make sure you are conscious when you title and tag them.
Have a Youtube presence
Obviously, video creation is a tough task but it has huge payoffs if you are considering youtube in your content plan. Because when searched, Google often displays videos on priority in their search results. Companies must use it to their advantage because believe it or not, Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, just behind Google (and not to forget, even owned by Google).
Your videos don’t have to be good looking. All it just requires is to answer the questions people ask on Google and guide them to the solution. It can provide long-term benefits with respect to SEO as well as SMO.
Use hashtags, don’t overuse
Hashtags can help in improving your reach and visibility. For example, an instagram post with relevant hashtags is expected to see around more than 12% of engagement than with a post with no hashtags. But no one wants to come across a post stuffed with hashtags and no meaningful information. Using a lot of hashtags can decrease the authenticity of your post. Make sure to provide value and use hashtags to reach more people or brands like you.
So how many hashtags you can use? Well, some platforms have set their own limits. For example, on instagram you can use a maximum of 30 hashtags. Though a good advice is to use at most 5-10 hashtags on all social media platforms.
The use of social media is continuously increasing among people and it’s not going anywhere in near time. Social media platforms are coming up with a lot of features for individuals and brands to leverage and optimize their reach among users.
Basically, Social Media Optimization (SMO) is all about your audience. It starts with them and ends with them. The Internet has provided us with a lot of ways and tools to use it to our maximum advantage and Social Media Optimization (SMO) is one such way to provide maximum value to the audience. There’s just one thumb rule - the companies and brands that win their hearts, wins the game of social media.
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