Whether they know it or not, almost all businesses are involved in SMO in one form or another. Some examples of Social Media Optimization include:
- Determining the type of posts that people may like best in a particular niche. For example people generally like videos better for DIY tutorials, but they prefer pictures for a clothing niche.
- Maximizing reach by including social share buttons to help make content easily shareable.
- Analyzing social media analytics and reports to see when customer engagement is at a maximum level.
So what is Social Media Optimization?
In layman’s terms, Social Media Optimization is the process of optimizing your posts and articles so that they’re more shareable on different social media sites, and so that they rank high on social media searches. Social Media Optimization can take your campaigns to the next level by giving you an edge over your competitors in terms of more reach and higher conversions.
The main goal of Social Media Optimization is to strengthen your social media campaigns so that you can maximize your reach and build a strong brand reputation. This is usually accomplished by posting quality content that is shared on multiple channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other social sites.
Once people start sharing your content, your website will be generating a buzz and this will cause referral links to start coming in. All this will lead to strong social signals which will maximize your visibility.
Okay so it’s pretty clear that SMO is important, but that information is useless unless you know how to optimize your own social media campaigns. Don’t worry though, I’ve got you covered. The following tips and tricks will help you maximize the clicks and conversions on your posts:
1. Use Killer Headlines!
I can’t stress enough on the importance of headlines. They are the single most important factor in deciding whether your posts are going to be read or not. Let’s face it, we’re living in a world where people have a lot of information to skim through and very little patience.
People decide what to read and what not to read solely on the basis of headlines. If your headlines fail to impress your readers then you can’t get their attention no matter how good your content may be. So the first thing that you need to work on when optimizing your Social Media Campaigns is your headlines. The following points should give you a pretty good idea of what you can do to come up with some killer headlines:
- Your headline should convey exactly what you’re going to be talking about. Furthermore, it should provide a clear and tangible benefit. For instance, “5 tools that will drastically reduce the time that you spend on social media”. This headline is clear in terms of both context and the benefit it provides.
- Use numbered headlines. They’ve been around for a long time, and people adore them. You can use numbers to hint at a list for example, “5 ways to be a better Social Media Manager” or you can use a single number in the headline such as “The #1 Secret of Social Media Optimization that Experts Won’t Tell You.”
- Your headlines should invoke curiosity in the readers, or they should answer a common question. Either way, the main purpose of your headline is to get attention.
- Your headlines should neither be too long nor too short.
Spend some time picking out your headlines, because in the end they will be the deciding factor in determining whether your post gets read or not. Many great posts don’t get read due to poor headlines, so make sure yours get plenty of attention by selecting the right headline!
2. Provide Both Quality and Quantity
You won’t get too far with a great headline if your article or post doesn’t own up to it. You need to make a consistent effort to post quality content in order to optimize your social media campaigns and generate some viral buzz.
People have a lot of questions, and they want those questions answered in the simplest manner possible. If you can give them that, they’ll love you and they’ll recommend you to others. Once your website starts getting some social media traction, it’s only a matter of time before your hard work pays off.
Make your posts as comprehensive as you possibly can, but don’t write for the sake of writing. Make sure your posts add value to your subscribers. Quality content is one of the most important parts of Social Media Optimization.
3. Stay up-to-date with New Trends and Hot Topics
Just as time passes quickly, topics do too. What may be interesting to the people today may become obsolete tomorrow.
Social media managers need to know what the hot topics of the week are...and they need to cover them better than their competitors in order to retain a strong position among their followers. Fortunately with modern web tools, this isn’t too difficult. It’s easy to find trending topics and phrases.
Here’s some ways to help you stay on top of the current trends:
- http://www.buzzfeed.com/hot (pop-culture-related social content)
- http://www.google.com/trends/ (what’s trending in Google)
- http://www.reddit.com (anything and everything)
- https://plus.google.com/explore (what’s hot in Google+)
4. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
Your brand’s social media profiles are the online brand ambassadors that will be representing your business to your market. You need to make them as kickass as possible.
Here are some tips to optimize your social media profiles:
- Make sure you include complete information about your business including telephone, address, email, and URL. Be sure to place this information in an obvious spot so people can find it easily if they look for it.
- Provide a clear and captivating description of your business.
- Complete each and every field on your profile. Some social networks such as LinkedIn give preference in search results to those profiles that are more complete.
- Maintain a consistency in your images and profiles on different social media platforms so people start recognizing your brand.
5. Don’t forget a CTA (Call-To-Action)
While most people are familiar with the importance of a strong Call-to-Action for blogs or websites, they forget that the same principle also applies on social media platforms. Research by many prominent “Social Media Scientists” has suggested that posts having a Call-To-Action yield more results and conversions than those without it.
A CTA for social media doesn’t have to be complicated. It is as simple as asking for a Retweet on Twitter, and asking to share, Like or comment on Facebook.
If you want to drive traffic back to your website then including Call-to Action statements like “Click to Download Now” or “Click to Read More” can be quite effective. Another great method of CTA that I love is to ask your subscribers a question. Present a scenario and ask them a question like “What would you do” or “What do you think?”
News pages often put headlines of news on their pages and induce the readers to visit their website by using clever CTAs.
6. Never Underestimate the Power of Images
People respond more to visual cues compared to text. So images should be an important part of your marketing campaign. According to a survey done by Adobe, almost 82% of social media managers consider images to be an important part of their marketing campaigns.
If you have a visually-centric product then you must have an account on Pinterest and Instagram, but even if your product isn’t photogenic, you can still use images to maximize your reach. Here’s how to do it:
- When you’re on Facebook, the best way to increase your brand awareness is by populating your subscribers’ newsfeeds. You can easily to that by posting funny or inspirational images that your users would enjoy and then share. Once your engagement increases, you’ll see a drastic increase in your reach as well.
- You can incorporate images in your posts to promote sales, new seasonal offers, polls, or even for running contests.
- Images such as infographics and graphs can also be used for sharing insights with your followers.
Anything that can be shared on text can be shared on images too; in fact you can make it more appealing visually. So start adding more images in your posts to bring more life (and follower engagement) to your social profiles and pages.
7. # Hashtags #
Hashtags can dramatically increase the visibility of your posts. Many people use hashtags in their posts, but not all of them know that hashtags can expose their posts to a whole new audience outside of their own followers.
The keywords used in hashtags are important, because when people search for those keywords the posts having related hashtags will be returned as results. This will drive more traffic to your posts, from people who have never heard of your brand before. How cool is that?
Use well-defined hashtags that relate clearly to your post content. If you’re not sure which hashtags go with your topic, then you can research the hashtags on Tagboard. Tagboard is a site totally dedicated to hashtags and will help you get a pretty good idea of what hashtags you should be using.
Use plenty of hashtags so you don’t miss out on any potential traffic. Here’s a few network-specific tips:
- People on Instagram love hashtags, so use as many as you possibly can. Try to use at least 12 or 13 to maximize your reach.
- Surprisingly, posts on Facebook without hashtags outperform the posts having hashtags, so on Facebook avoid using hashtags unless you’re confident they will work.
- For Twitter and Google+, using 2-3 hashtags will get you more traffic than using a dozen hashtags.
Just experiment with different combinations and see what works out best for your business.
8. Talk to your Followers
People have a lot of companies demanding their attention, so stand out from the crowd by talking to your fans and followers. This means answering all their questions personally on social media pages, as well as answering their emails and phone calls (I know, I know, some people still prefer using the phone).
If you have an email list, then encourage people to ask you questions regarding any problem that they might have with your products or services. Answer all emails that you receive as comprehensively as possible. People will remember you, and they’ll tell others about you once you win their trust. This is the quickest way of building a loyal subscriber base, especially when you’re just starting out.
These tips will help you get started optimizing your social media campaigns. What works for one niche may not be as effective for another one, so I suggest you try out different strategies and see what works best for your business. Good luck!
Memuna Umber from DoSocial
Memuna is an MBA student who loves learning about online marketing, social media, and conversion optimization. She brings a lot of business and marketing expertise to the DoSocial team.