Optimization Prime — Social Media Edition: Part 6 of 7
“Autobots, we’re going to prove who we are, and why we’re here!” — Optimus Prime
Building an online community, especially through social means, requires dedication to prove your business. Why are you there? How will you best serve your users? You can add trending seasonal posts to Facebook, send support tweets, or add product videos onto Instagram. But, is your business truly getting the most out of your social media?
Sixth up in our Optimization Prime series—social media.
What is Social Media Optimization?
Social media optimization (SMO) is the process by which businesses can increase the awareness of a brand, products, or events by using several social media channels and communities to generate viral publicity. Simply put, social media is used as a catalyst for growing your company's presence and your bottom line. Today, most businesses are active on social media. It could be said that if your company is not digitally engaged, then users may not take you seriously. Moreover, SMO goes well beyond posting once or twice a week. It is strategically creating, building, and maximizing your social media plan to connect with your target audience(s). Benefits of social media optimization include:
- Establishing your businesses brand
- Strengthening and creating brand equity
- Generating leads
- Gaining more visibility online
- Increasing more traffic online
- Introducing new products and services
- Building a reputation with your target audience(s)
- Connecting and engaging with your target audience(s)
Social media optimization is ideal for corporations involved in business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and other operations where the main goal is to generate leads. More than 70 percent of B2B businesses use social media to engage with their target audiences since SMO can help tap into the lead-generating potential of social media platforms. When it comes to B2C brands, approximately 3.48 billion people now use social media, and in a mobile-first world, businesses can leverage this access and reach their audiences around the clock.
Get Started with Social Media Optimization
Before getting started with the SMO process, a business requires an existing website, an established social platform presence, and be actively engaged with daily or weekly posts. With that being said, let’s jump into the steps to getting started with SMO.
1. Craft a Social Media Style Guide
If your marketing or social team hasn’t yet done so, craft a social media style guide. This document provides your team—or contractors—the guidelines for crafting messaging, for writing in your voice and tone, and the creative design that helps brands be consistent across all social media platforms. It will be your guiding light grounded in your vision and mission statement, as well as your brand persona(s).
Never created a style guide?
- Review or create your vision and mission statement: This defines how your business aims to meet customers’ needs and where your company wants to go. It should be clear and concise.
- Define your brand personas: This is your brand’s online personality and should reflect your business’s vision and mission statement. Think of who your brand would be if they were a person. How would you describe their personality? How would they speak? The persona should be woven into how you engage your audience in the content you create and the creative assets.
- Define your guide elements: This should include voice, tone, color palette, design components, and logo usage policies.
2. Analyze your Competitors
You can learn a great deal from your competitors and what they are doing on social media. Complete a competitor scan to gain insights and understanding into what your industry audience may want and how you can deliver it. Compile a competitor list and use social media analytics—such as followers, engagements, and shares—to learn what content resonates and what doesn’t. Finally, establish what makes you different and find a competitive advantage.
3. Define your SMO Goals (Using your Competitor Scan)
Using the insights and understanding gained from your competitor scan, define the goals that pinpoint relevant target markets, and are S.M.A.R.T.—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. When trying to set goals, ask yourself questions like:
- What do my competitors do to create more engagement?
- What times and which days perform best?
- What competitors’ actions have increased followers? What effects have decreased followers?
- What do they do to boost a target audiences’ brand awareness?
- Which target audiences do my competitors engage with better than I do?
4. Time for Research
Keywords are vital with social media optimization, but don’t forget the #hashtags! Conduct keyword and hashtag research to ensure your content is optimized and reach your audience(s) based on their searches and general interests. Get started by:
- Making a list of your target markets
- Making a list of your target audiences
- Compiling your common customer questions or FAQs
- Typing them into Google to see what suggested keywords it offers as you input
- Reviewing using a keyword research tool to learn which keywords best perform
- Documenting the highest performing keywords into your social media content and profile as appropriate
A word of caution, it’s easy to get a bit ‘#hashtag happy’. We’ve all seen those posts with 40—or even hundreds of—#hashtags. To be effective with hashtag usage and engagement, narrow your focus to prioritize the #hashtags that are the most relevant, and most effectively performs for your business.
5. Optimize your Social Media Profiles
Social media optimization is not just about the content you post, but also your profile. Look at how you can reconfigure your business name, images, bio-information, and business information to target and include popular search terms.
6. Optimize your Website Social Media Sharing
Your website is also a crucial piece of SMO. Your website should have social sharing integrated and be optimized for prime user-experience and use. Optimization can include:
- Right side social sharing buttons
- Factoring screen size and adjusting based on the layout to better support your social media campaigns and sharing buttons
- Enhance your content using keywords and even #hashtags
Remember, your goal is for the users to have a seamless experience from social media through website engagement.
7. Share that Relevant Content
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, “Content is King!” What? You haven’t? Just kidding! You say it over and over in your sleep. It’s irking the cat.
Relevant content is quality content, and it’s what your users want. Aligning your content production with your goals can create quality and shareable content, which can help position your company as a thought-leader or an authoritative brand. Aligning your content production includes researching what other followers like about your competitors' brand, filling up content gaps to boost under-engaged audiences, and solve problems that non-following target audiences face.
8. To Infinity! And Beyond!
Extend the reach beyond your audience and target new audiences with characteristics similar to your existing one. The quickest and easiest way is to boost posts and conduct some advertising using similar audiences.
9. Optimize. Think. Optimize Some More.
The encompassing step in all of the processes—keep on optimizing. Something that worked for you a year ago may no longer be up-to-date with your needs today. Like a never-ending story, you need to continually be looking at how you can improve and grow your results.
Quick Tips for Social Media Optimization
Before we go, here is a list of quick tips to consider for your SMO:
- Create quality content that has the potential to go viral
- Provide complete information
- Maintain a consistent identity
- Keep keywords in mind while optimizing your profile and content for social media
- Keep social sharing options in your blog posts
- Design your website properly
- Be active on social media
- Automate various activities
Join CMSC Media next week, Tuesday, August 1st, for the seventh and final entry of our Optimization Prime series.
Catch up with our Optimization Prime series:
Lynette Sawyer is a Web Project Manager for Falcon-Software, a digital web agency founded in 1994. For the last 13-years Lynette has been in various digital capacities and her expertise goes beyond Project Management. Lynette brings experience and knowledge in graphic design, marketing communications, project management, product management and engagement.