Online marketing is about awareness and visibility, both of which contribute to brand recognition.
To maintain a competitive advantage, marketing needs to be a priority or you risk losing market share to competitors. Even Fortune 500 companies such as Apple and Coca Cola allocate billions of dollars on advertising a year despite already being major household brands. Because it means maintaining a strong brand name and attracting new customers for life.
Your target audience may find your small business online in one of several ways:
- In Google or other search engines for relevant queries
- On local directories such as Yelp or the Yellow Pages
- They already knew about your business
- Through word of mouth
According to a survey from BrightLocal, 43% of consumers used search engines to find information about local businesses at least once a month.
The figures demonstrate the importance of a local SEO marketing strategy to increase visibility in the search results. Such strategies typically focus on optimizing landing pages and building relevant links to those pages. Social media optimization (SMO) is another facet of a marketing campaign that can contribute to higher rankings and increase visibility for your business online.
Here we cover social media optimization in depth and strategies you can implement for proven results.
What is Social Media Optimization?
Facebook is often what comes to mind when most people think of social media.
Although it’s the largest by far (with over a billion active users), other social platforms include Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and more. Then there are other interactive channels where your target market engages in such as blogs, forums, and networking sites (e.g. Reddit).
SMO is the process of increasing brand awareness on social media channels through customer engagement and content strategy. Optimizing your presence through tactics as outlined here strengthen your brand and increase visibility. Both of which help to build credibility with your target audience.
Yet another reason why SMO matters is because of its impact on search engine rankings.
Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, has previously stated that social signals are not considered a ranking factor. But extensive testing has shown a positive correlation between the number of shares a page has and its rankings. Even if social signals had absolutely no impact on search rankings, SMO can be invaluable for your business.
Here we look at how to make social media a better marketing channel for your business.
1. Create Visual Content
People can immediately relate to visual imagery than text. In fact, social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Vine, and YouTube have built their entire business model on this premise. Visual content is much easier to digest in seconds and can often portray information more efficiently than a block of text.
Visual content also tends to generate more shares and engagement:
Images can tell the story of your brand and share a powerful message. Here are some ideas to implement visual content in your social media campaigns:
- Compile interesting statistics about your industry in an infographic
- Create digestible how-to and informational videos
- Show off your products in images from different settings
- Share actual testimonials from your customers
Powerful imagery not only engages more visitors, it also creates a favorable impression of your brand.
2. Make Sharing Your Content Effortless
A visitor lands on your site from a search. She sees a great piece of content that she thinks would interest her followers but there are no visible buttons to share the page. So then she would need to copy the link, open a new tab, type in her preferred platform, paste the link, and finally click the share button.
The most dedicated fanbase will not hesitate to go through each of those steps. But most will simply not bother and will move on to the next site. So make it as easy and effortless as possible for visitors to share your content.
On our blog, we include social sharing buttons with links to some of the most popular networks:
Clicking on the Facebook icon brings up the following pop-up:
Visitors can easily share content on our blog in literally seconds (or longer if they include a comment) to their favorite platform. If your site is powered by WordPress, there are plenty of plugins available that let you add these buttons to your blog posts.
3. Maintain a Consistent Schedule
The definition of content marketing according to the Content Marketing Institute is:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
One of the most important words in that definition is “consistent”.
You could have channels on the top social media platforms with a few great posts that have garnered thousands of shares. But if you don’t post on a consistent basis, your channel will eventually fizzle out and fail to gain a strong following. Create a social media schedule to keep yourself on task and to plan your content for the weeks ahead.
In a progressively connected world, social media is becoming increasingly important. Users sign in to their favorite platforms to discover and share content with each other. Social media optimization can be absolutely valuable for your business and enhance your presence on various social channels. Follow these strategies as outlined above to get your social marketing campaign to a strong start.