Across generations, class divides, and national borders, social media brings us together and soaks up our attention like nothing else can.
It’s an entertainment provider, a communication facilitator, a vital news channel that can rapidly disseminate key information when needed, and one of the foremost drivers of business activities.
Because the corporate world moves slowly, though, there are still companies that view social media as a spare-time pursuit: something frivolous to produce clickbait headlines but lacking in any broader value. That certainly isn’t the case, as evidenced by there being many successful brands that have grown immensely through social-heavy strategies.
So perhaps you’re in that position of previously having rejected social media as a worthwhile addition to your overall business focus — or maybe you were sold on the value of social media before you clicked on this post, and you’re just looking to up your game.
Either way, this post should help. What we’re going to look at here is a set of social media optimization tips to help your website rank, with the results primarily being in social search but ultimately having a positive impact on your general search rankings through building up general interest in your brand.
Why should you optimize your social media presence?
The biggest reason to optimize social media results is that the social media world offers a combination of immense influence and incredible creative opportunity. Spanning the various platforms, there are billions of people browsing their feeds and sharing content, and the impact of that is hard to overstate.
While organic rankings through Google are definitely important, earning those rankings is both difficult and complicated, and it’s really hard to compete with companies boasting bigger budgets. Social media is something of a leveler. Top brands can dominate advertising, but just one clever and well-timed Tweet can bring a huge amount of attention to a fresh startup.
Optimizing your social media presence ultimately helps you to diminish the negatives (one bad incident regarding your brand can lead to a huge social media backlash) and accentuate the positives (making the best of good publicity) – companies that choose to ignore or overlook social media just can’t compete with those that invest in it.
What is social media optimization?
Social media optimization is all about making your brand appear more prominently and positively in social conversations. It can boost your traffic, improve your reputation, and establish you as a reliable source of information.
5 social media optimization tips you should implement
Now that we’ve established why it’s so important to optimize social media activity, we can get into the informational part of the post. Here are seven optimization tips that you should implement for your business as a matter of urgency:
1. Revamp your social media strategy from the bottom up
In the event that you don’t yet have a social media strategy of any kind, it’s essential that you create one. Forget about any small pieces of social media work you’ve done so far. Issued in isolation, those efforts were never going to prove significant, and can’t meaningfully assist your work now outside of the experience they provided of the social creative process.
If you do already have a social media strategy, though, it’s surely due a complete revamp: that means reviewing it from the bottom up and ensuring that it’s something truly worth your time. (You wouldn’t have decided to read this piece if you were entirely happy with your social media performance). You’re clearly looking to turn things around, and that means going back to the drawing board.
Whether you’re building your first social media strategy or rebuilding your existing strategy, you need to focus on the purpose of such a strategy: it isn’t to have a neat slogan, or a set of vague goals, or to be easy. It’s to get your brand noticed in a positive way and bring you relevant traffic. More practically, it’s to bring all your social media activity together to ensure that everything you do serves that central purpose.
A strong social media strategy will include the following elements at a minimum:
Industry research. What are your main competitors doing through social media? How are they being talked about? What do the people you’re trying to reach generally talk about? This is about understanding context. Your social media activity doesn’t exist in a vacuum: other businesses also want attention, so learn what you can and exploit it.
SWOT analysis. What are the strongest traits of your brand? Maybe you’re friendly, efficient, and forward-thinking. What are your weaknesses? Perhaps you don’t have the resources to produce content at a rapid clip. Opportunities and threats will be steered by your industry research, pointing out where you can grow your social media presence and where your efforts would be least effective.
Channel priorities. While you can use any social media channel, you shouldn’t try to. It’s best to pick two or three channels and try to make the best of them. Even the biggest corporations don’t have the time to saturate all channels with quality content and engagement. Identify one in particular to be your primary concern.
Brand guidelines. You need brand guidelines for business in general (HubSpot has some great examples), so you certainly need them for social media work. What tone should your messages have? What types of images should you provide? Which brands should you associate with? Social media activity at a high level is a collaborative effort, so you need to keep everyone in line.
Trackable metrics. Once you’ve run your social strategy for several months, how will you know how successful it’s been? By simply seeing how much your traffic has gone up? The problem with that approach is that your traffic might have gone up regardless. You need trackable metrics that are pointedly attached to your social media activity: visits to your site specifically from social media links, for instance.
2. Include your extended team in your social efforts
As noted before, social media is a collaborative effort, which means bringing in as many people as possible from your business. There are several major benefits to this approach:
It makes people feel included and valued. The average employee wants to be paid well and treated well, obviously, but those aren’t the only things that matter to them. They also want to feel significant (to feel like a meaningful part of something bigger than them), and having them contribute to the social media work can achieve this. Just be sure to listen to their creative ideas instead of simply having them hammer out posts.
It provides some much-needed diversity. If all the social media content your brand produces comes from upper management, it won’t be anywhere near as interesting as if it comes from workers throughout the company. Providing a combination of expertise and youthful exuberance can liven things up and attract more followers.
It makes content production faster. The most practical reason to get everyone working on your social media strategy is that it speeds things up. If you decide to schedule 200 posts throughout the year, you probably have bigger things on your plate than accounting for all of them: distribute them throughout your team and you can get them all done very quickly with minimal stress to any given individual.
If you put a lot of social media work on someone’s plate, though, you should also consider the practical ramifications. Writers are used to getting a lot of typing done, but other employees might not be, and issues like RSI aren’t to be scoffed at. Invest in decent home offices with the proper setup.
StarTech provides some tips worth checking out as far as tech setup goes, but bear in mind that everyone has distinct preferences, so ask your employees what they need to work comfortably and effectively. Check up with them on a regular basis once you kick things off to confirm that they’re getting on well. It’s a short-term money loser, yes, but a long-term profit driver.
3. Use keywords and hashtags in your posts
You likely know how important keywords are in general SEO: covering your primary keywords in prominent positions has always been vital for getting your content to rank well for them, and it’s tough to envision a future in which that changes (none of Google’s many algorithm updates has ever devalued keywords).
Well, keywords are also very important in social media, and there are three main reasons why:
They help content stand out in fast-moving feeds. How quickly do you scroll through your social media feeds, particularly when you’re bored? When you stop, isn’t it usually because of an eye-catching image or a glimpse of a directly-relevant keyword? The more you can cover what people are looking for, the more likely you’ll be to be noticed.
Internal search volume certainly isn’t trivial. Plenty of people go directly into the internal search functions of social media sites to find relevant content, channels and influencers. If you can anticipate the likely searches and address them through your content, you can get some decent results.
Trends and hashtags drive a lot of traffic. Particularly on Twitter, but also on other platforms, trends and hashtags strongly shape traffic patterns. Jumping on an active hashtag is one of the best ways to get a post seen, so if your posts aren’t performing well, consider how you could fit them into the social zeitgeist.
4. Vary the type of content you post, and post different formats on each site
Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and it’s also the spice of social media life. Social media users are somewhat hard to impress because they’re inundated with high-quality content. If you wheel out the same trick every time, you’ll ultimately push people to go elsewhere. Accordingly, you should aim to produce various types of content. Here are just some to consider:
Long-form guides. While you shouldn’t try to post long-form guides directly through social media (social media platforms weren’t designed for articles), you should definitely promote them through social media. Upload your long-form guides to your website and roll out promotional introductions to your social media accounts: such guides are highly valuable when done well, and can get a lot of interest.
Stories. Collections of various media types assembled in chronological order, stories are relatively new to the social media world but very effective with certain audiences. They’re particularly good for brand personality: create a behind-the-scenes story showing people how your business operates behind the scenes (with a positive spin, of course) and you can seriously enhance your reputation.
Infographics. They’re reliably fantastic for grabbing attention, they can demonstrate great understanding, and they can make even the driest topics seem interesting to broader audiences. Infographics are difficult to do well, even using convenient SaaS tools, but they’re worth the investment. They also make great outreach assets for when you’re guest blogging or working with influencers.
Videos. Video content, particularly when it can autoplay, can stop the social scrolling more effectively than anything else. Our eyes are drawn to motion, and we like video because it’s absorbing. You could create a video to succinctly introduce a topic (then link out to your long-form guide), or just offer a friendly update on your business. There are plenty of viable options to choose from.
You’ll always need to keep site format restrictions in mind, of course. Stories, for instance, aren’t available on all sites, and then there’s the matter of character limits, required image aspect ratios, and so on. Stay apprised of the current best practices, and follow them at all times.
5. Engage with your followers and other company social accounts
Social media isn’t just about providing standard content to draw people in: it’s also about engagement. By taking the time to talk to people and show that your brand isn’t merely a faceless and profit-obsessed corporation, you can achieve a great deal.
Consider how important it is these days for customers to like the companies they buy from. Simply having the lowest prices or the best products isn’t always enough – and if you can show enough charisma and likeability through your social media activity, you can rally people to your cause even if there’s otherwise nothing exceptional about your business.
You can also cover a lot of ground by engaging with other companies’ social accounts. Provided you keep it clean, you can swap light-hearted jibes with rivals, compliment brands outside of your industry, and generally put on an entertaining show for your followers (as well of the followers of those other brands, of course, because they could soon be yours too).
Wrapping up, social media optimization is absolutely something that warrants serious investment, but you need to go about it in the right way or you’ll just be throwing away that money, time and effort. Use these tips to steer you in the right direction, and you’ll soon notice an uptick in visits from social media sources.
Rodney Laws is an e-commerce expert with 10+ years of experience in building online businesses. He’s worked with the biggest platforms in the world and offers advice on which platforms to build your website. Check out
EcommercePlatforms.io to find tips you can use to build the best online store for your brand.