Welcome to another session on SMO. Having covered the ‘What’ of Social Media Optimization, the next step is to ask yourself “How to do Social Media Optimization?”. Here are three easy to implement SMO strategies, which you can apply to your social media marketing.
Content - To Create and Curate
Content is king around the web and your content is what will make or break your interactions with users. We talked about ‘What’ Social Media Optimization is and about the necessity of topic authority. This can only happen if you have the trust from your followers. But how can you establish authority in a topic you entered? Where do you get credibility from?
Simply said, you get credibility by offering unique insights and having the data to support it. Compare it to a dissertation. You are writing a hypothesis, which by definition, has little to no foundation until proven otherwise. You are going to need data to support the claims you stake.
The knowledge you display to followers on your social media as well as the readers of your blog has to be well founded, since it is going to establish you as a reliable source to others and (hopefully) boost the business of your brand.
Creating your own content gives you the ability to funnel people to your landing pages, because the most important part of content marketing is still to drive traffic. The traffic you have directed to your website can now be addressed by your company and you can approach the visitor as a potential client.
Like any good scientific article, it is the right mixture of created and curated content that will decide on how well your content will work. As a study from Curata shows, leading marketers use 65 percent of created content to 25 percent curated content and ten percent of syndicated content.
Sharing content on your social media platform shows your commitment to informing your audience of what’s cutting edge in their field. You are not afraid to bring in another voice of expertise on a topic. The point of establishing topic authority is to be the voice everyone listens to and to point users in the right direction. If that direction happens to be you, great. But don’t try to force it or you will come off as ‘salesy’. You also have nothing to fear from pointing users to another company’s resources. Should you link an article of a different company, who happens to be your competition, don’t reroute the traffic completely. Make use of the nofollow tag to avoid Google indexing your article as a backlink.
This is once more a point of interaction between search engine optimization and social media optimization. When the web crawler gets going and is searching through an article on your social media platform, it will find the hyperlink and try and go there. If left without the nofollow tag, the crawler will jump from your post to the linked one and assume that there lies the real bit of information. This boosts the SEO of your competition. If you keep the nofollow tag in, the crawler will not follow the link and rank your article higher.
You can even wander off-topic a bit, and bring in topics which only touch on your subject matter or brand peripherally. This will help give context to your ‘universe’. It will show your range of topics, which should absolutely be part of your strategy. Posting a wide range of topics on your social media platform doesn’t mean you are losing focus on your key competencies and strengths. You are giving context and depth to your brand and what you are about, this will teach the followers more about you and make it easier for them to connect with you. That will make them feel more comfortable sharing things about themselves. And who doesn’t like more information about their followers?!
The remaining 10 percent of content is syndicated content. This is a great example for social media optimization strategy and especially for smaller companies or brands in niche markets. Syndicating content means to publish your already existing content on outside platforms which aren’t under your own control. You can think of it as a reverse curated content, where you purposefully give your content to someone else to publish. You will still have an inbound link back to your page or social platform and will help you gain exposure to outside audiences and hopefully result in new followers and potential leads.
Now since we talked about syndicated content being content you already published, there is always use to recycle content, or bringing back older posts. In your SMO strategy it is important to not just one-off content and then forget about it. As previously stated, your engagement and interaction are what put you and your brand on the map. Users will be discussing content and circle back to topics and posts. A topic you have posted or commented on months ago is circling back into relevance, supporting what you said MONTHS ago? A perfect opportunity to bring it back into focus. And pat yourself on the back for predicting the future.
Hashtag -The keyword 2.0
Hashtags are one of the great thing to manipulate in your SMO. How strong is your hashtag game? A hashtag is a trackable keyword and the perfect opportunity to create something unique for your brand. Single word hashtags or combined words, there is a staggering amount of unique opportunities out there to use. And with the latest instagram update (February 2018), you can now even follow a hashtag. Never was tracking a keyword easier for both parties. The user as well as the creator.
A hashtag is great for two purposes. You can find your own white space and start and lead a conversation, as well as inserting you into an existing topic.
However, just like big brother Facebook, Instagram also got some serious remodeling in the algorithm department done, so you better follow the proper etiquette for your SMO.
Do not go overboard and try to overly connect with the youths of today. You will just seem weird. Know your audience!
Sticking with the example of Instagram, we shall look at hashtagging in a bit more detail. You need to understand the hashtags around an existing space, should your decide to enter it with a new hashtag. This way is more difficulty as you will have to establish a following and do more educating. But you will have the bragging right and authority as a ‘founding father’.
Is your brand and content centered around a field which already has an existing realm of used hashtags you can start connecting with and audience and almost immediately gain exposure.
With programs giving you content recommendations and scheduling software telling you when to post, it is your job still to come up with clever sublines and hashtags. This again can be chalked up to knowing your audience and which image you want to portray. If you don’t mind to be a bit cheeky with your captions and hashtags and it works with your audience, go for it. It will most likely make you more approachable and users will be more likely to engage with you. It is also a great way of dealing with the occasional troll. Whatever your approach to hashtagging is, make sure to proofread it. You don’t want a Dorothy Perkins debacle on your hands.
Timing is everything!
Having an audience who is willing to listen is great. But it is only step one. Your brands SMO strategy depends on you knowing when to deploy it. If you post at 2:00 AM, your audience will most likely be asleep. But not necessarily. It really all depends on your knowledge of your target audience. So is posting at the right frequency. This means that you need to understand how often you can post without the algorithm of Instagram ‘ghost-blocking’ you, because it thinks you are spamming the timelines of users. It also means understanding how often your users want to see your content. You will have to balance those two conditions, but it is easily achieved and down to your research about your followers. This is the point where your social media calendar comes in handy to show you when and where to post what. Because it will give you detailed information about when and how often each of your social media platforms needs to be posted on, depending on each individual audience.
So here you have three easy strategies for your social media optimization. As we are strong believers in data, we suggest a scientific approach to implementing those strategies. All three strategies are here to help your brand, but you need to test if and how they will help you. Don’t throw everything out the window what you have been doing so far. There is good stuff to be found. Change parameters one by one and see which social media optimization strategy works best for you.