Do you know what social media optimization (SMO) stands for?
It’s the optimization of your social communication channels for maximum exposure and conversion. Like SEO, it’s increasing the probability of being found, seen and interacted with.
A few years ago, search engines were the single most important destination to searching and finding information. Search engines, especially Google, were getting the vast majority of the web’s traffic and it was logical to go there and optimize your content to get search engine traffic. Search engines have created a very large industry which is SEO and that’s what social networks are doing right now.
With top social media platforms getting insane amounts of traffic, the logical move now is to not only focus on search engine traffic, but also the traffic hanging in those social platforms.
Search engines are still the biggest traffic referrer today, so it’s advisable to make use of both search engine optimization and social media optimization.
How social media optimization will help my business?
The worst thing that can happen to you is when you have a great product or service that nobody sees. Using social platforms isn’t going to do you any better unless you know how to optimize them for maximum conversions. Social media optimization will help you build a targeted audience fast and facilitate communication with them across your social channels. It will also help you generate targeted traffic back to your main website so you can lead it through your various conversion funnels. It’s also great for social proof, not to mention that it will help you spread your valuable messages like wildfire.
So how social media optimization works?
To help you make the most out of your social media marketing efforts, here are 5 social media optimization tips that will turn you business into a customer magnet.
1- Have a consistent brand image
The single most important thing that you should be maintaining across all of your social communication channels is definitely brand image consistency. You don’t want your follower to feel like they are talking to different brands when they find you on multiple social platforms. Your website/blog and all of your social platforms should share the same message, voice and picture.
The first step in maintaining a consistent brand image is to use the same colors/design across all of your social channels. Let’s take a look at Coca-Cola for example:
Did you notice anything in common?
Coca-Cola is using the same colors and even photos across their social platforms. They mainly do this to make it easy for their customers to memorize and recognize their brand. It doesn’t matter if you land on their website, Facebook page or Twitter profile, because you’ll instantly know that you’re at Coca-Cola’s.
The second ingredient to a consistent brand is to talk with the same voice to your followers. It’s true that each social platform is meant for a different type of discussion, but they should all speak one voice, the one of your brand.
Successful companies who are making the most of social media have developed a unique bond with their customers through a unique voice. Their customers will recognize, interact and engage with their brand whenever they read their statuses and tweets.
Having a consistent voice is also crucial to a successful social media optimization. You have to look at what your followers like the most and try to develop unique discussions that represent your brand. For example, when I see the word “WooHoo”, I instantly realize that the update belongs to Mari Smith!
2- Work on your content:
If you’ve been doing social media marketing for a while, then you must know that good content is the fuel of any successful social media marketing campaign. I’m also sure that this is probably the gazillionth time you hear the phrase “Content is King”!
If you want to optimize your social media presence, then you need to develop an outstanding content. Great content attracts likes, shares, comments, retweets…etc, and all of these drive more traffic and by that more business.
Content isn’t the only thing that you should be looking after when doing social media optimization, you should also pay close attention to how you feed your audience that content. Applying some copywriting to your status updates and tweets will amplify your response and result in a much bigger conversion.
The type of content you should be developing differs from market to market. What you need to do is to start with you best guess (If you don’t have an audience already) and then work your way up to creating content that you know for sure your audience will like and appreciate.
When we say content, it doesn’t necessarily mean written one. You can create podcasts, infographics or videos depending on your audience preference. You might also want to diversify your content types as much as you can to make it easy for everyone to consume it.
3- Make social sharing as easy as a button click
In today’s web, people are very busy to the point that they won’t allocate more than 5 or 10 seconds to helping you spread your content. If you don’t make it easy for them to share your content as a button click, then you’re not giving a fair chance to your great content to get the appreciation it deserves.
On hqsocialmedia.com, I use a very useful plugin called “Digg Digg” from Bufferapp.com. This floating bar makes it super easy for readers to share my content with their followers and friends. I use many other plugins like the Wibiya toolbar and the shareaholic plugin. All these plugins increase the shareability of my content by making it super easy to share it. If you mix it with good content and some creative calls to action, you get the perfect mix of getting your content seen by other people who might not be directly into your network.
4- Optimize your landing pages
Many people think that traffic is the goldmine of online marketing. Many of them spend a lot of time on traffic generation, and when they reach a certain point; they’ll discover that their traffic isn’t converting.
If your traffic isn’t converting well (in terms of leads, sales or any other action), then there are 2 explanations for this.
• Your traffic isn’t targeted or interested in what you’re saying or offering. It’s like the traffic that comes from social bookmarking websites. They might find your headline interesting and click on it by curiosity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are interested in what you’re offering. For me personally the highest bounce rate is from traffic coming in from these social bookmarking services. Having non-targeted traffic is almost like having no traffic at all. Before you go and spend lots of time, effort and money into traffic generation, you first need to make sure that most of your traffic is targeted and interested in what you’re saying.
• You might get targeted traffic but you don’t have optimized landing pages that have high conversion rates. In this case, split testing is your friend. You might want to experiment with different combinations until you hit the “Sweet Spot”.
Optimizing your landing pages is crucial for every successful social media optimization strategy. It’s true that it differs depending on what action you want that traffic to do, but it all have the same principals. Most business owners want email subscribers (leads) that they can later drive through a sales funnel.
If you’re referring to a new piece of content on your blog, then you might want to optimize your blog to convert that referral social media traffic. You should put an email optin box above the fold so it will be visible to readers without them having to scroll down. You could also use a light box (like the one I have in hqsocialmedia) and make it appear after a set of time. I use a WordPress plugin called PopUpDomination. You can also use the one that Aweber (affiliate link) provides and customize them to have the look and feel of your website.
Another important thing you should keep in mind is to always use some copywriting to help your visitors decide on joining your list. People are getting sick these days from subscribing to email newsletters to discover that they offer no value, so you better be prepared to give value and deliver those promises you made in your landing page.
5- Socialize your brand
That might seem obvious to most people, but I still see those old-school marketers who think that they can sell ice to Eskimos. Social media is different from other traffic sources. The traffic that comes from social platforms has different standards and expectations. If you want to convert that traffic, then you need to socialize your brand.
You can socialize your brand by putting a comment section in your blog. Thanking people who mention you in their tweets. Replying to comments on your blog and Facebook page. Mention other people. Solve your customers’ problems. Reward your power users…etc
Socializing your brand shouldn’t be too hard for you or anybody else as we’re social beings by nature. The point is to strategically make use of the social aspect to grow your social-proof brand as sometimes just being social could waste you a lot of resources.
So tell me, have you done any social media optimization that resulted in significant changes in your business. Tell us in the comment section below. Good luck!
Image Credit: brendan-c