- Add relevant, highly performing keywords and hashtags to your content to increase engagement from social media users
- Track your metrics to identify the posting times and types of content that perform best with your audience
- Adjust your content when posting on different social media platforms to reap the benefits of each
With social media marketing playing such a big part in today’s digital marketing strategy for most businesses (96% of small businesses use social media as a marketing channel), it makes sense to maximize—or optimize— your social media strategy.
Considering seven out of 10 Americans use social media, standing out on a crowded platform can be difficult—especially if you have limited funds or time.
Social media optimization (SMO) is a straightforward approach to maximize your performance on any social network. Here’s what you need to know about SMO, along with 10 tips to implement it successfully.
What is social media optimization?
SMO is the process of fine-tuning your social media content to better reach your target market and increase engagement with your content. It involves testing and analyzing different types of content to get better results.
SMO allows small businesses to better compete with established brands working with larger marketing budgets. By making small tweaks to your social media campaigns, you’ll gain more visibility and strengthen your relationships with current and potential customers.
How to optimize your social media strategy
Start improving your social presence with these 10 simple social media optimization techniques that can boost your reach and engagement.
1. Complete your social media profiles
A simple social media optimization technique involves completing every field on your profiles, which includes your business name, business description, profile picture, website URL, location/service area, and more. A complete profile offers users more information and signals that your brand page is active and professional.
Make your information consistent across all social media networks and the rest of your online presence so your brand is easily recognizable. For example, details on your Yelp Business Page should be consistent with those on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can easily add or claim your free Yelp Business Page to update any information.
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2. Experiment with different types of content
Social media optimization is all about finding what works best for your brand. Try new formats and types of content—like live video, photos, and infographics—to see how they affect the performance of your social media campaigns. You might discover your audience loves videos when all you’ve ever posted in the past were pictures.
3. Use the right hashtags
Using hashtags can help social media users find your brand when you share content relevant to their searches.
However, not all hashtags produce the same results. General hashtags (like #ootd and #plumbing) get more searches but are used by so many people that your post can get buried.
Niche hashtags (like #productphotography or #txrealestate) allow your post to stand out among smaller audiences that are interested in what you offer. Using a mix of both general and niche hashtags is ideal. Experiment with different combinations until you find the right balance.
4. Add keywords to your content
While hashtags help users find content, modern social media platforms also allow users to search with keywords, functioning a lot like search engines.
Leveraging the right keywords is a search engine optimization (SEO) tactic you can also implement in your social media content. Use a free keyword research tool to understand what search terms are trending, then use them within your social content where it makes sense.
Some social media posts, including those on platforms like Pinterest and Facebook, are indexed by search engines (meaning they can show up as a search result), so keywords can also drive traffic to your brand page from outside each platform.
5. Engage with your audience and brands
Remember that social media is a two-way communication channel. When users comment on your great content, don’t be shy about responding. They’ll engage with your brand even more if they see you’re an active and responsive business owner. Your method and style of communication will also help shape your brand personality.
You can even start conversations that’ll boost engagement with your brand. Consider commenting on other company pages—this allows you to be seen by their audiences, which might just be your target audience as well.
6. Work with industry influencers
Partnering with users who already have a strong presence on various social media sites can help boost your brand awareness (people’s familiarity with your brand) while increasing your page visits and follower count. Consider hiring influencers—including local ones with as few as 1,000 followers—to promote your products.
Work with influencers who align with your brand values, have a similar target audience, and have a good engagement rate (at least 1%). Reference the latest influencer marketing costs to get a sense of what you might expect to pay per post.
7. Create a data-backed posting schedule
The time of day you post content makes a difference, either helping or hindering your performance on social media. For example, your target audience likely won’t be awake at 3 a.m. to engage with your content—and on fast-paced platforms like Twitter, they might never see your post at all.
While you can use recommended posting times as a starting point, you should look at your own social media metrics to identify what posting times led to the most engagement on each platform. Also, the number of times you post each week affects your results—test out different frequencies to see how often you should post. Use these data points to inform your posting schedule.
8. Track key performance indicators
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics that tell you if you’re making progress toward your goals. For instance, the click-through rate for social media links is a common KPI when aiming to increase web traffic. You can also look at likes, shares, and saves to see what type of impact your content is having.
Tracking these metrics is essential for social media optimization. They’ll help you identify what content is (and isn’t) working so you can shift your social media marketing strategy to more effectively reach your goals.
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9. Optimize content by platform
Every social media app has different functionality. Twitter limits word count, while LinkedIn embraces stories. Facebook caps reels at 30 seconds while TikTok videos can run for several minutes. These sites are always updating their functionality too, so keep up on any changes they may release so you can take full advantage. Demographics on each platform differ too, meaning specific types of content will perform better on certain platforms.
While cross-posting the exact same content across all your social media pages can save time, it usually won’t lead to the best results. At a minimum, make small changes to your posts—like resizing your images to recommended dimensions or changing up your captions and hashtags—to take advantage of the unique qualities of each social network.
10. Add social media share buttons to your site
Your website can boost your social media marketing performance when you create website content—including blog posts, videos, and images—that’s easily shareable by your audience on social media.
Use ShareThis, AddToAny, or widgets offered directly from platforms like Twitter and Facebook to add sharing buttons to your website. These buttons allow your visitors to share your content to various platforms in just a few taps.
Adding social media follow buttons to your web pages makes it easier for potential customers to engage with your social channels.
Improve your social media presence and boost your brand awareness
Social media optimization can help you produce high-quality content for your audience and create a memorable online presence that drives more engagement. Start by completing all your social media profiles, implementing keywords and hashtags, and hiring influencers to reach more users through your account.
Be sure to track your metrics to understand what tactics and posting times are working as well as what changes you need to make to reach your goals faster. Once you’ve optimized your social media, learn more about how you can leverage social media for small business growth.
Hear from leaders in the social and video industries about how businesses can leverage these platforms to stay relevant and keep their audiences engaged—a panel discussion from the 2022 Women in Business Summit:
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.