Social Media Optimization: Tips, Tools, Examples (& Checklist)

Social Media Optimization: Tips, Tools, Examples (& Checklist)

Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. That said, it takes a lot more than posting every once in a while on a couple of social channels to amass a loyal audience.

If you want to capitalize on social media and take your brand forward, then you need to take SMO and social management seriously. This means:

  • Choosing the best social media platforms for your needs.
  • Having an in-depth understanding of each channel and your audience.
  • Managing your social media presence for brand consistency.
  • Defining a concrete posting schedule for all social networks.
  • Using the right tools (including analytics tools) for effective social media marketing and audience engagement.
  • Leveraging the best practices in the industry.

We are going to cover all of this today and so much more.

Here’s your guide to social media marketing on how to optimize your presence and leverage SMO to succeed in the competitive social media world. Oh, and there’s a handy checklist at the end for you to download.

Enjoy.


Table of contents:

What is Social Media Optimization?

Social media optimization (SMO) is a big part of social media management and digital marketing. It’s a marketing practice that encompasses social outlets, tools, and communities you can use to increase awareness of your brand, product, or service online.

Essentially, this means taking full control of your social media presence and online reputation to engage and grow your audience. It also means utilizing social networks to drive traffic to your site and boost search engine optimization in the process.

It might come as a slight surprise, but SMO is an increasingly important element of SEO. This is because Google and other search engines are using social signals and user behavior to set the best websites apart from the competition, as was discovered by CognitiveSEO.

Remember, Google is committed to delivering the best search experience for every user in their target market, and social cues play a vital role in that experience.

It’s one of the reasons why you have to pay attention to your social media metrics and how they influence your standing in the search results. By the way, here’s the checklist of the most essential social media metrics if you need one:

Now that you understand what SMO is, let’s take a look at the key benefits it brings and how it can boost your digital marketing efforts.

What Are the Benefits of Social Media Optimization?

SMO can generate a lot of value for your brand in the online world, and there are a few distinct benefits to optimizing your social media.

Here’s how SMO can give your brand a competitive edge:

Let’s consider each of these benefits individually. 

Enhance your SEO efforts

We mentioned before that SMO is nowadays an important part of search engine optimization. After all, SEO is not just about keyword research and website performance.

And because SEO is such an important part of digital marketing and your success online, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to expand your online presence. Social media is one of those tools.

Keep in mind that social media encompasses:

  • Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • RSS feeds.
  • Social news sites.
  • Video sharing websites like YouTube.
  • Blogging websites.
  • Online forums and groups.

You can use all of these to boost your SEO and drive traffic to your website.

Google and other search engines monitor the social cues from users around the world and figure out which brands are trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant. They do this by crawling through reviews, comments on social media posts, checking like to dislike ratios, whether people share your posts, and more.

The better these metrics are, the more relevant will your social channels and your website become in the eyes of the search engines.

Drive traffic to your website

There are two key ways SMO helps you drive traffic to your website: through better SEO and directly via social platforms. By using the social cues and metrics we talked about before, Google and other search engines can improve their recommendations in organic search.

This is how SMO helps you boost website traffic and lead generation with a better ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

On the other hand, SMO also allows you to leverage the best type of content on every platform to directly take people to your website. This can be an interesting image, an educational blog post, or a number of shareable content forms with a strong CTA.

According to a case study from Unbounce, simply changing the copy in the CTA from the second person to the first person can result in a 90% increase in CTR. So that’s something to keep in mind – instead of using “You” or “Your”, try using “Send me My Free eBook” or “Get My Free Worksheet”.  

CTAs are especially important when you’re trying to inspire people to follow a link to your website from social media. You need to provide value to the user with your CTA messaging and use personalization to make it relevant.

You can personalize a CTA to use the tone of voice and wording commonly used by your target demographic.

Boost interaction with great content

No matter how many social channels you’re on (hopefully, you’re doing more than just Instagram and Facebook posts), you want to inspire engagement and interaction as much as possible. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but essentially because you want to tell Google that you’re relevant and trustworthy.

Every positive interaction (like when people share content they enjoy) with your customer is a small cue for the search engines that you’re an authority in the industry. But beyond SEO and search engines, every interaction is a chance to generate a lead and build a positive brand image.

You can inspire engagement and interactions by simply posting a question or an update, but that’s child’s play.

If you want to take your SMO to the next level, you will:

  • Find good topics to write about and post quality content on social media.
  • Create high-quality images with impactful messaging.
  • Post infographics with actionable and useful data.
  • Organize live events.
  • Increase awareness through relevant causes.
  • Post regularly, sticking to a detailed posting schedule.

This will inspire people to leave comments, like, and share your posts, and it will boost retweets on Twitter and improve your reach on social media in general.

Improve customer service and experience

You might think that social media marketing is just a way to boost your following and brand awareness. And you would be partially right, but there are many other benefits to optimizing your social media presence. One of them is better customer service and experience.

You have probably heard that nowadays, people want omnichannel experiences - here are some examples from HubSpot. When a customer has a problem or a question they want to tackle, they might send you an email, but they also might reach out via social media chat.

This is a way for them to interact quickly with a brand without waiting for an email reply. As you might have guessed, this is your opportunity to take your customer service to the next level.

Your customer service agents need to be able to assist your existing and potential customers on social media and engage with users via chat to boost their experience. Most importantly, this will be yet another support channel that you can leverage for marketing and sales purposes.

Increase word of mouth for your brand

Shares, likes, comments, retweets – these and many other interactions are great for boosting word-of-mouth marketing. And as you know, WOM is essential for lead generation and conversions, as 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family, according to Nielsen.

This is another opportunity to improve your brand’s visibility and earn the trust of the online audience. You can use social listening tools and services to find out exactly how much people are talking about your brand and in what context.

Over the mid and long term, social listening will allow you to optimize your posting and interactions for maximum WOM.

Become the authority in your industry

Building social proof is among the most effective ways to guide qualified leads towards a sale. Why? Because people trust other customers more than they trust your fancy digital marketing material.

Converting a potential customer is a difficult task, which is why you need to build social proof in order to create a trustworthy brand image. Luckily, there are many ways to build social proof, and social media optimization is one of them.

You can build social proof effectively by:

  • Showcasing your positive reviews and ratings.
  • Highlighting the best customer testimonials.
  • Inspiring people to tag you in their posts.
  • Turning negative reviews into success stories.
  • Partnering with authority figures in the industry.

Creating social proof for your brand is one of the more inexpensive marketing tactics that will help you generate loyal repeat customers.

5 Social Media Optimization Tips to Help You Get Started

You now understand what SMO is about and the key benefits it brings, now let’s talk about how to do it yourself. We’re not going to waste time with the basics that you already know – but if you need those too, here they are:

  • Update your profile and cover photos.
  • Create clear and detailed profile descriptions.
  • Ensure brand consistency on every social platform.
  • Identify the best time to post on Instagram and other social media networks.
  • Stay active and engage with your followers in meaningful conversation.

With the basics out of the way, let’s talk about the advanced SMO tips you can get started with right away.

Tip #1: Use a positive and individualistic tone of voice

The tone of voice is an important element of brand identity, alongside visuals, personality, and brand values. Your job is to align your company’s tone of voice with the unique sensibilities of your target demographic.

This means that you need to use the right vocabulary, structure, and sentiment in your communication with customers to maximize social media engagement. After all, people will only develop meaningful relationships with brands that resonate with their hearts and minds.

To that end, it’s important to keep things light, positive, and relevant. You also want to have a unique brand voice that will make you more memorable in the saturated social media world.

Example: Zappos

Credit: Zappos

Zappos is a great example of how a positive tone of voice can affect a brand’s image online. The popular clothing brand is known for its exceptional customer service, but it's also revered by customers for its distinctly friendly and lighthearted messaging.

Zappos keeps their social media followers engaged and puts a smile on their face with every post – and so should you.

Tip #2: Tap into the new social networks like TikTok

It should go without saying that you should have a presence on all staple social media networks. These include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Quora
  • Reddit

That said, you also need to stay on top of the social media trends and include new platforms into your strategy. TikTok, for example, has grown immensely in the last two years, so you should consider using TikTok to promote your business as well.

Consider the fact that TikTok is a powerful gateway to other social networks as well, with over 85% of TikTok users saying that they use Facebook and other platforms. This should tell you that trending social media networks can help your brand gain exposure, followers, and loyal customers.

Example: Chipotle

Credit: Chipotle

TikTok can work for almost any company in any industry. Chipotle is definitely one of the most successful examples of how lighthearted, humor-rich videos can elevate a brand’s standing online.

By monitoring the TikTok trends, chipotle was able to generate over 240 million views with its #ChipotleLidFlip challenge and 430 million views with the subsequent #GuacDance challenge. This is powerful social media marketing right here, so don’t be afraid to venture onto new social media networks yourself.

Tip #3: Leverage hashtags to build engagement

Hashtags are also powerful tools that brands can use to make their posts and products more discoverable across various social media platforms. It’s also a good way to boost your social media accounts. Clicking on a hashtag will allow a user to explore more content related to a story, product, service, brand, or anything in between.

As a business leader, you can choose to integrate popular hashtags into your posts, but you can also create hashtags yourself to inspire engagement. Researching trending hashtags in your industry is easy enough – simply search on Google and monitor the hashtags your followers use on different social networks.

Remember not to use too many hashtags, but keep your posts looking clean and feeling relevant. Pick one brand-specific hashtag that you created, along with a couple of general hashtags.

Example: Boohoo

Credit: Boohoo

Boohoo, a popular men’s and women’s clothing company with over 8.3 million followers on Instagram, is a good example of how you should use hashtags in your social strategy. Every new campaign and promotion they launch has its unique brand-specific hashtag that helps spread the word about the campaign.

The brand also tags influencers and relevant people in their posts and usually complements the post with another appropriate hashtag.

Tip #4: Diversify your content strategy

Social media content comes in many forms. You can’t just stick to one or two types of content if you are to engage your target audience. To build your following, grow, and keep existing followers interested, you need to diversify and post a mix of original content across social media platforms.

Luckily, there’s plenty to choose from, including:

  • Images and infographics.
  • Quotes and shareable short-form content.
  • Long-form content or links leading to your articles.
  • Videos.
  • Livestreams and events.
  • Polls and surveys.
  • Competitions and quizzes.
  • Lead magnets.
  • User-generated content.
  • Giveaways.
  • News posts.
  • Product or service posts.

Offering a variety of content on your social media channels will keep your followers entertained and will boost the share value of your posts.

Example: PlayStation

Credit: PlayStation

PlayStation, believe it or not, is the most followed brand on Twitter, with more than 22.4 million followers. There are many reasons why PlayStation is so popular on social media sites, one of them being content variety.

PlayStation posts video game trailers, interviews, live streams from gaming events, professional and amateur gaming highlights, and more to keep its audience entertained. If there’s one thing you can learn from them, it’s to never settle for just one type of content.

Tip #5: Use influencer marketing to your advantage

Partnering up with influencers is a double-edged sword, but if you find the best people to represent your brand, it can skyrocket your social media presence. The right influencer can inspire their followers to buy your products and become your loyal customers by building social proof for your brand.

That said, if you choose the right influencer, you won’t get much out of your partnership. That’s why micro-influencers are so important nowadays. These are the people with a big enough following (between ten thousand and up to two million) to boost your WOM and incentivize their tight-knit audience to buy something.

These are the influencers you want to partner up with, but make sure that they share your brand’s values and carry a positive image. After all, you don’t want to be associated with the wrong person.

Example: Gymshark

Credit: Lex Griffin

Gymshark is one of the leading fitness apparel brands online. Their £73 million rise in revenue in 2019 is largely due to their influencer partnerships. The brand focuses on partnering up with influencers with a sizable following but stays away from the huge names that may have an adverse effect on the brand’s image.

As a result, their influencer-focused social media strategy has brought the company exponential growth every year. Consider reaching out to micro-influencers in your niche to start building your social media presence.

Of course, you don’t have to do all of this manually. There are some great tools out there to help you with optimizing your social media with minimal effort.

5 Tools for Optimizing Your Social Media Performance

Social media optimization is a process  that takes time, skill, and consistency to generate results. That said, it doesn’t mean you have to handle everything on your own or that you need to handle all social posts manually.

Rather, you can complement the social media optimization techniques we talked about with some intuitive and automated tools. Here are some solutions that will make SMO a breeze.

Postoplan

Credit: Postoplan

Postoplan is a comprehensive tool that allows you to create a detailed posting schedule for all your social media platforms. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the key features include:

  • AI-driven content recommendations.
  • Create beautiful visuals with a graphics AI-powered editor.
  • Post at the right time on all social channels with AI recommendations.
  • Visualize your posts on all social networks.
  • Create a detailed posting schedule.
  • Automate your posting and focus on other important tasks.
  • Communicate directly with subscribers from a centralized hub.
  • Use the tool’s massive photo library for your content marketing needs.

You can use Postoplan to schedule your posts on various social media platforms, including:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • WordPress
  • Telegram
  • Slack
  • Google My Business

With Postoplan, you can save valuable time and money but also ensure that you develop your social media strategy for maximum results.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is another popular tool with two major features: content discovery and influencer research. The tool allows you to discover the most relevant and impactful content in your industry and then generate your own content marketing ideas and quality content.

On the other hand, BuzzSumo is also a great tool for finding and reaching out to the best influencers for your brand and target audience. With plenty of features to filter your search and meaningful metrics that go beyond follower counts, you will have no problem finding the influencers that matter.

Canva

You might not have designers on staff, and you may not be willing to spend money on outsourcing. But you still need to create beautiful visuals for your social media marketing campaign.

Visuals play a vital role in SMO and content marketing on social media, which is why it’s a good idea to get a tool like Canva.

Canva is a simple tool with plenty of illustrations, templates, icons, and pictograms, and other visuals you need to create immersive imagery. The aim of this tool is to make your visuals look professional and bring quality to your social media strategy without putting a dent in your budget.

Buffer Reply

Buffer Reply is a child tool of Buffer, the popular social media tool with plenty of features. While Buffer itself provides everything from publishing to analytics and engagement features, Buffer Reply is tailor-made for marketers and support staff.

This tool allows you and your team to engage with your followers across social media channels in a single organized inbox. You can also monitor conversations across social networks based on handles, relevant keywords, hashtags, ads, comments, reviews, messages, and more.

Animoto

Credit: Animoto

Finally, it’s also important to create engaging videos in order to fully capitalize on SMO. Video marketing is becoming more popular by the day, and it’s important to note that video posts on social media get 48% more views, according to The Marketing Helpline.

Now, Animoto is a particularly interesting tool you can use because it will help you turn your photos and videos into professional content. With its intuitive design, beautiful templates, complimentary audio files, and drag-and-drop features, Animoto is everything you need to create an engaging (albeit simple) video for your social media marketing campaign.

Now that we have covered the tools any small business can use to boost brand awareness on social media, here’s a handy checklist for you.

Downloadable Checklist for a Solid Social Media Optimization Plan

Did you think you would have to go through all of this every time you get stuck or can’t remember what you need to do next? Relax, we’ve got you covered!

We want to make this process as efficient for you as possible, which is why we have created a free SMO checklist. 

Here’s how to use it:

Tip 1

On the left, you will see a list of steps. Each step has its own set of actions you need to take.

Tip 2

You can do the actions in the order that best fits your internal processes or simply follow the list.

Tip 3

Each action will have its status bar, which you can set to Not Started (red), In Progress (yellow), or Completed (green). This will give the team a good overview of the workflow.

Tip 4

Be sure to leave comments, suggestions, and ideas in this section to let other team members know what’s on your mind, what needs to be done, and more.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

Feel free to download this handy checklist and use it to optimize your social media marketing strategy with ease.

{Get My SMO Checklist}

Do You Need a Social Media Optimization Agency?

Social media optimization is a time-consuming task that never really ends – it’s about continuous optimization and fine-tuning. With that in mind, you might start wondering if you should outsource SMO services to an expert team and focus on other tasks.

The answer is, as with all things, yes and no.

There is no better solution here, as you should base your decision on a few key factors. These include:

  • Your budget capabilities.
  • Your industry and the challenges within.
  • How stiff the competition is in your social media circles.
  • Whether or not you have the talent in-house who can tackle this challenge.
  • Whether or not you know how to leverage social media insights for other digital marketing efforts.

If you have the money to invest in social media optimization experts, go right ahead. Likewise, you can do this in-house by following the tips and methods we outlined today and by using the right social media optimization tools.

If you decide to work with an external SMO team, then make sure that these professionals follow the aforementioned best practices.

With all of that in mind, let’s wrap everything up and take a look at some key takeaway points.

Wrapping Up

Do you feel you now know how to optimize social media and your entire strategy for maximum results?

We sure hope you do.

If you should ever get stuck, make sure to refer to these optimization tips again and start using the tools for social media optimization that will boost engagement, brand awareness, and even your SEO.

In the end, make sure to stay consistent and keep optimizing your social strategy to achieve your digital marketing goals.

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