When marketers think of optimization, they usually think of SEO, or search engine optimization
, the process of strategically tweaking content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). But optimization doesn’t start and end with your H1s and your metadata. Social media optimization is often overlooked, but important for brand building.
Sure, we’ll concede that social media doesn’t directly impact your SERP rankings, it does have a large indirect impact by affecting brand image, website traffic and local SEO rankings
. If your social profiles are feeling a bit disjointed lately, it’s time to get them back in alignment with a little social media optimization!
What is Social Media Optimization?
Social media optimization is the process of strategically updating and using online profiles to boost your brand’s web presence, marketing and SEO efforts. Keeping your social media presence neat and up to date is one strategy in your toolbox for attracting new users and nurturing current ones.
Like any optimization process, there are several degrees to which you can take the concept, depending on what works best for your team and your business. Social media optimization can mean performing the basics, like updating your “About Us” or “Bio” sections on your Facebook page and posting once per week. It can also mean dropping strategic keywords into your bios and posts and going all in on Facebook Messenger as the core of your customer service strategy.
Why Does Social Media Optimization Matter?
Your social media profiles are a representation of your brand as a whole. The picture you want your audience to see should be clearly and accurately reflected in your imagery, tone and voice on social media. Social media optimization matters for five key reasons:
1. Social media is often a first touchpoint for customers.
A brand’s social media profiles, no matter what size the company is, will often show up on the first page of Google results. Because so many of today’s consumers are so comfortable on social media, they tend to gravitate toward it on the SERP, or they’ll skip Google altogether and search your brand on Facebook or Twitter first.
When you add HR and recruiting efforts into the mix, this extends even further than your customers. You can easily lose a potential recruit if they’re greeted with a run-down, disorganized LinkedIn profile.
Whatever the case, too many users visit a social media profile first before moving on to your brand’s website. It’s much too big of a first impression to be ignored.
2. A social media presence shows customers your brand is modern.
In the Digital Age, brands are weird if they don’t have a Facebook page. To many users, lack of a Facebook page or Instagram profile immediately signals they’re dealing with a smaller business or one that’s not yet on board with modern forms of online business.
Younger generations have preferred online interaction for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has officially introduced many older consumers to the wonders of chatbots and online shopping
in and outside of work as well. While your competition branches out into marketing automation software strategies, online chat features and faster e-commerce delivery, having an online presence via social media is now your bare minimum.
3. Social media is a quick way to disseminate information.
Experiencing delays with shipping? Website momentarily down? Sold out of a certain product? Social media is the fastest way to let your customers know what’s up before they have a chance to ruffle feathers about it.
On a positive note, it’s also the fastest way to let customers know about deals, contests and other cool business updates. Having that fast, open line of communication with your customers is invaluable. It lets you provide accurate information on your own terms and control your brand image and narrative.
4. Updated social profiles makes your brand appear trustworthy.
What company are you buying from: The one that has a Facebook with a blurry profile picture that’s full of broken links and hasn’t been updated for six years? Or the one that posts regularly with a neat, clean appearance and a substantial audience of followers?
If you can’t be bothered to update your Twitter bio, why should your customers be bothered to search for your website on their own? Basic, up-to-date information makes it easy for them to find what they need when they need it. This is especially true of service-based business for which a “on top of it” professional appearance is key for a good first impression.
5. Social media has become a cornerstone of customer service.
While we would prefer, nay, love, for customers to file complaints through the website’s contact process or customer service hotline, the reality is that a consumer’s first instinct is to hop on social media for questions and concerns. This can be as gentle as asking for your business hours on Facebook Messenger or as harsh as sending out 10 tweets about a bad experience they had with your product and encouraging their audience to turn against you.
The worst possible outcome in this scenario is that you aren’t even on that platform to defend yourself. The best possible outcome is that you’ve established a presence and assigned a staff member to answer customer issues and queries. Or even better, you’ve used Facebook Messenger’s chatbot features to program in answers to common questions, leaving the customer satisfied they’ve received a great answer.
What Does Social Media Optimization Look Like?
One major obstacle we tend to see that makes social media optimization seem overwhelming is time. This is a fair point. Each social platform is in its own universe, and it’s counterproductive to update five different ones with the same information and techniques. When it comes to social media, there’s no shame in starting small.
Small, in this case, means limiting your social presence to a handful of channels and ensuring each one is updated appropriately. Go through the following checklist:
- Company Name: Ensure your company’s name is consistent across all channels. If your ideal Twitter username is taken, choose an alternative and make sure your Facebook and LinkedIn URLs and Instagram handle all reflect this change if possible.
- Website: Place your business’s website in the appropriate spot. Every social media platform has a designated space for your URL where users will know to check.
- Bio: Create a consistent “About Us” narrative. Twitter bios are limited to 160 characters, but Facebook gives you more room to expand. Create short and long versions of your brand’s messaging to convey your company within limited space.
- Profile picture: Use a consistent picture as your profile photo, ideally your company’s logo in monogram form. The picture should be clear and sized appropriately for the platform.
Once your social media profiles are consistent and well optimized with these basics, then you can move on to optimizing your content, or what you post. This is trickier than optimizing your profile for several reasons, mostly that each platform needs to be differentiated. Consumers log onto different platforms for different reasons, and your content should reflect this. For example, your Facebook may be designed to showcase company culture and human interest, but your LinkedIn may be reserved for product and service descriptions, company updates and blog posts.
If you feel that you can’t reasonably handle posting different content on different profiles, take a step back. Start by building up your presence and getting into the groove on one platform before moving on to tackle the others. And hey, maybe you’ll find that most of your audience really is on LinkedIn and you really don’t need that Twitter profile at all to market your custom snowplow parts. It’s all about what works for your audience and your brand.
Alongside or after content, you can also consider optimizing your customer service strategy as 70% of people
expect to be able to message a brand for answers. If you don’t have a staff member assigned to respond to tweets, messages and comments, find one immediately and ensure they have the tools they need to answer quickly and appropriately. You can also go a step further and use Facebook Messenger’s chatbot and FAQ features to respond to questions when that staff member is off duty.
Optimizing your social media
If you’re at a stage where you’re feeling pretty good about your online presence, then know that we are clapping, cheering and stomping our feet in your honor. Social media is like a puppy in that you can’t leave it alone for too long and if you think it’s being too quiet, then there’s probably something wrong. That constant demand for attention isn’t easy to keep up with.
To compound that, any good marketer knows that optimization never truly ends. The “rinse and repeat” part of marketing isn’t so sexy, but constantly improving is necessarily. Putting in the time and effort to make it happen is the key to taking your social media strategy to the next level.
thunder::tech is an integrated agency for a connected world. Every Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn post we’ve ever made is one part love and two parts strategy.
For more information on our social media services, click here.