Content is still the king of modern marketing. But the times have changed, and not any kind of content can rule the web today. “Good unique content” needs to die, as Rand Fishkin from Moz claimed. And he’s right! To rank higher on SERPs, get constant traffic to the website, gather leads, and build a strong community, you need 10x times better content than your competitors produce. And you definitely need content that people will gladly share across various social media channels. In other words, social media optimization is the way of promotion you can’t ignore! Today we offer you to define what does social media optimization mean and consider some tricks to make your content shareable.
What Does Social Media Optimization Mean
Even though SMO is connected to SMM, in this case, a specialist works with the promotion of a website, not social accounts. Its main aim is to get traffic to the site from social media, and it’s necessary to note that the ways of promotion and optimization will differ from common ones:
SMM professionals use various tools to attract potential customers on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and so on;
SMO experts work on website optimization so that those people who come from social media spend more time on pages and share the links with their friends.
Also, you may ask, what’s the difference between SEO and SMO? The point is that SEO guarantees the flow of visitors who come from search engines. Still, it’s essential to cover all the possible means and lure your followers and new users to the site, so it’s excellent if you combine the methods.
What You Should Pay Attention To First
Content – it should be readable and clear even to those who prefer scrolling; the font, colour, and size should match the website’s style; the text should include subheadings with appropriate tags and lists(bulleted and numbered), pleasant background. It’s essential to add eye-catching visuals and make visitors stay on your page longer.
Website structure, design, and colour scheme should support your content. It’s crucial to improve website navigation for a better user experience. While working with SMO, don’t forget to add a Share button/social links, subscription to the newsletter, forms for comments, and the opportunity to save content to favourites.
How to Maximize Your Social Shares?
After we’ve figured out what does social media optimization mean, let’s consider how to increase your social shares. First, you should explore the features of each social media platform of your interest and find out what kind of content gets shares, likes, and impressions. And create content that wows people. Wish to know how to do this kind of social media optimization? Read this guide!
Trending topics are highly discussed on the web. Thus people are most likely to share everything related to the trending topics of their interest. So if you can create content closely associated with the current trends, you can get tons of shares on social media.
You can check out Google Trends and see what topics are trending across various countries. Thus, today’s most popular search queries in the US are holiday shopping and baking cookies!
You can dig a bit deeper into the Google trends and check out the more detailed topics related to your business niche. Thus, one can see what additional questions people asked on search during the holidays, like “How to wrap a present?” or “What do I want for Christmas?”
Another good place for getting trendy topics ideas for your social media optimization is BuzzSumo. You can check out what’s trending on the internet on a monthly, daily, or even hourly basis. You can also choose the topics of your interest and set up alerts to get the emails when the new content on your topics appears.
Note: Twitter and Facebook also have sections in the sidebar for “What’s Trending.” They allow you to see the latest topics of interest. On Twitter, those are the list of hottest hashtags trending today.
2. Reach Out Influencers
Whether you are a startup in your industry or an established brand, getting industry leaders’ opinions can be beneficial to you. Gaining mentions from them may be pretty hard if you don’t know blogger outreach tools properly. But you can go another way and mention influencers instead. Thus you kill two birds with one stone:
You show that you’re aware of the latest industry trends and conversations inside it.
It increases users’ trust in you and your content as you’re providing a solid base for your opinions.
You have a chance to reach out to those influencers and ask their opinion about your content. And if it’s good – they may even share it with their readers.
So, you have two major social media optimization tasks: finding those who you can mention and including them naturally in your content. The first task you can perform with the help of various tools, including Google, Buzzsumo, Klout, and even Twitter. Thus, to find the industry leaders in your niche, you can type in your target topic or keywords into the Twitter Search and then check out the ‘Top tweets’ to find the best ones by likes and shares. Or you can also check out the ‘People’ section to find the top accounts.
You will probably be looking for:
Tweets with a good number of likes and shares;
People who actively share and comment on those tweets.
Thus you will find personalities who are experts in the niche of your interest and find out what content they are likely to share. Then you can create great content that is highly relevant to the topic and mention those experts in your tweets or Facebook posts. You can also reach out to them by email and ask for their expert opinion about your content. Most likely they will answer you or even share your content if it’s great.
3. Research Your Competitors
Knowing your competitors is helpful not only in sports. You’re targeting the same niche and the same audience. And those who manage to attract the most attention, followers, and customers – win the battle.
Learning what brings your competitors success and what content their audiences share can get you unique insights and provide you with great ideas for your own content. You can learn more about your competitors using tools like Ahrefs or Moz. Thus, drop your domain into the Ahrefs Site Explorer and check out the ‘Competing domains’ tab. It will show you this list of your competitors. When you already know who your competitors are, you can explore their ‘Top content’ and ‘Best by links’ pages to know what their users and customers like the most.
You can also do another kind of competitive research in Google by searching for the content by the topic. Thus, if you’re planning to create a post about content marketing trends in 2022, you can type ‘content marketing trends in 2022’ into the Google search field and check out the top content on this topic.
Then you have to create the content of much better, higher value and information. Cool content often ranks high and gets tons of shares. So what does social media optimization mean? It’s the chance to get your place in the sun.
4. Choose a Proper Content Form
This SMO marketing tactic may seem easy at first sight: creating content that everyone will like and wish to share. But what kind of content can it be?
People are more likely to share long-form content. Thus, articles of 2,000 words and above usually get the most of all shares.
Another great idea is creating the List posts. People like various lists and ratings they can discuss with their friends on social media. Another Buzzsumo study claimed lists along with infographics to be the most shareable content on the web. You can also use content repurposing to boost the impact of your top-performing content and reach new audience segments.
But the best content for sharing is the one that brings value to your audience. To know the values of your target audience, you should take a look back and analyze your past content. What topics you discussed earlier were the most popular among your users? What spurred the hottest discussions? There are multiple ways to interact with users and learn their values: from blog comments to discussions on Reddit or Quora.
5. Give Your Audience Reasons to Share
It’s a simple rule of social media optimization: to make people share, you should offer them something in return. Of course, you shouldn’t buy likes or hire people to share the articles. But you can push them to the decision to click the ‘Share’ button by offering them something for free.
The products to offer to your users can be different: from physical goods, like t-shirts or mugs with your logo, to discounts and digital items, like e-books, checklists, templates, etc. Then you have to choose the content for sharing and follow some easy steps:
Decide what the reward for those who share will be;
Write a post with giveaway conditions and set a timeframe when it ends;
Track the share and retweets. It’s easy to do on Twitter: you just count the number of retweets under your post. For Facebook, you have to state that users should share your post with the “Public” status;
Right after the deadline, review the shares and select the winner. It’s better to use some third-party service that randomly chooses the winner;
Post the status where you congratulate the winner and then send them the reward.
You can use some social media banners here to make sharing easy for users. Beautiful images and perfectly crafted visuals always attract attention, and people can’t stand the temptation to share a nice photo or picture.
6. Share the Content Regularly
Regular posting to social media accustoms your audience to wait for it to appear on a particular date and time. Some studies even name the best time for posting to social networks. You should consider posting at these times manually or schedule them in advance with a social media scheduling tool. The latter should be simpler as you can do it once a week or month. But in reality, the exact time in social media optimization matters less than regularity.
Another catch is sharing your content a few times. When you schedule the same post to appear on social media, you can reach out to a broader audience. Thus, you don’t have to choose the best time to share: you just reach the maximum audience from different regions and time zones.
7. Adjust the Content to the Platform
The social platform has the same idea: create a community of people who wish to share their opinions, events, content, and discuss all that stuff with others. But not all social platforms are created equal. Each of them has its own peculiarities and rules. So you have to tailor your content to the platform you wish to share it too.
Most brands actively use more than three platforms for their social marketing campaigns. And the truth is that there is no cookie-cutter template for the content for all platforms. You have to optimize your content, so it uses the strength of each social network. Thus, share posts that prove your professional expertise to LinkedIn, focus on photos on Instagram and provide more conversations on Facebook.
8. Use Sharing Triggers
It’s odd how many websites forget to give their users reasons and opportunities to share their website content to social media and complain about the low number of shares and likes at the same time. One of the most common mistakes in their social marketing strategies and social media optimization: they don’t even have the share bar on the article page! People are too lazy, and not many of them will bother copying the URL and pasting it into their social media statuses.
Here are a few steps you should take to trigger your content shares:
Install a share bar to your website to make the sharing process effortless for your users;
Get the plugins that allow you to turn small chunks of content into shareable quotes. It will look like in the screenshot below and make sharing amazingly easy.
Always invite your readers to comment, share and discuss your content. Thus, you should add a small paragraph with the “Share your thoughts in comments below” section.
All these social media optimization triggers will work perfectly with good content.
9. Create Useful Content
One of the earlier New York Times studies found out that about 90% of users share the content if they consider it useful and valuable.
To come up with content that will genuinely be useful to your audience, you should ideally know it. When visitors ask me what does social media optimization mean, I always answer that it’s also all about finding out what solutions your target users look for and how you can help them solve with your content. Try to get the idea of the “searcher intent” or the ways your target audience searches for your content. It includes keywords and key phrases your users may type into the search field. It would help if you shared the case studies that show how your users solve their problems with the help of your content and your product. People like to read such stories and gladly share them.
10. Appeal to Users’ Emotions
Emotions are another trigger that may push users to share the content. Remember all those funny videos and cute GIFs with puppies and kittens? They spur the pleasant emotions and make the content (and your brand) memorable.
You can trigger emotions in many ways. And you don’t necessarily have to post kitten videos every day. Choose an emotional story that touches people (like fires and global warming) and connects with them. Help to solve their problems, donate money to help them recover. But be honest and sincere, don’t do that just for likes and leads. Show that you really care, and people will join you!
Ways to Increase Your Organic Reach
Choose the platform that fits your business strategies more.
Pay attention to Instagram(reels, stories) and TikTok becoming extremely popular.
Use ads focused on your target audience.
Just Do It!
People actually love sharing. Social media offered them all the opportunities and made sharing a pleasant activity. So now you know what does social media optimization mean, and all you have to do for the sake of success is just give them the content they would wish to share. When creating your next article or making the infographic, include the recommendations mentioned above into your social media optimization strategies. And you will be rewarded with a good number of shares.
Allison is a professional content marketer and an inspired author. Marketing manager by day and a writer by night, she is creating many articles on business, marketing, design and web development. She loves working with website builders and CMS, and sharing her experience with the readers. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.
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