Social Media Optimization (SMO) and Social Media Strategy
How to develop an efficient social media strategy
Google has always placed a special emphasis on natural backlinks created by users and not by search engine optimizers. Nowadays, however, more links are artificially created than naturally set. Rebuilding natural-looking links is becoming increasingly difficult. In recent years, social media has undermined structures that were long the preserve of search engines.
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, has been the best way to achieve a higher ranking in search engines through added value and interesting content. Google has always placed a special emphasis on natural backlinks created by users and not by search engine optimizers. Nowadays, however, more links are artificially created than naturally set. Rebuilding natural-looking links is becoming increasingly difficult. In recent years, social media has undermined structures that were long the preserve of search engines.
Social media has an influence on the ranking
As a result, Google can no longer escape the growing influence of social media as an important communication channel on the Internet. For a long time now, Google has been crawling comments written on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram in addition to posts. All included media, links, mentions and trends were included in the Google algorithm as additional factors to determine the position in the search results. The extent of the influence of these factors has not yet been clearly established. However, the first signs indicate that the number of likes, shares and comments have an influence on the ranking.
The social linking is important
Although all links from social media are marked with the Nofollow attribute, Google has confirmed the positive influence of links from social media portals on a page. “Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by making how many people shared an article.”
It’s not just links from users and social media profiles that can positively influence a page’s ranking. Backlinks are no longer measured only by PageRank inheritance, but actual traffic has also become an important quality factor. Which blog has the most influence? Which website gets the most traffic? The right combination of SEO and social media offers clear advantages for both channels and can improve rankings through strong interaction.
Content with added value is in demand
As with proven search engine optimization, the decisive factor in social SEO is content. “Content is King” is not a phrase, but a law. Interesting, funny content that fits the topic is often viewed and willingly shared. If this content is accompanied by graphics, images or videos, it causes more interest than just plain text.
To create added value, it is important to constantly fill the social media profile with interesting content and appropriate news through targeted community management. Incentives such as discount promotions or competitions encourage sharing and liking of articles and make the content more attractive. Through continuous support and the right use of brand names or important keywords, the profile can be brought to a successful ranking within the framework of Social Media Optimization (SMO).
Combine SEO and social media
As with social media marketing, there is also a residual risk or opportunity in SMO with regard to public criticism. Here, reputation management measures can be taken sensitively and promptly. Because social SEO with the self-dissemination of content still offers great potential for increasing backlink quality and the ranking of social media profiles in search engines. In addition, great success can be achieved for social media campaigns. It is important to intelligently combine classic search engine optimization with social media optimization and community management and integrate them into the existing strategy. Those who now take advantage of the ever-growing relevance of social content on the web will also be able to successfully implement future marketing campaigns.
Develop a social media strategy
Successful use of social media optimization requires the right strategy and tactics. Whereas previous marketing campaigns were only about customer loyalty, today the goal is customer loyalty. Users should no longer just be the target of marketing, but should recommend the brand with their own commitment and thus become brand ambassadors. The user becomes part of the brand, the brand itself becomes the medium. The right response mechanism and the ability of the brand ambassadors to engage in dialog are thus decisive for the success of the communication strategy.
The consumers of a product are not always the best ambassadors for the brand. Added value for communication arises where active and brand-loyal users act as multipliers for brand communication.The right selection of one or more social media channels is therefore immensely important for the implementation of the strategy.
The goal should be to develop consumers as brand acquaintances in the purpose of “fans” and brand advocates in the purpose of “godfathers,” with the user always at the center of the communication strategy. The goal is the transformation from non-user to loyal to actively loyal user.
Selection of social media channels
Which social media channels are used for communication must be decided depending on the type of communication. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are strong factors in influencing rankings due to their prevalence. However, blogs, microsites and forums also offer great potential for brand communication in combination with social media.
The following questions must be clarified in advance:
- Where is what said about my brand?
- Who buys our products and where?
- Who recommends our products? (Bloggers/ multipliers)?
- In which channels are they rated and discussed?
- Where and how does the competitor sell?
- Are there interest groups for the product/brand?
The choice of communication portal should depend on the type of information and the influence of brand ambassadors within the channel. The information must be tailored to the medium and the possibility of widespread dissemination must be given. Through cooperative marketing, users can be persuaded to recommend the brand on their own and become a part of it all. All insights resulting from the communication should be actively used and applied, for example, for the further development of the pro- ducts.
A precise awareness of the external impact of the brand is a prerequisite for defining suitable content for communication. The information disseminated must encourage the user to share and actively participate in the communication.
Before selecting the content, the following questions should be addressed:
- What makes the company/brand strong?
- How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
- What information from the company could be interesting for the user?
- Is there an unusual idea, e.g. something funny or out of the ordinary?
- What content offers potential for conversation?
Basically, the information should offer added value to the fan community. Videos, pictures and interesting news are very popular, but must always be relevant to the topic and the strategy being pursued.
A well-structured editorial plan is important to clarify which people can share information at which times. When selecting content, care must be taken to ensure that it can be pro- duced regularly. All information should be simple and understandable and get to the heart of the topic. In addition, each piece of content must have different ways of being shared. You should basically be aware of the fact that you have to publish a lot of content in order to get something back from the community. Producing and providing content is therefore a continuous task.
Develop an online profile
The correctly created online profile gives the company or brand a face and character. It is based on the existing brand image and is enhanced by a personal component that is intended to convey emotionality and credibility to the community. Blogging CEOs are no longer a rarity and are well received by the target group because they generate closeness and sympathy through active participation in the dialog.
A “face” for online communication
Before selecting the online representative, it should be clear that the selected face will appear in all social media channels in the future. Therefore, it is important to select a real existing employee who can carry information from the social media channels into the company. It is a great advantage if this employee is already strongly networked within the company. The language style of the employee should be adapted to the company/brand so that possible dissonance or irritation in the exchange with users is avoided.
Possible social media representatives
- Managing Director/ CEO
- Individual employee with full name and function
- A team of employees
The profile picture should be meaningful and, if possible, should not be changed. Because this significantly increases the recognition value. Another advantage: Google makes it possible to use images to search for other and similar images. The photo can thus later also be used in Google Image Search to find further content on the “face”.
Short description of the company/brand
A brief information about the position or function of the company/social media representative.
Look & Feel
The design of the social media profile should be based on the CI of the company/brand.
The profile should be subject to regular monitoring, as misuse of the online presence of brands/companies has occurred frequently. One way to avoid this abuse is to verify one’s account. Social media channels sometimes offer verification, but this is not available to the public. Alternatively, you can link to your social media profiles from your official website. The New York Times, for example, links from its official website to the Twitter profiles of its reporters.
As with search engine optimization, it is effective to target areas with low competition in social media optimization. The keyword or keywords should offer potential for optimization in social media services and in search engines. So if keywords are already occupied by large competitors in the first search hits, it is important to look for less optimized keywords.
Offer added value for users
Basically, of course, you should always make sure to place high-quality content on the pinboard and the rest of the like page. Important information and additional services, such as linking to other pages (consider SEO), increase the relevance of your own page. Guest posting on other blogs or moderating a forum helps build trust. This also applies to personally thanking users for helpful posts via email or direct message. Continuous participation in the conversation is the essential factor for successful communication.
The right timing of the posting
When is the right timing to post is determined by the target group. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify when the relevant users are online. This can vary greatly from target group to target group. Ultimately, however, the company must decide individually. However, it always makes sense to take a close look at the individual channels and the open/read/interaction rates over a period of at least 3-6 months.
Overview SMO for external websites
Basically, everything that promotes interaction in social networks is relevant for SEO. Likes, mentions, shares and comments all have the potential to generate link juice and positively influence the ranking of the target page. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised because negative posts can also appear in the search results in this way. It is not the number of links, fans or followers that matters, but the values and reputation of the links and the interaction of the fans and followers.
The main tasks of Social Media Optimization for external pages in the summary:
- Optimization of the target page with regard to social media services
- Generating inbound links
- Maintaining conversation and community
- Using personalized search results
Social media marketing does not have the most direct and strongest influence on SEO, but it significantly supports the visibility of your brand and your company. The prerequisite is good, emotional, unique and strong content as well as a good value of your own reputation. This is the only way to get people’s attention, give recommendations and spread (your) message.