If your company has multiple social accounts, populates them with invigorating content and engages with your followers on a regular basis, you might feel your strategy is set in stone and going well. You feel you know how to reach new prospects. You deploy successful social campaigns, and you track the analytics with great outcomes. Then comes a change that throws off your whole plan.
Facebook did it first. Then Twitter and Instagram followed. The social sites now aggregate and fill feeds based on algorithms instead of chronology. This feature, while it might be attractive to users, can be potentially devastating to brands trying to reach customers organically. The posts your company has crafted with creativity and care have all but disappeared from feeds.
If a customer isn’t constantly engaging with your content, it will appear to the social sites that their priority is low for viewing what you share. When launching a new product or releasing new updates, social media used to be the best way to disperse the news. Now, those announcements could go unnoticed.
This is why social strategy reliant on social media keywords is becoming more important. This is the idea that your prospects will find you through a search. On social media this is done either by searching relevant accounts and hashtags or conducting a general search of the industry. But the only way you can harness the power of social media search marketing is to know which keywords your customers are using, the needs of those searching. This insight will lead to greater ROI and another way to measure the important return on your investments.
The first steps in implementing a search marketing plan, is understanding the difference of each site and conducting research about certain social habits and needs of the communities. This can be achieved by:
- Tracking popular and trending topics on Twitter and other social networks.
- Determining search/query frequency.
- Gauging market interest for products and services.
- Identifying demand for keywords.
- Understanding user intent.
- Discovering relevant points of engagement.
From this information, you can derive the most valuable social media keywords. A common misconception about these keywords is their similarity to general Internet searches. In fact, the difference is quite significant. Consider how often people search for “YouTube” or “Facebook” on Google. Then consider how often people are searching those same terms on those exact sites. The drop in numbers is incredibly stark.
It’s also important to think about behavioral differences across the platforms. With unique properties and features, users interact on each site individually. As you identify these realities, also keep in mind that when a user is searching a single word, it’s likely she is actually seeking an answer or conversation. Your strategy should become about how you integrate your keyword marketing with your social content to merge these two ideas.
The Twitter advantage is that the social site is essentially founded on the idea of keywords. The hashtag instantly qualifies a term or phrase and quantifies how the world is talking about it. While Twitter didn’t invent the symbol, they did originate and popularize the use of it to group all tweets about the same topic together.
Using hashtags is a highly effective way of gaining traction and visibility with customers. Tweets with hashtags receive 2X more engagement than those without. Every time you use a hashtag, you are joining a virtual conversation that anyone can monitor and join. Even better than the traditional hashtag is the trending one. Following—or better yet starting—a trend helps you see the level and need of customer engagement.
The hashtag practice is so successful, Twitter incorporated keywords into its business service. So for any company willing to pay for Promoted Tweets, that content is more likely to appear in users’ feeds who is already tweeting about that topic. For example, if an executive Tweets about using his CRM platform on a daily basis, Tweets from companies promoting CRM platforms will now be integrated into his feed. This keyword targeting helps reach your ideal customer. Tracking the engagement of these specific Tweets should reveal clear ROI about a promoted campaign and help you think wisely about your keyword strategy.
Facebook search has long been a place to quickly access a page you already like and want to visit. That all changed last year when the social site rolled out changes to its search function. Now search results will show relevant content from all 2 trillion Facebook posts in existence. That’s a lot of posts to sort through, so SEO becomes increasingly important to your approach to Facebook.
If that seems overwhelming and you want to abandon the Facebook element of your social plan, consider that nearly a billion people visit Facebook Pages every month, with 750 million of those views coming from mobile devices. And those are just the people seeking particular pages. Then consider the other views generated from suggested posts, paid content promotion and Facebook ads. With a platform as large as Facebook, not using it with SEO ideas would be missing out on a massive portion of potential prospects.
When tracking Facebook engagement, it’s all about the comments, likes and most importantly, shares. The more keywords you include in your posts, the more of these elements you are likely to experience, which makes measuring the ROI of your Facebook efforts easier.
If you’ve worked with SEO in other areas of your marketing, transferring those principles to your social media activity should be seamless. Simply apply your knowledge about your customers, your products and services and what insights you learn from researching social search behavior to create posts that are more likely to appear in news feeds and appeal to a customers’ needs.
With this arsenal of tactics, you can analyze and interpret the ROI of using such a strategy in such specific places. If you notice one keyword getting more engagement and shares than others, propel that success forward by using it more and working with similar ideas. The potential is there if you know what to search for.