Florian Fuehren

Have you ever looked at a social media account and thought of a haunted mansion? It may sound exciting at first, but really, it’s only fun to watch from the outside. Still, you may struggle to see the value in regular social media marketing. Or you do see it, but just can’t think of anything interesting to share.

If that’s you, you’re in the right spot. Today, we’ll cover everything from the business benefits of social media optimization (SMO) all the way to best practices for your profiles. Let’s dig in!

Benefits of Social Media Optimization

Look, we can admit that, as a digital marketing agency, we’re obviously biased when it comes to social media strategy. But even if we step outside our bubble, we can’t argue away the tangible benefits of optimizing your online presence beyond Google Analytics.

Let’s start with the obvious one: brand visibility. Now, we know what you’re thinking. Don’t dismiss this, saying it’s all smoke and mirrors. We’re not just talking about “branding” your product into your customers’ memory — which sounds cruel anyway. Yes, impressions in marketing are important, but solid brand awareness will serve your business way beyond sales and website traffic.

Each social network can be a great tool for turning your employees and customers into brand advocates. Sure, you can earn trust by showing up regularly. But when others vouch for you, it’s worth 10 times more. When an employee shares their positive experiences on their personal social media profile, it enhances your brand’s authenticity and credibility as a business partner and employer. That means recruitment and talent retention become way easier as more job seekers look for opportunities on a social platform.

Of course, social media sites also give you a great opportunity to engage with your customers, whether you’re responding to inquiries, addressing concerns or expressing gratitude for their feedback. Genuine social media engagement demonstrates responsiveness and a caring attitude, which enhance clients’ trust in your brand. 

By investing in regular exchanges with your customers, you can rely on them when you’re performing market research. That will be increasingly important as brands struggle to differentiate themselves. You’ll be gaining insights straight from your target audience while your competitors will have to fall back on bland reports based on industry averages.

Once your customers notice that you actively engage with them through educational content or even a response during a PR crisis, they’re more likely to become brand advocates themselves. Not to mention, a strong social media presence will give you countless opportunities for networking and strategic collaborations with other businesses and influencers.

From a technical standpoint, social media signals such as recent posts, likes, shares and comments could even influence your brand’s search engine visibility. In a neck-and-neck race with competitors, that might tip the scales for the next blog post in your favor. So you might consider it content optimization and put it right up there with other strategies like email marketing and web design.

How Do Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Complement One Another?

A question for the ages, usually followed by, “Which one is better?”

Social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are like peanut butter and jelly. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying one on its own, but once you combine them, it’s like magic.

At its core, SMO aims to optimize your brand’s social media profiles to increase visibility, credibility and consistency across platforms. You can think of it as a more goal-oriented subcategory of user experience design because you’re trying to create a seamless, user-friendly and engaging experience.

SEO, on the other hand, mostly refers to long-term inbound marketing strategies to rank for relevant industry keywords organically. This includes designing your content in a pleasing way to capture your audience’s attention. 

That said, you also need to strictly align your SMO efforts with your SEO strategy. After all, your social media channel could be considered an indirect search ranking factor, so it’s important to incorporate relevant keywords. 

When you throw paid advertising like Google Ads into the mix, you should keep in mind that you’re engaging with two different audiences. Paid ads in search get you users who already searched for a term, whereas those on a social media network reach users who may not even be aware of your offering.

So really, it’s a matter of how quickly you want to see results and in what way you engage with your audience. No strategy is inherently “better” than the other. SMO and SEO complement each other by trying to reach your target audience in different ways.

Digital Marketing Success Is All in the Numbers, and We Don’t Mean Followers

Once you dig into the nitty-gritty of digital marketing, you’ll quickly notice all the social media analytics available to track your success. Among engagement rates, conversion rates and other performance indicators, it can be challenging to understand which ones count (pun intended).

Ultimately, you need to know what you’re trying to get out of each social media post to answer that question. If you’re actively working to improve your customer support by offering live chats, then engagement rates will no doubt inform your strategy. If you’re A/B-testing variants for your online store checkout, it makes more sense to look at conversion rates.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to determine the most important metrics for brand awareness. It always comes down to your industry, branding choices and business strategy. While it can’t hurt to at least be aware of the average conversion rates for search engine ads compared to social media ads, your target audience may deviate from the median. 

So, before you pick your KPIs, make sure you know why you’re tracking them and what business objectives they represent. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time determining your marketing campaign’s ROI.

Your Battle Plan: 10 Best Practices for Social Media Optimization

Your SMO strategy should behave like a tailor-made shirt or dress, fitting your profile well enough for it not to catch visitors’ attention. Still, there are some best practices that suit many businesses, even though it’s crucial to personalize and adjust them for your needs.

  1. Profile Optimization

Optimizing your social media profiles includes more than just filling out the bio and jamming in a few hashtags. Every platform gives you access to slightly different target audiences, which is why you should leverage their unique features to appeal to each one.

Here on our blog, we tend to focus on the strategic side of marketing, which also means we’re often addressing marketing directors and other decision-makers. We do that on our LinkedIn profile, too, but that also includes a product page with information about the Brafton Content Marketing Platform. This is where we can lean into SaaS marketing a little and showcase individual software features or customers using our platform.

While those audiences overlap, we’ll focus slightly more on the end users of our software and adjust the tone to consider those who don’t use the software yet. Similarly, you may choose to address different demographics on Instagram and TikTok or mix up educational content with advertisements.

  1. Tagging Third-Party Accounts

One thing we shouldn’t lose sight of is that each social media platform is … well, social. By leveraging collaborations and partnerships, you can gather new business ideas while increasing your reach and engagement.

According to an analysis run by our own marketing team, LinkedIn posts that tagged Moz were among the top three when it came to engagement rates.

Try to consider big players in your field. Maybe there’s an influencer marketing opportunity you could leverage. Don’t just think in terms of what you would do in a business meeting, though. Some enterprises have had unbelievable success by collaborating with their competitors online.

  1. Boost Engagement Through the Platforms’ Features

Remember that we mentioned LinkedIn’s product pages earlier? You’ll find dozens of unique platform features, and your followers are just waiting for you to use them. Once you dig into the polls feature on Instagram or X, you’ll see your engagement skyrocket. The cherry on top? You’ll learn even more about your target audience.

Equally, you could co-host a live event in a split-screen format on Instagram or drive engagement on TikTok through interactive games. If you use a platform’s latest features, you can always be sure they’ll push your content through the algorithm. Plus, your brand will be known as the one on the cutting edge.

  1. Craft a Distinctive Brand Voice and Persona

Maybe you’ve been disappointed by a past social media campaign, but it’s important to keep in mind the countless voices yanking customers from one corner of the web to the next. Your best bet is not to yell louder but to develop a distinctive voice.

Craft a persona that resonates with your target audience, aligning your tone with your brand’s values. Consider the language and style that will speak to your audience. Whether it’s casual and conversational, professional and authoritative or a blend of both, consistency is key. When someone wakes up your customer in the middle of the night and asks them about your brand, their response should go beyond your brand color scheme. The more they feel they know you, the deeper the brand recall.

  1. Leverage User-Generated Content for Authentic Engagement

User-generated content is a gold mine of authenticity. Encourage your audience to create and share content related to your brand, turning them into active contributors to your online presence. Mind you, this is not just about reducing your ad spend; you’re trying to create a genuine connection with your community while learning about the way they use your products.

At the same time, user-generated content serves as a powerful testimonial, showcasing real people experiencing and endorsing your products and building trust in your brand. 

  1. Experiment With New Content Formats

We’ve already mentioned polls and interactive games, but staying ahead in the social media game means embracing the constant waves of content formats washing over all of us. Experiment with cutting-edge formats such as live events, augmented and virtual reality or 360-degree videos to captivate your audience in a way they haven’t seen before.

Many of these formats foster a sense of immediacy and connection, immersing users in your brand story and making each engagement more memorable. Make sure you’re aware of the new technical challenges that may cause. 360-degree videos, for instance, can offer a unique behind-the-scenes perspective into your business, but you better know what users might see in every corner of your premises.

  1. Craft Shareable Content for Maximum Engagement

Dive deep into your audience’s interests and pain points to craft tailored content that captures attention and encourages sharing. Embrace a variety of formats, including memes, infographics, checklists and carousels with step-by-step guides to cater to different preferences and browsing habits. Experimentation is crucial; try out different types of content to discover what works best for your brand. 

By addressing your audience’s needs directly and providing valuable, share-worthy content, you can boost your social media strategy and foster meaningful interactions. Focus on producing posts that precisely meet your audience’s expectations, ensuring widespread sharing and impact.

  1. Use Data-Driven Personalization

Harness the power of data to personalize your social media interactions. Analyze user behavior, preferences and demographics to tailor your content and engagement strategies. Social media algorithms prioritize personalized content, making users more likely to engage with posts that resonate with their interests.

If you implement data-driven personalization by segmenting your audience, it’s easier to deliver targeted content for each interest group. Whether it’s through personalized recommendations, exclusive offers or tailored messages, make your audience feel seen and valued. The more relevant your content, the higher your chances of fostering lasting connections with your followers.

  1. Engage in Social Listening and Community Building

Beyond broadcasting your message, you should actively engage in social listening and community building. Monitor conversations related to your brand, industry and relevant keywords to understand your audience’s sentiments and concerns. These invaluable insights allow you to respond promptly, demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction.

Building a community involves fostering a space where your audience feels appreciated. Encourage discussions, ask for feedback and create a sense of belonging. By actively participating in your community, you not only strengthen brand loyalty but also gain valuable input for refining your products and services.

  1. Maximize Accessibility and Inclusion

We’ve covered this to a degree under optimization for voice and visual searches, but this goes beyond discoverability. It’s crucial to ensure that your content is accessible to individuals with disabilities by providing alternative text for images, closed captions for videos and user-friendly design. Embrace diversity in your visual content to represent various perspectives and experiences.

You can make the celebration of cultural events and diverse voices an integral part of your brand to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. If it suits your business objectives, you might even consider engaging with your audience in multiple languages, breaking down language barriers. Maximizing accessibility in the broadest sense not only aligns with ethical considerations but also broadens your reach, making your brand resonate with a more extensive and diverse audience.

So there you have it. You’ve got your strategy and best practices. Now, it’s time to get social!