Social media marketing strategies are a dime a dozen these days. Although most business leaders know that social media is important, few understand why or how to use it effectively. This lack of knowledge represents a missed opportunity for many small companies to capitalize on the huge marketing potential of Facebook, Twitter, and other popular platforms. You shouldn’t let the prospect of an aggressive push on social media overwhelm you, though. There’s a simple approach that can help you optimize your content across multiple platforms and generate unbelievable results for your business. The Benefits of Social Optimizing your social media profiles is crucial for any business because a strong social media presence can give you: Powerful consumer insights. Social media platforms are the best places to learn how your clients perceive your company. Interacting with users on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ gives you an uncensored look into customers’ opinions about your brand. Credibility. You can build your brand and reinforce your corporate message through social media by having authentic conversations with your customers. Valuable data. The quickest way to test content, client satisfaction, and any other metric is through social media. If you want data relating to the end user, look for it where everyone hangs out Remarketing. You’ve probably shopped for a product online only to see it advertised on Facebook later. That’s called remarketing, and it’s going to be huge. Social platform remarketing supplements search marketing, and it’s one of the best ways to use social networks. The amount of information that can be gleaned by tracking website visitors back to social is incredible. Reasons to use Facebook These reasons alone are enough to justify investing the time and resources into creating a powerful social strategy, but there’s one more factor that few people even consider: Facebook pages and profiles rank well on Google, and more and more people are using Facebook as a search engine. In fact, Facebook has a domain authority of 100 — the highest a website can get. That’s better than many of the big-name publications, including the Huffington Post and The New York Times. While Google’s algorithms don’t give weight to Facebook or LinkedIn pages with more likes or followers, they do crawl Facebook for keywords and happenings. Your business can take advantage of that weight. My company decided to test this theory last year during the West Virginia water crisis. When we Googled the event, results from news channels and national media topped the list. So instead of crafting a blog post for our site, which has less than half the domain authority of those other sites, we created a Facebook page that curated relevant news. We chose a trending Twitter hashtag as our page name, then we started posting. It’s no secret that Facebook is competing to become a prominent player in news delivery, but we wanted to see if people were actually getting their news from Facebook. It turns out they were! In just three days, we went from zero to more than 7,000 likes. Once we had an established base, we introduced content from our company blog to redirect readers who could become potential clients. As a result, our site’s Google ranking soared, and months later, it’s still 15th on Google’s search results. Our experiment showed us that we could use social media to leverage our content and improve our company’s rank on Google. Facebook users are increasingly searching for news within the platform itself, and ranking highly within these searches is much easier than ranking highly on Google because there’s less competition. There may be fewer searches on Facebook, but showing up in 10 out of 100 searches is a lot better than having your site appear as one of a billion results. A Starter Course in Social Media You won’t reap these amazing benefits without optimizing your profiles. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can follow to get started: #1. Identify keywords to target. These days, Google is so competitive that you can’t target five keywords for a single page or blog post. Facebook, on the other hand, can accommodate many more keywords and still maintain relevance. Figure out what the most frequent search terms are for your industry or service, and optimize them. In addition to using Google tools such as Keyword Planner, you can search for Twitter trends and Facebook autofill results. This will help you cater your efforts to the specific social media platform rather than Google. Remember: You’re trying to rank on certain social media sites, so use the platforms themselves in your research. #2. Create content that practically shares itself. Once you know what keywords you want to rank for, focus on creating content that’s worth sharing. Writing engaging, high-quality posts and articles — not fluffy click bait — is the first step in effective social media marketing. Our fast-paced, modern mentality means that readers decide whether to read a whole piece before finishing the first paragraph. Make sure your reader understands the article and has a reason to keep reading past the first few sentences. #3. Be intentional. Make your content, titles, and design work together effectively so there’s no disconnect or technical faults when readers scroll down the page. Pay special attention to your landing page. Viewers will click away if it’s bland or difficult to navigate. #4. Share every blog post, and tag people directly. Every time you post a blog or create some other piece of valuable content, share it with your network, and tag people who will re-share your content. Focus on your readers who have the biggest audience, but don’t tag people who are out of reach. Think big, but be realistic. #5. Tailor your posting frequency to each platform. Think about posting frequency in terms of how end users might interact with each platform. For example, most people check Facebook multiple times a day, so only post the same content on this platform two or three times a day. Modify your headlines, images, and calls to action for each redundant post. This allows you to adjust your strategy if your content goes viral. On the other hand, most users only check LinkedIn once a day, so feel free to post and repost (with new headlines, of course) five to seven times per day on this network. Limit all your shares and re-shares of redundant content to 48 hours before moving on. #6. Provide essential information. Make sure your contact information and social sharing buttons are clearly visible on every page of your site. Users should be able to contact you at any moment in the process, but don’t be pushy. Simply put your email or phone number on the header or footer of your site. For social sharing, install a plug-in such as AddThis if you use WordPress. Social media is an amazing tool — if you know how to use it. Once you figure it out, you can continue your brand’s story, add SEO value, and collect those valuable nuggets of customer data that inform your company’s strategy. So what about you? How do you optimize your company’s social media profiles? 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