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The world of digital marketing is filled with trendy terms and buzzwords; social media optimization (SMO) happens to be the latest. SMO is about implementing certain changes which can help optimize a website so that it is more visible in social media searches, more easily linked to and included in relevant blog posts. The methodology it involves is used to improve online branding and awareness.

SMO doesn’t unfold exclusively on social networks; it actually starts on the websites owned and operated by a brand. The idea is to have prospects and customers return to these websites since this is where conversions and sales take place.

Essentially, SMO involves producing website content according to a strategy that calls for social media engagement, which includes sharing and gathering comments. The idea is not limited to branding; SMO is also mindful of how search engine algorithms have been updated to notice the social media reaction paid to website content.

The Importance of Social Media Optimization

The goal of SMO is to drive traffic to your website by optimizing it so its content is easily shared across social media channels. Depending on how interesting and shareable your content is, it has the potential to drive a lot of social referral traffic to your site. Since search engines take social signals into account when ranking content, good SMO will also lead to improvements in search engine optimization.

With social media sites generating a lot of traffic to more and more websites, optimizing your content for SMO is extremely important. Take a look at these five tips that can help you with social media optimization.

1. Produce High-Quality Content

High-quality content is the cornerstone of a winning SMO strategy, which translates into the allocation of resources and investing in the production of irresistible content. First of all, the content must be produced with the intent of connecting with readers, eliciting interest, providing insight, answering questions, and offering value. The more value your audience finds in your content, the higher the chances they will share it.

You shouldn’t post relentless sales pitches on your pages. Instead, you should inform your audience of the story of your company and explain to your customers how you can solve their problems. Your audience should find value in your posts which will gently lead them to your products and services.

2. Focus on Content Diversity

The rise of social media has created a new type of audience which requires a constant stream of diverse content. The rapid flow of content on social networks creates a climate of continuous competition among brands to keep audiences attentive and engaged. That is why it is important to keep your audience interested by offering them something different on a regular basis.

You should focus on publishing interesting and exciting content in various forms. Your content should range from blog posts to infographics and from slide shows to quizzes. This diversity of content means that your audience can visit your website and choose the type of content they enjoy the most.

To know which type of content is best suitable for your audience, you need to identify and understand your target audience. Not knowing who you are marketing to is one of the biggest marketing mistakes you can make. Dedicating ample time to market research will ensure you get the right type of content in front of the right audience.

3. Use Visual Content

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Using visual elements in every blog post became a tenet of content marketing nearly a decade ago. These days, SMO experts estimate that engagement doubles when images and other types of visual content are used. Graphic elements help communicate your message faster and more efficiently whether you use them on your website, social media or even newsletters.

Modern audiences tend to understand content better when they see images or video, and it also breaks up the text making it easier to read or skim through. When choosing images to include, seasoned content producers know that their choices should fall under the “eye-catching” category since audiences are used to scrolling until they see a visual cue they find interesting.

4. Make it Easy to Share Content

Apart from making your content shareable by following the tips outlined above, you should also focus on making it easy to share your content. Your website visitors shouldn’t have trouble engaging with your content, which means that they should readily find social media sharing tools that they can activate with a single click of the mouse or tap on a touchscreen.

There is no shortage of social sharing tools that can be embedded in a website these days. What this means for your brand is that you should experiment with options such as button placement, choice of sets, colors or even custom buttons.

For SMO purposes, the tools should offer more than just the share functionality; they should also allow audiences to “like” the content and provide a numerical tally of how many times the content has been viewed, shared and liked. Audiences tend to enjoy these quick stats, which essentially act as popular endorsements for online brands.

5. Elicit engagement

Elicit engagement (1)

Just like every piece of promotional and sales content should include a call-to-action, SMO content should include a specific enticement that will engage your audience. Every piece of content you publish should elicit your audience’s reaction by means of social media interaction.

Besides providing social media sharing buttons and include appealing images in your posts, you can focus on some other ways you can optimize your content. Make sure you come up with attention-grabbing headlines, always write in a conversational tone and address your readers. Most importantly, don’t forget to enable commenting under every content piece and entice your audience to contribute their opinions by asking them questions at the end of each post.

You can also come up with your own unique ways to engage your audience to take action on social media. Engagement can be elicited in combination with giveaways and other promotion tactics; for example, a diner can offer coupons for a free cup of coffee in exchange for sharing a blog post or following a social media profile.

The engagement generated by your content will lead to sharing and a broader awareness of your brand and your company that you might not achieve without the assistance of social media users.

Final Word

Implementing social media optimization the right way can boost your brand visibility, drives traffic to your website and increase your sales. SMO should be implemented as a strategy that bridges the gap between websites and the social media presence of brands. The goal is to simultaneously achieve optimization on both the web and social media channels for the purpose of increasing the chances of online discovery.

Posted by Jill Phillips

Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps

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