Social Media Optimization (SMO) is quickly becoming one of (if not already) the critical methods to help generate traffic for your site and business. Increasing content visibility via social media channels is like mastering the networking within your online community. We all use social media, but are we, using it to a business-minded advantage?
From sharing blogs to videos and related content, SMO is a great way to acquire free traffic that generates leads and expands your business profile. SMO works best when combined with your SEO strategy to include things like quality backlinks from networking and bookmarking via social networking sites. This extends to other benefits including a better search ranking.
So how do you know if it’s working? You need to measure SMO conversion to find patches for improvement. A site statistics tool like Google Analytics will help you keep an eye on site traffic, as well as metrics including:
- Social media referral unique visitor
- Time spent on the site
- The depth of visit and location
Important SMO conversion measures
As understanding how well your SMO conversions are working is so important, it is also good to know the different kinds of measures that will supply you with this information.
There are various sites that will allow you to search for your URLs. The “Site overlay” option in Google Analytics will also provide this information.
You can monitor who your readers are, where they are from and how they have landed on your page (useful for tracking the effectiveness of your social media channels). You can also see how long people are spending on your page and the bounce rate.
Allowing commenting where possible is highly recommended as it creates a more social and interactive platform for your users. You can find information on the visitors who interact with your content.
Authority sites and microblogging
Social media conversion can also be assessed via authority sites and microblogging to find who is linking to you and how many reactions or the level of discussion about your content.
Boosting SMO conversions
The success of your social media presence will directly boost your search rankings which is why all of your social channels should be integrated into your website by including social sharing buttons on your site and direct web links to your social media from your site. Keep in mind that social sites have high web authority, so the quality of the links on them is increased.
It would be best if you always had an option for users to sign-up or log-in with their social profiles. Not only does this offer a better user experience but it will also increase your registration conversions.
It is also a good idea to ensure that your keywords and social media are synced. The correct optimization of your social profiles should be a crucial part of your social media strategy.
The benefits of a large follower base
It probably doesn’t need to be said that lots of followers is a good thing but it’s quality over quantity. Fake likes are a big no, don’t even consider it. Requesting random friends and follows to boost your numbers is also a waste of time as they will provide no value and show little interest in your products and services.
While the total number of followers and connections on your social media profiles can help your website rankings, it is important to remember that Google has some stringent rules. This is why organic growth is the only truly effective strategy. It’s the long play, but it will yield more significant results.
This means consistently engaging content that is informative, short and of benefit to your audience.
External inbound links
Social media can provide another advantage by having external sites link to your content. This helps your authority with Google while expanding your reach.
High-quality and engaging content helps to achieve this, but it also needs to be promoted via existing threads and discussion forums. Greater external link sources help to establish you as an authoritative leader in your domain.
The benefits of SMO
Good SMO enables more traffic, interaction, and conversion as well as tangible metrics to learn about your audience. Let’s break down some of the other benefits:
- Social SEO
Shared links establish you as an authority to search engines providing more opportunities to drive traffic
- User Generated Content (UGC)
Content created by users gives you a better insight into your audience, saves you some work and carries more significant influence. The voice of the customer is vital and can be found in feedback, questions, and reviews
- Social proof
Comments and shares work like a survey; they prove the quality of your content while increasing social follows, click-through rates, and shared/inbound links
- Social user experience
The more that your users can participate in discussions the more they will share or discuss your content which builds a community and can create brand ambassadors
- Social metrics
Comments, shares, likes, and subscribers are all useful metrics to determine the success and quality of your content and strategy
It is important to identify the action you are trying to optimize conversion for via the various sections of your blog or site.
Consider the following:
- Website Global Template: The goal of users visiting social accounts to follow you and subscribe to updates
- Blog or news page: Increased follower-base, click-through to articles and author pages, and share or rate content.
- Author bio pages: Following authors and click-through to their articles
- Article: Increased shares, bookmarks, rates, comments, and links
Each of the elements in the list above will have its own conversion rate, and you should use A/B testing to determine which strategies are effective for each.
- Make content easily shareable with the use of share buttons
- Ensure content can be subscribed to via RSS and email
- Make sure your social media profiles are easy to find and follow
- Use social media plugins
- Diversify post timing to test engagement levels
Don’t forget about CRO
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing web properties to increase leads, conversions, and customers, and it works in conjunction with SEO and SMO.
This is usually achieved with graphical calls to action (CTAs) that are linked via text in body copy as well as placed in various other locations (you should be experimenting with this to see what works best).
It is important to remember that both CRO and SMO are just as important as SEO. Synergy between these elements enhances your overall inbound marketing deployment.
Revel in the comments
Never forget about the social element on social media. It is designed to be inclusive, and encourage discussion and interaction, and a big part of that is the user’s ability to comment. You want to connect socially with your audience, and you should utilize the comments for this.
One tip is to display the commenter’s social account or contact site as a link on their comment block. It can also encourage more interaction if you allow for the rating of comments via the like/dislike or flagging buttons.
Likes and dislikes are simple actions that encourage more discussion; a healthy debate can be a great thing! A flagging option can also help with moderating inappropriate content or identifying spam.
To take this even further, the ability for visitors to subscribe to article comments can also help encourage further discussion. You can offer email and RSS options and tweak based on which is more popular.
Visuals are of great assistance
Lead generation is benefitting more and more from visual content. In fact, 69 percent of marketers consider visuals as a necessary part of their content strategy.
Visuals are particularly compelling on social media, which is why you probably much visual content over text-based via the various platforms. In the case of Instagram or Pinterest for example, it’s the only option.
Visual content increases engagement by 120-180 percent while also helping with rankings.
Allowing users to rate your content can be a valuable quantitative measurement. Sure, it means you have to brace for possible adverse reactions, but it is an excellent opportunity for users to interact with you.
It also increases the perspective of your metrics and avoids you creating a little echo chamber in which only positive reactions are allowed. As a bonus, a five-star rating scale will enable you to use hReview microformats for SEO gaining rich snippet displays of reviews in search results.
It is a good idea to ensure that you always group the links for your social account icons and display them in the top-right corner of your site as well as in your footer. This is where visitors will expect to find them, plus it gives optimal visibility. The reason why the top right is standard practice is that it will distinguish the account links from the share or follow icons.
It is also essential that you only offer icons for active accounts that are regularly maintained. So while you may have a YouTube channel, it should not be featured and offered to your audience if you do not regularly use it.
Use a consistent size and style for your icon design, either the standard or ones that match your site theme. You also will want to ensure that the link opens a new tab or window.
Subscriptions and widgets
Subscription options that are available for RSS, email, podcasts, and mobile apps should always be featured so that you can expand your following and ensure that people are notified of your new content. Explain the benefits of having them register for these alerts; it could be ensuring they are the first to hear about new releases or receive discount codes.
Design and location of your email input field for new subscribers requires careful consideration. You don’t want people confusing it with your site search bar for example. Side note: If you are saying “no worries, we don’t have site search” – that is a whole other issue that needs to be rectified.
The sidebar is an excellent place for dynamic content from social channels. Social widgets allow visitors to follow your channels easily and the widgets are very customizable. Recent activity feeds are a great way to give visitors a sample of your regular social activity.
An enticing article
The use of size and format article blocks have several functions; the main two are to distinguish an article from the home page and to give readers a sample of what you are offering, hoping they click through for more.
You’ll also want to ensure that the links point to the right destination for when the content is shared.
To optimize this feature, consider the following points:
- Abstract length should be sized to ensure multiple articles are visible above-the-fold
- Ensure your web analytics are set for visitor screen resolutions and sizes
- Use boxed borders to distinguish featured posts from the main article
- Provide a call-to-action with a click through button or link
A simple call-to-action such should be in a different color to the dominant site color to help it stand out and grab the reader’s attention.
The on-page and on-site elements of social media optimization are crucial for your site or blog. It can be a lot of information, and at times confusing considering how often the rules update and change, but the important thing is not to get overwhelmed. There are plenty of online resources to assist you and keep you updated, and a simple SMO strategy will do the trick.
Ensure that your plan is measurable and flexible and just remember that the primary goal is to optimize sharing and encourage discussion and interaction.
Always document and review the goals you have for your social media, inclusive of your SMO goals and keep an eye on those metrics. Have a stellar call-to-action and continually test and optimize your content and strategy and you should be able to find success!