It’s getting noisy out there when it comes to social media and social media marketing.
There are lots of people and organizations all competing for the same eyes and ears. Making matters even more difficult, our friends at Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn are constantly tinkering with their algorithms. When this happens, the search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and strategies we used at one time to get found and our voice heard may not work any longer.
However, there are some basics to SEO and posting on social media that have proven themselves over the years. If you can stick to these basics – and post frequently – your voice will be heard, and organization and its activities become better known to more people.
But before we go into that, let’s look at what we are dealing with when it comes to all that “noise” mentioned earlier. Myspace, a site we don’t even hear much about anymore, was the first biggie in social media. They reached a milestone of one million active users back in 2004. No other site, at that time, had ever reached that plateau. *
Now a social media site with just one million users would be considered very “small potatoes.” For instance, as of 2018, here are the estimated number of monthly logged-in users of the following social media platforms:
- Facebook, more than 2.5 billion.
- YouTube, two billion.
- WhatsApp, approaching 1.5 billion.
- WeChat/Instagram, about one billion.
- Twitter, Tumbler, Reddit, Pinterest, in the three hundred million to five hundred million range. **
This tells us we have our work cut out for us to make social media marketing effective. So, what can we do to get heard above the crowd?
Let’s assume we are writing blogs on our website and then using links to those blogs on social media. Here are some basics in blog writing that should help on both types of platforms:
Select a keyword first. Yes, it’s true that what you have to say – the content- is the most important thing. But how is anyone going to find that content? They will find it if you know what your keywords or phrases will be before you even start writing.
Use a keyword tracking program. Usually, people suggest using Google AdWords for this. I find that platform difficult to use unless you are a social media “techie.” Other platforms available – some free others or at moderate cost – that base their results on Google AdWords but are far easier to use.
How to use a keyword tracking program. Let’s say we are trying to promote a baseball game at our venue. Utilizing a keyword tracking program, we type in “baseball event” and find some of the keywords used on search engines at that time are the following:
- Fourth of July baseball
- Baseball tournaments
- Spring training baseball
- Baseball live stream
- Baseball game day
- Baseball tickets
Try and work in one or more of these keyword phrases into your blog that are relevant.
Use engaging titles. Engaging titles typically highlight the value of the post to the reader. “Five Ways to Do This…” or “Ten Things You Should Know about that” are engaging. Another strategy, ask questions. “Do You Know the Super Fastest Way to Get to our Arena?” That title is engaging in two ways: first, it asks a question. Second, it uses the term “super fastest.” That’s an eye-catcher.
Using keywords in the content. The keywords should be in the first sentence of your blog, and they should then be in the second and third paragraph of your content and placed a couple of more times in the post.
Word count. Blogs should be six hundred words. That is not a large number. But what if you have something much more important to discuss and it regards a more permanent topic? Then we need the word count to jump to 1,200 words or more. These are often called “evergreen” blogs. These blogs have helpful content that is relevant to readers for an extended period.
Keywords in titles and headers. Not only should titles be engaging, but your keywords should be in the title as well. Further, break up the blog. Even if it is just six hundred words, have two or three subheads and include your keywords in these as well.
Links in and out. It’s an excellent idea to have external hyperlinks in the body of your content pointing to, for instance, more information, as well as internal links. Internal links point to more information located on your site. Both types can improve SEO.
Quotes are good. Adding a quote from someone well known or respaced gives the post more credibility, and more credibility translates into better SEO. Why is this? When search engines change their algorithms, and this applies to social media algorithms as well, typically it is because they are trying to improve search engine results for the user. Here is how they see it. The search engines are providing a service to the user. When you search on Bing, Google, or YouTube, their goal is to deliver the most relevant information to you per your query.
Include images. Images improve SEO if you take advantage of ALT text. The search and social media platforms can’t decipher one image from another. However, the ALT text tells them what the image is all about. Use your keywords in the ALT words.
And There’s More to Social Media Marketing
Along with what we have discussed so far, here are five general principles to always follow:
- Always try to use active Passive voice is not SEO-friendly. For example, “everyone was startled by that home run” is passive. “That home run startled everyone” is active.
- Use lists and bullets, just not too many.
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short. This improves engagement and SEO.
- Keep things simple. But if you are having trouble explaining something simply, it often means you do not fully understand it that well yourself.
- It’s ok to use pronouns like “I,” “we,” and “you” in your blogs and social media posts. You want everyone to be part of your team and using personal pronouns like this helps make that happen.
Robert Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, a social media, public relations, and marketing firm. He can be reached at robert@alturasolutions.