How social SEO can help you reach your target audience
Written by: Kitty Peat
A robust social media strategy is a must-have for brands looking to communicate and engage with their audience, and ultimately accelerate their business growth in our ever-evolving digital world.
We’ll cover the need-to-know tactics that social media and marketing experts can implement across their socials to improve brand reach and ensures that the platform algorithm is serving your content to your target audience.
When it comes to social media as a business growth strategy, the saying ‘don’t run before you can walk’ comes to mind. It reminds us of the importance of consistently nailing the foundations to ensure your content gets seen by the right people – without the right strategy, it can start to feel like shouting into the void.
Due to the widespread use of social media, some brands expect that building a social media presence will be easy. However, sharing content on social doesn’t guarantee your business will cut through the noise in this ever-growing digital space. That’s where social media optimisation, or social SEO, can help.
What is social SEO?
Social media optimisation (SMO) is a strategic approach that aims to drive content reach and engagement across social media channels. Social SEO is similar to search engine optimisation (SEO) in that the objective is to drive the visibility of content and organically reach and connect with your target audience. SEO’s core objective is to get a webpage to the top of the search engine results page, whereas social SEO is about getting posts served to the most relevant users on a given social channel.
Social media has always had search engines available, however the rise of TikTok has given Google, which processes over 990,000 searches per second, a run for its money. The way we acquire information in the digital space is evolving at a rate of knots, and from a social perspective, TikTok is a powerful player in influencing how other social platforms evolve. 40% of Gen Z and Millennials in the US are using TikTok instead of mainstream news broadcasts for daily news updates, so it’s important to remember that social is much more than a space for social interaction, it’s a space to service users with search intent.
As with other marketing optimisation tactics, social SEO requires constant testing and tweaking to ensure you are utilising platform updates effectively and connecting on a deeper level with your target audience.
How can social SEO make your social media work harder?
The current digital world we live in prioritises consumer experiences and their conversations above all else, making social more important than ever before for engaging with consumers.
If you’re looking to break through the noise on social to leverage a competitive edge in your market, implementing best in class social SEO will be key to reaching your target audience and yield the following results:
Increased visibility and reach of your content, driving greater engagement (likes, clicks, comments, site traffic).
More incisive insights for your broader social strategy and inform future investment.
A more consistent process for creating content that’s poised to favour the algorithm and perform well.
So, what tactics are available to optimise your social media?
Optimise your social bio to inform and speak to relevant users
First impressions are everything. A profile bio on social is one of the first opportunities to convey your brand’s mission and make an impression on your audience. An optimised bio can convert a user into a follower, and eventually grow into a loyal customer, so this social optimisation tactic is key.
Profile optimisation is channel specific, so curating a unique bio across each channel is conducive to speaking to the right audience in the right setting, with the right tone. Including features like a link aggregation tool such as Linktree, branded hashtags, locations and utilising Instagram’s ‘Highlights’ function will convey your brand’s value to customers in a concise and effective way.
Include target keywords in your captions for social discoverability
Recent platform updates, like Instagram’s updated search features, highlight that brands can utilise social SEO by strategically incorporating keywords to drive social searchability.
With TikTok being labelled as ‘the new search engine’ (New York Times, 2022), it’s clear that Gen Z and Millennials rely on social as a search engine more than ever before. Google’s SVP, Prabhakar Raghavan, announced that through their studies Google has found that 40% of young people said that when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They use TikTok or Instagram. So including relevant keywords in post captions is an essential social media optimisation to help with discoverability.
Conducting keyword research on social media helps you understand the needs and wants of social communities, and the techniques to execute this vary across each platform. TikTok, for example, has a discovery engine which is designed in a similar way to Google and functions to serve results based on longer search queries. Facebook and Instagram are quickly following this functionality, albeit with less precise searching.
For example, searching for ‘travel content’ on Instagram and TikTok will produce different results. Instagram’s search engine includes travel content, however not all of it is relevant to the search query. TikTok’s search engine is more sophisticated and able to serve content that accurately answers user search queries e.g. Travel destinations in Mexico.
The differences in the two search engines highlights the need to utilise different keywords across channels. ‘Travel destinations in Mexico’ is suitable for TikTok, and ‘travel Mexico’ may be more effective in Instagram’s search engine.
Twitter, however, is a little further behind and favours ‘trending topics’ and hashtags as a way to establish which topics users are engaging with the most.
Despite the different search functions across social platforms, utilising target keywords that accurately describe your content will increase the discoverability of your posts and drive engagement and reach to relevant audiences, which is key to succeeding in this saturated digital space.
Add available accessibility functions to boost content visibility
There are an estimated 40 million people worldwide who suffer from blindness, and an estimated 70 million people who suffer from deafness, and social media accessibility can help to overcome these disabilities. Surprisingly, however, including more descriptive content also gives more information for platform AI bots to crawl and interpret.
As with target keywords, social algorithms consider the words in your post when deciding which ones to show in a user’s feeds. Including keywords related to your post in a descriptive alt text and utilising in-app subtitles can help hearing and visually impaired users interpret the content, and boosts algorithm favourability to recognise the relevancy of your post to different users. This allows you to leverage a competitive advantage against competitors.
Accessible content on social media can include:
Alt text descriptions. Alt text allows visually impaired users to interpret and appreciate images. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram now provide fields for alt-text image descriptions.
Subtitles. All social videos should include subtitles, also known as captions. Not only are they crucial for hearing-impaired users, but they allow for accessibility in sound-off environments too. Natively embedding subtitles onto video content allows for platform AI to crawl and interpret the verbal audio and gather more information on the content so that it can serve users the most relevant posts.
Strategically implementing these top social SEO tactics into your social media plan will undoubtedly help your brand break through the noise of this digital space to attain a competitive edge in your market.
As specialists in social media, brand strategy, and much more, Eulogy can help you be known on social media. Want to reach and resonate with your target audience? Speak to one of our social media experts today.
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