According to the Global Web Index, three hours are spent per day per person on social networks. When you consider that there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, that’s an immense amount of time that businesses can maximize their social media profiles to reach prospective clients.
The question for businesses is: how do you reach a wider audience through social media? While reaching all 3.5 billion is a stretch, you can reach thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, if you optimize your social media posts. This how to guide on creating SEO-friendly social media posts can make the process easier for you.
5 Steps to Writing SEO-Friendly Social Media Posts
Step 1: Use Relevant Keywords in Social Media Posts
Just like you would use keywords for your blog posts or content marketing, you should do the same for your social media posts. Why does it matter?
Because Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram posts come up in Google searches and are instantly linked to your profile – exactly as if you were to search keywords and users found your website. It will significantly boost your SEO visibility on search engines across the board and directly target your audiences.
Using the likes of Facebook Advertising, and searching Twitter and Instagram for hashtags can narrow down the most popular keywords related to your audience.
However, just like keywords in blogs and content, you shouldn’t stuff them in. Carefully placing them so that it flows with the content and sounds natural will help engage your audience while putting Google’s hawk eyes off your post.
Step 2: Add Images & Videos to Social Media Posts
Similar to blog posts, adding images and videos to your posts is a substantial way to optimize it effectively. The stats back up just how effective images and videos are in terms of engagement:
- Facebook posts with an image receive 2.3x more engagement than those without images
- Tweets with an image receive 150% more engagement than those without images
- Adding video also results in 1200% more shares than text and images together
Visual content isn’t difficult to make either.
You can use Canva, Biteable or Adobe Spark to create your content quickly. Or you can find images from iStock, videos from YouTube, or, better yet, film from your phone directly to create an authentic experience.
Think of Instagram travel account, Local Wanderer, which uses images to highlight their locations (a-must have for travel accounts). Or consider Hello Sunshine, the organisation with the mission to change the narrative for women using this GIF for Halloween. It adds an element of engagement that connects with users.
Embracing visual media will optimize your social media posts and get them in front of more new eyes.
Step 3: Posting at The Right Times
When should you post on your social media?
Unfortunately, there is really no right or wrong answer to it. As your followers are using social media at different times, it can be challenging to reach all of them. But it doesn’t mean you can’t reach most of them.
Using a Sprout Social report, you can optimize the times for your social media posts so that you can reach your target audiences. The report highlighted that:
- Facebook showed the most consistent engagement was during the period between Tuesday to Thursday, 8 a.m.–3 p.m., with the lowest happening every day either before 7 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
- Instagram worked on a similar level with most consistent engagement happening during Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Twitter stood out from the rest as the highest levels of engagement were between Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. This was due to Twitter being more “news” based than other social media platforms.
A prime example is best illustrated by Matt Rhodes:
“For a brand targeting mums, for example, it may make more sense to create engaging content at 2am when mums are awake and alone with their babies. For a brand targeting football fans, as another example, your research may find that your audience most wants to engage after football matches in the afternoon or evening.”
The message is simple: think about your audience and the best time to reach them. That way, you can get the maximum out of your social media optimization.
Step 4: Utilizing Hashtags for Posts
Hashtags are still considered an essential part of social media posts. Sure, they might not be as prominent as they once were, but major social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram rely on them heavily.
Ergo, you should be applying them to your social media posts. But you shouldn’t be stuffing in 10 or 12 hashtags for the sake of it. Adding 1 to 2 strong hashtags relevant to your industry has shown to be more effective in terms of visibility. It is even more effective if the hashtags are keywords – as you’ll get double the optimization.
As Hootsuite contributor Michael Aynsley says, “it’s not about getting seen by a lot of people; it’s about getting seen by the right people”. You want your post to connect with your audience, not just random people with zero interest in what you’re saying or selling.
Hashtags should be used to highlight social issues, build a brand or add context to the social media post. Some prime examples include:
- NASA used emojis to contextualize its tweet to highlight both World Emoji Day and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It remains one of its most popular tweets.
- After winning the NBA Championship in 2019, the Toronto Raptors’ branded hashtag #WetheNorth became one of the most-used hashtags by Canadians, which helped spread its brand.
Do your research, find out the best hashtags in your industry and apply to your posts. Just don’t overdo it.
Step 5: Republishing Content for Maximum Reach
You might have posted a super-cool and highly entertaining tweet or image one day. Then months later, a newsworthy and trending topic appears that’s related to that post. Do you republish it again?
Yes, you do.
Republishing old content is a great way to optimize your social media posts. Not only are you providing engaging content, but you’re also reaching out to newer people that haven’t seen it yet. While they’re witnessing the latest news, they’re also seeing your post for the first time.
If you want a real-world example, Neil Patel mentions that “Eugene Cheng got his content repurposing game right on Slideshare. He roped in over 10,000 subscribers by increasing the views on his slides”.
If the pros can do it, so can you.