Social Media Optimization for Your Business

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Let's face it, folks- social media is here to stay. With a whopping 72% of internet users actively partaking in the social network buffet, it's clear that this platform has grown from a passing interest into an undeniable behemoth that the business world is taking very seriously. Mass understanding of the impact social media can have on businesses has created a boom of marketing efforts concentrated in this area, and one can clearly see that this trend of focus from business owners and marketers will continue steamrolling throughout 2014 and beyond. 

There is a way to grab the bull by the horns here, and though it does take time and effort, it is a surefire way of injecting yourself and your business straight into the fast-flowing highway of this massive human collective. I'm going to detail point by point some steps that are necessary for you to begin, refine, and expand your Social Media Optimization (SMO) for the first week, month, and beyond.

First of all, as with most things, have a plan. Define clear goals for your social media campaign first- it should line up with your business purpose. What is your goal for this campaign? Whatever your plan may be, it should be reevaluated and updated routinely to stay on top of rapidly changing trends. Your plan should include a timeline- try to set deadlines for content release and be sure to post regularly to all platforms you choose to use. This will keep your followers thinking about you and makes them more apt to turn to your business first if a related matter arises, or refer you to others.

Small businesses face a lot of competition online, and it's important to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Find your niche- what makes you unique? The more memorable your content, the more interest it creates, and the more it is bound to get shared. This is where the work comes in. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, they all have different requirements and ways of engaging with the audience, but the work you put in to each will benefit your company hugely in the long run. Twitter should be concise and attention grabbing since you only have 140 characters, but Facebook allows longer descriptions and more content. Launch contests to engage your fans and followers. A great image will also draw more interest. Create YouTube vidoes-this is very useful for social media optimization. YouTube gets very high rankings in search engines, making it an extremely effective social marketing tool.

This is important- research your competition. Remember that your competitors are changing and improving all the time. They will be adjusting their approach and updating their campaigns in order to try to improve results. That is why your competitive analysis should be an ongoing process- it's not a "set it and forget it" situation. Nothing is with social media marketing- everything is in a constant state of flux, and it's important to be right there with it to keep your brand relevant. Things move fast today, and we need to as well.

Ask and answer questions in a blog and link to social media sites- find out what your customers want to know about and give them useful and compelling answers. If you are on top of this, you're guaranteed some shares and retweets. The key is to expand your audience outside of just your website- effective SEO tactics are hugely helpful, but can ultimately go only so far. Sometimes it's good old elbow-grease that nets you the exposure you're looking for. 

Staying on top with Social Media Optimization may seem daunting with the amount of time investment, but in the end, tapping into this amazing resource of human connection boosts your businesses exposure to your industry, your customers, and the world. With enough initial work and a continued effort in adding new, fresh content, and sharing on social platforms that reach that 72% of internet users, a domino effect will begin. You'll be surprised at how far your brand travels. 

Erin Maloney


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