Keywords have long been the foundation of every content marketing strategy. Knowing the words and phrases that your audience is using to search for information helps guide your content creation efforts, and land a position at the top of search results.
What many marketers don’t realize, is that the keywords that work for SEO and PPC advertising aren’t always as effective for social media marketing. Not only does user behavior on social platforms differ from that on search engines, but the intent of searches is usually different as well. Social media queries tend to be more specific than others — and they also tend to be focused on engaging in a conversation and connecting with others (and brands) than with finding specific answers and information.
Although using the same keywords for all of your content marketing isn’t necessarily going to hurt your efforts, it does mean that you probably aren’t getting all of the value out of your social media marketing that you could be. By focusing on social search, you can not only increase the number of followers to your brand, but also their engagement.
Finding Social Keywords
The first thing to remember when conducting social keyword research is that each social platform — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. — is different, and thus you will need to tailor your social keyword research to each site. If you are just getting started, choose one or two sites to focus your efforts.
Most sites offer some iteration of a keyword research tool that you can use to identify the top performing keywords in your industry and find the terms people are using for search on that site. To get the most from your social marketing efforts, dig deeper and be creative to discover effective keywords.
1. Use Associated Terms
What do you want your brand associated with? Think about the terms users will search to find a business like yours. Are you a pizza joint? Then make sure that “pizza restaurant in (your city)” appears in your social content.
2. Use General Descriptions
If a user forgets the actual name of your business, but knows what you do, what would they search? Brainstorm some possible search terms. For instance, if you have a specific type of unique pizza that’s popular with your customers and has great word of mouth, that could be a keyword.
3. Consider the Competition
Test your keywords to see what else comes up when they are searched. If your competition is already using them, then look for ways to tweak your choices or make them more specific to improve your position.
4. Monitor Hashtags
Hashtags can provide plenty of ideas for keywords based on what people are talking about.
5. Use Alternatives
Pay attention to slang and alternative terms that people might use to search for something. A prime example of this are the terms “H1N1” and “swine flu.” While the scientific term for this particular strain of flu was H1N1, more people refer to it on social media as swine flu. Do your homework to determine which terms people are using and where.
Make the Most of Your Keywords
Once you have identified the keywords for social media, you need to make use of them. Obviously, you can incorporate them into your social posts — following the same rules as apply to other types of content about keeping it natural and relevant — but there are other places uses that you should not overlook. Be sure to include your social keywords in the following content as well.
1. The About Us Section
Social media platforms give you space to describe your company; use your keywords there. On some sites, like Instagram and Twitter, prioritize your most relevant keyword(s) because there are limited characters.
Photos are a vital form of content on social media. Use your keywords in photo captions. If you tie these keywords into your promotions, they can help drive more traffic and engagement.
3. Your engagement
It may be tricky — and not always appropriate — but when possible, incorporate your keywords into your responses and engagement with social followers. You don’t want to come across as inauthentic, but when you can naturally work your keywords into a response, do so.
Using keywords in your social media marketing helps you better leverage your presence and build more engagement with your followers, while also attracting new ones. It requires some extra effort — as does building a social media strategy — but the results of both will undoubtedly be worth your while.
For assistance with building your social media strategy, download the Guide to Social Media Marketing and get started today!
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