There’s no escaping it: the business world is officially running on social media. Never before has there been such an efficient means of connecting the world and the pockets of consumers therein. It seems like a natural consequence of such a phenomenon. The whole social media experience is a marketing professional’s dream. Each platform has its differences, but in general it’s designed to algorithmically target information toward a group of people. In other words, it sort of takes care of the hard part for us. The catch, though, is that now it generates a set of problems around it. Social media is designed with the intention of being as available as possible to as many people as possible, as frequently as possible. That’s great because we, in the marketing game, are trying to make people aware of a product or a service, so the more people that are tuned in, the better. The unique issue with any such platform is that the more effectively it does its own job, the more it muddies the waters. In other words, the more people that are on it, the more advertisers that are vying for attention. This is where SMO, or “Social Media Optimization” comes in.
The key is something that was mentioned earlier: algorithms. Basically, an algorithm is essentially a pattern or a set of patterns which governs the behavior of a thing. You can think of it as a set of rules that, in this case, software has to follow. This is paramount to understanding how to optimize your social media presence because by definition, algorithms are predictable. Let’s look at a specific example. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the current landscape. It’s a hub of user-to-user interaction based on pictures, which are the bread and butter of the platform, but it leaves it up to you, the user, to define the images you share.
One of the key ways users define their images is with hashtags. Hashtags are one of the primary ways the platform allows us to categorize. So if we use a real world example, let’s say you’re selling wine. You might post a nice, artsy picture of the inside of a wine cellar and use hashtags such as “#wine” on Instagram and Twitter. Well as of the time of the writing of this entry, “#wine” has roughly 47 million users. Not only that, but people who use “#wine” tend to use related hashtags such as “#redwine”(almost 6 million users), “#whitewine”(around 2.5 million users), “#vineyard”(about 2 million users), etc. While adding hashtags can increase branding and the likelihood of users seeing your post, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as ?too many hashtags. Try to stick to 3-5 for Instagram (comment on your post and put the hashtags there, instead of in the description) and 1-2 for Twitter.
So what does this do for you? Well when you use a combination of related hashtags, especially on a more consistent basis, the algorithm that the platform operates on wants to engage other users who tend to use those same ones. In many cases, these users are not already following you, but you use your similar themes to draw them into a page representing a product that’s consistent with their interests. Ideally, this can translate to more followers, more brand awareness, and ultimately more sales.
The marketing world has always been driven by engagement – that is it’s entire purpose. Now that that’s more available than ever, it’s important to understand that we don’t just have a random set of data. What we have, is a target-able market that we can use hashtags to draw paths to those markets. Use them and use them consistently, and watch your following grow. MacGuyver Media offers expertise in optimizing your web presence to help you grow your brand. Contact us!