Is your business’s social media keyword strategy the same as your SEO strategy? Recent years have seen a rise in user searches within social media as opposed to traditional search engines. Think using Facebook’s search bar to find new nightlife venues or looking for hashtag mentions on Twitter in lieu Google. Because this trend is on the rise, it’s never been more important for the content you host on social media to be easily findable by the audiences you hope to engage.
Tactics of keyword optimization for traditional search engine queries are broadly applicable (largely because of Google’s domination of the search engine market). The highly differentiated social media landscape means every platform requires its own keyword strategy. Each serves a different market, uses keywords (and hashtags) in specific ways, and is bound by a different set of technical restrictions. The specific keywords you select shouldn’t be the same for each platform, nor should the way they’re used.
Certain rules of thumb apply across sites. Keywords are almost always more useful than hashtags, since search engines only point searches for hashtags to platforms that support them (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the most popular of these). For the most part, a good understanding of the ways keywords can be used to greatest effect on each platform is the best way to begin boosting your brand’s content on social networks.
Twitter. Staying in touch with the Twitter conversations that are relevant to your brand is critical. Roughly 500 million unique Tweets are sent every day, offering several opportunities for your business to connect directly with clients. Keywords can be used as hashtags on any platform that supports them: both Instagram and Facebook have adopted hashtags as a way for users to seek and promote content. But they are more essential to Twitter than they are on any other platform. The use of keywords as hashtags is more impactful on Twitter than any other platform, though it’s also acceptable to use keywords without hashtags, as well.
Pinterest. This platform offers businesses a unique window into what their customers want. It’s easy to see what types of content get shared and saved via pins, giving brands insight into how to optimize pins for search purposes. Keywords can be used in both image and pin descriptions, and user boards reveal which groupings of keywords work better than others.
Facebook. Though they’ve been technically supported for over two years, hashtags have not received the same embrace from Facebook users as they have by Twitter. Still, they should be considered part of a larger keyword strategy that also applies to posts and image descriptions. Search queries are less likely to contain the “#” symbol, but in certain cases it may make sense and be a good stylistic fit for a text-based post.
Youtube. Youtube’s popularity — over one hundred hours of content are uploaded to the site every minute — means that it’s critical to distinguish audio and video hosted on the site from related content. Its popular keyword tool was formally discontinued in September 2014 in favor of the Display Planner’s AdWords. Businesses looking to use YouTube for marketing must have a Google AdWords account to employ this. If brands hoping to engage customers on YouTube aren’t already familiar with AdWords, this addition to the AdWords repertoire makes it more essential than ever before.
Instagram. Creative uses of keywords on Instagram can assist with the platform’s visual storytelling feature. Each image should be accompanied by a succinct, playful description that inviting users to interact with content directly via liking or commenting on posts. Instagram’s wide adoption of hashtags also allows for unique branding opportunities: hashtags that invite user participation (such as Urban Outfitter’s #UOonYou, a tag that encourages users to send in pictures of themselves wearing the retailer’s clothing) are widespread and can be blended with keywords for a more dynamic marketing strategy.