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Published April 29th 2014

Q&A: The Secret of Social Media Content Optimization

A few days ago, we came across a Social Media Content Optimization survey by Ashley Verrill of Software Advice, a source for social CRM system reviews.

Her research shares practical tips for anyone who is trying to understand how organizations are optimizing their content on social media and what tactics are most successful.

We decided to talk to Ashley to delve a little deeper into the research.

Your survey shows that using hashtags is one of the most effective tactics for optimizing content for social media. What’s a good way to find relevant and trending hashtags so you know you’re reaching the right audience?

There are several great tools out there to help you discover relevant hashtags. One of the best is Hashtags.org. The website shows you hashtags that are currently trending as well as the most popular hashtags on Twitter.

There’s also a search feature on the website that allows you to type in any word or phrase (without spaces between words, of course) to see if that is indeed a hashtag people often use and the analytics for it.

These analytics include a graph that shows how many times that hashtag has been used by hour as well as a feed of real tweets that include the hashtag.

TweetDeck is another great tool to track hashtags. You can set up a column that gives you a feed of only Tweets with your particular hashtag.

This gives you an idea of the kind of people or companies who use that hashtag and the content that goes with it.
Social Optimization Survey Results.001-1

Nurturing relationships is the top goal for marketers using social media, according to your survey. What practices are marketers doing to nurture relationships on social media? Is that just responding to people when they ask questions on a particular network, or is there more to that?


It’s definitely about a lot more.

This survey was talking specifically about goals marketers have when optimizing content for social. So, not just about goals when using social media in general.

In this context, nurturing relationships effectively with content is all about relevancy. It starts with developing content that’s relevant to your audience, or a specific marketing segment.

Then, you have to make sure you share that content in such a way that it reaches those relevant audiences, or even specific people, that you want to nurture relationships with. This means using the right hashtags, sharing in the right groups and @mentioning specific contacts, when relevant.
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You also report that gaining followers is a main goal for marketers. Do you have any advice or tactics for how can increase their follower numbers?


Sharing really relevant content, again, is crucial. This includes content you produce, as well as a healthy mix of content from friends, fans and followers. Seeing outsiders talk about your brand adds a level of authenticity to your social media presence, so you need to capitalize on the opportunity to share these interactions.

Outside of that, what you asked before about engaging with your social following is really important for growing your following.

You want to make it feel more like you are there to truly socialize in a two-way conversation – not that social media is merely your own personal soapbox.

Also, there are specific types of campaigns you can run to grow social followings; contests and competitions, for example. And finally, ensuring that your blog articles are extremely sharable. This includes having share buttons on every page, of course; but also optimizing these so when some clicks-to-share, the field auto-populates with suggested copy and an image.

How can marketers target specific groups on social media as a means of content optimization?


Hashtags, sharing in groups (such as Linkedin groups or G+ communities) and @-mentioning influencers are among the most common methods.

If you wrote an ebook on content marketing, for example, you could post a link to your landing page in a group like the Content Marketing Academy in Linkedin.

Or, you could search through the various threads in the community and look for someone asking a question that your piece of content provides the answer to.

I do not mean to suggest that you join a bunch of groups and just start indiscriminately spamming them with your content. You need to make sure you are creating value for these groups and their members, which comes back to the engagement piece.

Same goes for leveraging relevant hashtags. Do a little preliminary scanning of updates using that hashtag to ensure your content really is relevant, and to look for opportunities to reply to someone with your content if a relevant question is asked.

Did any of the results surprise you?


Yes, actually. I was a little surprised that limiting the number of characters wasn’t higher on the list of tactics that are important for optimizing content for social media.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about social media it’s that people generally want to read as little as possible.

I definitely think it’s important that marketers are given some guidance on how long (or short, rather) their updates should be. Twitter, obviously, does that for you.

I was also surprised more marketers didn’t mention optimizing image size. It’s important to get the dimensions right, so check out our guide on social media image sizes.

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