Want Social Media Fame And Fortune? We Can Get You There (With Social Media Optimization Tips)
There’s nothing more annoying than when a brand’s social media page is missing some sort of crucial information for the consumer—aka, you and me. This could be the hours of operation, how to get in touch, pricing or what it is they’re even offering.
Don’t be that brand.
Be the brand with professional, *helpful* and engaging social media pages that people want to follow. Spoiler alert: That means filling out all the basic info—but it doesn’t end there.
This blog post is going to take you through the best optimization practices for your brand’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts and actionable tactics you can use today (even within the hour) to boost your social media efforts.
Trying to brand yourself and working on your personal marketing? (Most of) these tactics work for personal branding efforts too, so stick around.
Social Media Optimization: Channel By Channel
1. Create a custom URL for your brand’s Facebook page
This is one of the most basic things you can do to optimize your Facebook page. A custom URL shows that you took the time to change the one automatically generated by Facebook. (In other words, you give a sh*t.)
Besides, custom URLs are much cleaner than the ones Facebook generates (which include a bunch of numbers and letters), so your page will look much more professional and trustworthy.
A short, clean URL is also easier to remember and share, making it much more likely that your audience will actually visit your Facebook page.
How to make a custom URL
- Go to your company’s Facebook page and click on “Create Page @Username” on the left side of your screen
- Enter a username/custom URL that matches your brand’s name or other social media handles (preferably both)
- If the username isn’t already taken, click “Create Username”
See, I told you social media optimizations are easy and effective! Let’s keep going.
2. Fill out the entire “About” section on your Facebook page (down to the phone number)
This seems basic and like “Yeah, duh!” but you’d be surprised how many brands actually don’t have their Facebook “About” information properly filled out. (Some even miss the profile picture and header—yikes.)
When a user comes across your Facebook page (on purpose or through surfing), you need to provide as much information as possible so that they know exactly what you do, what services you offer, how they can get in touch and other information such as hours of operation, address and website (if you have one).
How to fill out your Facebook “About” section
Find the “About” box, hit “Edit Page Info” and start plugging in your brand’s deets.
Fill out as much information as you can (or are comfortable doing), but think about this: if you add a phone number or email address, make sure someone on your team will be answering it.
3. Add a Facebook plugin to your website
Plugins are great for driving traffic and promoting your content. When a user reads a great piece of content on your site and wants to share it with their audience, a Share/Like/Save button will encourage and empower them to do so.
After all, everybody wants to be the one who first found that awesome piece of content and shared it with their gang. Make it easy for your users to be that person.
There are three different kinds of buttons you can add to your website as Facebook plugins:
The Like Button – The easiest way for somebody to interact with your website is to click on a Facebook Like button to show their admiration for your content.
It is up to you where you place your Like button, and whether you show the number of likes. (I would only really recommend showing Like numbers if you regularly receive a good number of likes on your posts.)
“If you got it, flaunt it.” —Mindy Kaling
The Share Button – This button lets users share your content on their timeline, in a group, or to their friends via a Facebook Message, just as if they were sharing directly from your Facebook page. After clicking the button, they have the option to add a personalized message.
This takes more thought than merely clicking on the Like button (although users don’t have to add their own message).
The Save Button – This button gives your audience the opportunity to save items to a private list on Facebook, share it with friends and colleagues at a later time, and receive relevant notifications.
4. Post fresh, interactive and fun content
You know Facebook is a social networking channel, so act like it. It’s highly beneficial to you and your brand to post content that is engaging, entertaining and educational.
If you post content that is valuable to your audience, they will be more likely to engage with it. The more engaged they are, the more your content will show up in their feeds—and their friends’ feeds.
Post the good good and your audience following will grow.
“Leigha, what is the good good?”
The good good are videos, long-form posts, polls and other content that will stop your audience in their scrolling tracks.
Try not to solely post promotional content for your brand on your Facebook feed—that’s what Facebook ads are for. Instead, share stories, make interesting videos, or post an engagement status asking your audience what they like and don’t like about your newest product/service. This also gives you the opportunity to get some public criticism.
Twitter is great for sharing quick updates and thoughts, posting long-form content in threads, and connecting with your audience. On Twitter, regardless of following, every user is on an equal playing field when it comes to interacting with one another.
One time I tweeted (from my personal account) about how badly I wanted Buffer to integrate a thread scheduler and you know what Buffer did? They Liked it. So they’re aware I want it. (If you’re a Buffer dev reading this right now… please just make a thread scheduler.)
Now let’s talk about how to optimize your Twitter account for your brand.
1. Choose a clear (and aesthetically pleasing) profile picture and header image
When scrolling through your Twitter feed, you can see users’ profile pictures. These give a quick visual representation of who’s tweeting. For brands, your profile picture should be your logo or something that is identifiable to your audience.
When a user visits your brand’s profile, they will be able to see both your profile picture and header image. This combo should offer a cohesive visual representation of your brand.
This is not rocket science.
Here’s an example:
Man, I crack myself up. Moving on.
How to make a Twitter profile picture
With a photo editing tool, make a 400 x 400 pixel version of your logo.
Since Twitter uses circular profile pictures, ensure that your logo, name or other design elements won’t get cut off when the image is cropped.
Choosing the best header image
Put some thought into your header image! What I mean by this is don’t just use your profile picture for your header image—we’re not 2015 Facebook moms.
Choose a header image that matches your profile picture and brand aesthetic. If your profile picture has dark colours in it, choose a header that matches the colours or compliments them by contrast (think about grade 6 art class). Or you can choose a piece of content that your audience is familiar with—here’s an example:
Our header image on Twitter is the one we use on social media cards when promoting a new blog post or case study. Our audience is familiar with that image, and it helps them recognize us across platforms.
If you don’t have an image like that, you can create something on Canva, find a stock image, or just use a solid colour background and add your logo or brand name somewhere on it.
Whatever you choose, just ensure that it is appealing to the eye and makes sense for your brand.
2. Write an engaging and benefit-driven bio
Your Twitter bio is the first glimpse into what your brand’s account has to offer a prospective follower or customer. So show ’em what you’re made of!
Introduce yourself. Say hello to prospective followers by telling them who you are and what you do. Make the most of the space, with only 160 characters, you don’t want to lose their interest. This should mean using crisp and concise language, so they’re not digging through (all 160 characters) to find out you sell makeup. Show a bit of personality by including company slang, emojis or other distinctive aspects of your brand voice.
3. Regularly update your pinned tweet (this means tweeting often)
Your pinned Tweet can be anything you want. But remember this: It’s the first piece of content that your audience will see when they visit your brand’s profile.
This means it’s a first impression. What do you want your audience to think about your brand?
Your pinned tweets should give users a peek into your regular content and personality without scrolling through tweets.
Why should you update your pinned tweet regularly?
One time I neglected my pinned tweet until someone mentioned that I “hadn’t tweeted in a while.” But the thing is, I had—I just hadn’t changed my pinned tweet. (I thought it was a funny tweet and nothing could compare.)
So if a user is seeing a 2019 tweet pinned at the top of your profile, it may give them the idea that you’re inactive.
How to pin a tweet:
Go to your profile and choose a tweet that best represents your feed or something that you want people to see right away when visiting your brand’s profile. Once selected, tap the arrow on the top right corner of the tweet and select “Pin to your profile”.
How to remove a pinned tweet:
Go to your profile and to your pinned tweet. Tap the arrow on the top right corner of the pinned tweet and select “Unpin from your profile”.
If you try and pin a tweet when you already have a pinned tweet, you will be prompted to select or discard the replacement of your currently pinned tweet.
Today’s YouTube channels are better at grabbing viewer attention than television—and TV had more than a 60-year head start. Analytics reveal that YouTube mobile users are twice as likely to pay close attention to what they’re watching as people who are watching TV.
Having a branded YouTube account can lead to higher traffic and engagement… if it’s optimized.
1. Put a keyword into your YouTube channel name
On-page metadata works the same way on YouTube as it does on your site. Strategically placing keywords near the beginning of a title works wonders. In fact, when creating or updating your brand’s channel name, consider using a keyword in the channel name itself.
You can mine the same keyword research tools you use for search engine optimization (SEO) and PPC campaigns—Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool, etc.—to guide your YouTube marketing strategy.
For example, if your brand is targeting people in digital marketing, consider making your channel name: “[Company Name]: Digital Marketing”.
2. Fill out the “About Us” section
Just like on every other platform, a detailed description of what you do and other basic information can go a long way. Users who visit your channel should be able to understand your brand with a quick skim of your description.
But here’s where it gets more nuanced: The first 48 characters of your “About Us” section is what shows up in the YouTube search results. Filling out this section is necessary for site users to understand who you are. And for YouTube to be able to serve the best snippet of content. By using keywords, you will be easily able to find by your audience and be able to drive higher traffic.
Not sure what keywords to include? Google Search Console, Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics are great resources to mine for keyword opportunities you can win on.
Other keyword tools you can put to good use are Moz, SEMrush and MarketMuse. Don’t settle for the obvious high-competition keywords. Segment analytics data until you uncover long tail keywords that are intent-rich and wide open for organic rankings.
3. Update your channel trailer (because who doesn’t love watching trailers?)
The YouTube Creator Academy, aka a gift from the content gods, calls channel trailers “the red carpet you lay out to get visitors to subscribe.” These trailers visually introduce your brand and your channel.
However, channel trailers are visible only to non-subscribers, meaning you don’t need to design your trailer for the people who already follow you—you need to win over prospective subscribers (or as I like to call them, the nonbelievers, uninformed and skeptics).
Channel trailers are typically 30–60 seconds in length. So make them count. Here are a few tips:
- Introduce your brand like it’s the first day of school and no one knows you
- Pitch quickly: You need to hook viewers within the first few seconds
- Ask viewers to subscribe, both vocally and textually within the video
- Show, don’t tell: Give examples of the value your brand offers by promoting a video that’s educational, engaging, or entertaining (or a combo of all 3)
4. Create better video thumbnails and descriptions
Whether a viewer decides to click on your video can hinge entirely on the video thumbnail. By making your thumbnails more attractive, you’ll get viewers more interested in watching your content.
Thumbnail optimization tips:
- Ensure your thumbnail accurately represents the video
- Include a shortened version of the video title
- Make sure the thumbnail text is large enough to read
- Include your brand logo
- Use contrasting colours to capture attention
Here’s a thumbnail example:
Video thumbnails are easy to create. (Even for the most un-artsy of us.) You can take a screenshot of a frame of your video and add some text around it.
Canva is a great place to make thumbnails. ← If you hit that link it will take you to a Canva page where there are hundreds of video thumbnail templates, or a blank option if you’re feeling creative.
The video description is just as important as the thumbnail.
Compelling language maximizes click-through rates (CTR), so get creative with your video description. (The same goes for your title.) With limited characters, be concise. Each word should serve to communicate the purpose of the video.
Inserting the year into your title and description can also enhance CTR.
Dates suggest that your content is still applicable or that it has been refreshed to reflect the latest trends and insights. Instead of “Social Media Distribution Tactics,” try “The Best 2020 Social Media Distribution Tactics” or “Social Media Distribution Tactics (2020).”
Ahhh, LinkedIn—the Facebook of the business world. I think I open with that line every time I talk about LinkedIn. But in this case, it really makes sense because a lot of Facebook optimization tips are also applicable to LinkedIn.
Since LinkedIn is the main social media hub for brands, you want to ensure that your brand’s LinkedIn profile is up to date and filled with the correct information. This is where viewers will be looking if they’re interested in your brand. And for viewers who don’t know about your brand, it’s critical to give a good first impression.
1. Choose a profile picture and header
Like on Facebook (and every other social media platform), you’re going to want to have a strong profile picture and header for your brand’s profile on LinkedIn. The profile picture should be easily recognizable to your audience when they see a branded post on their feed. Since LinkedIn profile pictures are 400 x 400 pixels, you can use the image you made for Twitter. Easy, I know!
For the header, make sure the image is crisp and matches your brand’s aesthetic. Is there pink in your logo? Choose a header with pink in it.
2. Write an informative headline
It doesn’t have to be long, either. Write a few words or sentences that give an overview of who you are and what you do.
“Hello, we are Foundation Marketing and we create content that shapes culture.”
I mean, not to do a little toot-toot on our own horn, but this headline is short, informative and intriguing. And it’s the same as our Twitter bio. Remember: consistency is key for social media optimization.
If your brand is B2C or has consumers who are not familiar with industry lingo, make sure the headline is as clear as possible so your audience can easily understand what your brand is about.
Remember, each time you describe your brand in a headline, bio or description, imagine that a viewer has never heard of you before and has no clue what you do.
3. Create a custom profile URL
Again, like on Facebook, creating a custom URL for your brand’s LinkedIn profile will demonstrate professionalism and offer clarity for visitors.
How to update your page URL:
- Access your Page Admin View.
- Click the Admin tools dropdown.
- Select Public URL.
- Enter the desired URL and save your changes—you’ll see a success message in the bottom left corner.
What do you think the first step is in optimizing your brand’s Instagram page?
1. Choose a clear profile picture
(Good guess.) On Instagram, there isn’t a header, so it all comes down to the profile picture. Use your logo for the profile picture or another very obvious representation of your brand.
Since the Instagram profile picture is smaller (110 x 110 pixels), it needs to be clear and readable. If your logo is intricate or your brand name is long, it would be wise to use a simpler version of your logo or an acronym for your brand name.
2. Make sure you have a business account on Instagram (this should be obvious)
An Instagram business account gives you access to features that are beneficial for engaging with and marketing to your followers. The three benefits we particularly appreciate are insights, call-to-action buttons, and ads.
How to make your brand account a business account:
- Go to your profile and tap in the upper right corner.
- Click Settings.
- Click Account.
- Click Switch to Professional Account.
- Click Business.
- You can also follow the steps to connect your business account to your brand’s Facebook Page.
- Add details, like your business category and contact information.
Simple, easy, effective.
3. Explain your brand (concisely) in your bio
As on most social media platforms, the description area isn’t very big. So you need to ensure that your bio on Instagram says who you are and what you do in a clear but intriguing way.
Include a brief description, a link to your website, your location and even an email or phone number so that visitors can learn more or contact you.
4. #Use #Hashtags (#WeLoveHashtags)
Hashtags are just… They just work. On your posts—which should be frequent—use hashtags to drive even more traffic to your brand’s profile. Current followers may see your posts in their feed, but hashtags put your content in front of people who are browsing a particular topic (in other words, people who might be interested in what your brand has to offer).
When choosing hashtags…
- Use strategic, relevant hashtags, not 30+ random hashtags
- Study your competitors and top influencers to find the best hashtags
Wrapping Up + General Social Media Optimization Tips
Optimizing your brand’s (or personal brand’s) social media accounts isn’t daunting. And you definitely don’t need a developer to make the changes.
These tips—especially the ones that seem obvious—are key for ensuring that your brand is making waves channel to channel.
Overall social media tips for every channel:
- Use the same name across all channels
- If the username you want is taken on one channel, consider changing it to match the other channels
- Example: “@Apple” can be turned into “@AppleCo” or “@AppleCompany”
- Make sure your profile picture is consistent across all channels
- But adjust the image to fit each social media platform’s specs (so the image isn’t blurry)
- Post frequently, but strategically, following a content distribution plan
Download the distribution checklist to make sure you’re giving the people (your audience) what they want (your valuable content)!