With the rise of social search through Bing and Google, brands need to focus on strong SEO (search engine optimization), but ALSO on strong SSO (social search optimization). As a form of social referral, social search allows users to see brand interaction created by people within their social networks. Social search optimization stems from users’ engagement with the brand, such as a “like” on Facebook, a “+1” on Google+, a shared link, or a user-generated photo relevant to the brand. The more a user engages with the brand, the more likely the engagement will show up in social search results.
So how can you develop robust SSO for your brand? It all boils down to the content – whether it’s content you put out or content you solicit from your audience – further highlighting the underlying foundation for successful social media: content is king. Engaging content creates buzz among your target audiences, who will share your brand’s content to their own networks, in turn helping to illuminate your brand and elevate its visibility.
Based on what we’ve learned and practice at Otherwise, here are 6 tips for creating engaging brand content that will improve your brand’s SSO.
1. Post valuable content.
Your audience is more likely to engage with your post (like, +1, comment, share, retweet, etc.) if they find your posts useful. Is it a tip or trend that’s relevant to your brand or industry? Can your content help solve a problem or address an issue that’s common to your audience? Plus, posting relevant, interesting content will establish your expertise.
2. Create a two-way conversation.
Ask questions. Social media hinges upon an exchange of ideas, where brands and their audience talk with each other, rather than the brands talking at their audience. For example, relevant industry news can get people to post their input, in turn sparking a good discussion. Polls, on the other hand, are also useful tools to gather your audience’s direct opinion on your brand, which will help you better understand your audience’s needs and interests.
3. Show your personality.
Social media is about giving a personal edge to your brand. Open up to sharing an inside glimpse into your brand’s staff and brand culture. Don’t be shy to show a face to the name. It’ll make you more personable, while displaying that extra layer of transparency.
4. Share exclusive content.
Post content that can’t be found anywhere else, whether it’s exclusive behind-the-scenes photos or blog posts written from your insider’s experience or expertise. It gives your audience an inside scoop, which encourages readers to become followers by liking your Facebook page, following you on Twitter or adding you to their Google+ Circles.
5. Encourage your audience to share their experience.
Reviews help serve as “word-of-monitor” to help spread your brand name and boost your visibility. Ask your audience to write reviews or share their experiences with your brand, including their own social media channels – especially on Google+. Google+’s new Local feature shows reviews made by contacts within your audience’s Circle, serving as a form of virtual friend referral.
6. Encourage your audience to post user-generated content.
User-generated content can include brand-relevant photos or blog posts if your brand has a blog that accepts external contributions. When asking for photos, make sure contributors caption the photos with appropriate keywords (not to mention accurate photo credits), since Bing and Google’s social search will display photos based on keywords that match a user’s search query. These types of content instill loyalty to your brand, and users can exhibit that loyalty to others within their network, helping to get your brand name out there.
Let us know if you have your own tips to add to the list!
Ji-Sook Yim is an Integrated Marketing Associate at Otherwise Incorporated.
Illustration Credit: Yuri Canales, Graphic Designer at Otherwise Incorporated