More and more non-profits are starting to understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and its power to help Internet users find their website. But what many forget is that applying SEO principles to Social Media can help further boost their organization’s visibility.
SEO isn’t just for websites. Here’s how to boost your organization’s presence by applying the same principles to social media.
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First, Social media platforms function as search engines: users enter keywords or phrases that interest them into a search bar, and the platform shows them results containing those words. Just like websites, social media profiles are more likely to be found (and engaged with) when they’re searchable. Second, social media is indexed on Google, meaning that profiles and posts on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms can show up in search results along with websites. Optimizing your organization’s social media content for specific keywords means they may show up in Google results, directing interested people to your profiles.
Optimize your profiles.
One of the first steps of starting to use social media is setting up a profile, including things like a handle and bio. Ideally, your organization’s social media handles and display names should match the actual name as closely as possible, which will help the organization rank for its own name.
Then, when filling out the bio section and other profile information, insert keywords that are relevant to the organization (and make sure they’re ones people search for). On platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, which allow for more extensive profiles, be sure to fill out all sections as completely as possible.
Optimize your social media posts.
Incorporating relevant keywords into your organization’s social media posts means they’ll be more likely to come up in searches on the platform – and on Google.
Optimizing individual posts is one of the main ways to apply SEO to social media, and it’s very similar to optimizing website pages or blog posts. Once you’ve created or curated content to be shared on social media, identify the most important keywords that are relevant. Just as you would for website content, work them into the post in a way that sounds natural; keyword stuffing should be avoided on social media just as on websites. While keyword-rich posts will benefit your organization on any social media platform, they’re especially vital on Pinterest and YouTube, as users rely heavily on the search function on both platforms.
Create content around target keywords.
You might already be writing blog posts around certain target keywords. Have you considered doing the same for social media content?
While sharing relevant and useful content on social media is ultimately more important than including keywords, you might consider designing occasional posts around certain keywords. Once you identify target keywords, think about how you can create social media posts that incorporate them. This is also a good way to make sure your organization isn’t overlooking any topics it should be covering on social media.
Use the right hashtags.
While hashtags are unique to social media, their function is similar to that of keywords. Social media users search hashtags to find content on specific topics, and on certain platforms (especially Instagram), hashtags are one of the main ways people discover accounts they want to follow. While hashtags are more important on Instagram and Twitter than on other platforms, including hashtags in social media posts anywhere will make your organization’s content easier for people to find.
Post about timely topics.
People use Google and social media to search for timely topics, whether it’s an upcoming event, a major news item, or a trending story or discussion. If people are searching for something, your organization should be posting about it.
Staying up-to-date so you can weigh in on current issues and participate in ongoing dialogue is a good way to stay relevant and build your organization’s credibility, but it can also help new potential followers discover your profiles. If there’s an important conference related to the organization’s cause, legislative developments that could affect its work, or a current social media campaign that ties in, post about it – and be sure to include relevant keywords and hashtags.
Just as Google penalizes websites that aren’t frequently updated, older social media content shows up less often in searches. Post on social media as frequently as possible to make it more likely that your organization will show up when people search for keywords related to your mission.
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