Most marketers think of SEO and social media as completely different animals. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your social profiles can rank independently from your website, and help expand your brand’s digital footprint. As with everything, though, the devil is in the details. That’s because an unoptimized, unbranded social profile is a largely ineffective profile.
So today we’re talking basics – optimizing your social profiles so that they appear in the SERPs for branded terms. This can help you edge out your competitors, and keep your branded content in front of the eyes of your core audience.
Profile Names and Branded Optimization
You want your social pages to rank for your branded terms. That is, the name of your company. When your social pages rank for your branded terms, your competitors can’t rank for them. At least, they can’t rank well. For example, The first 5 results for both “MoreVisibility” and “more visibility” return our website and social pages:
Start by appropriately naming your social pages with the name of your company or brand. Then, make sure you have a branded URL (vanity URL) where applicable. (On most social networks, your URL will match your page name, but on Google+, you have to claim your vanity URL.)
If you’ve already set up your social pages, and you haven’t appropriately named your profile, in most cases, you can change it.
Twitter makes it easy to change a “handle” name; simply edit your profile and change it. In other networks, it’s not so easy. In Facebook, for example, you can change your Page name only if you have less than 200 followers. If you have more followers, you must submit a change request to Facebook.
Next, it’s time to optimize your brand’s profile. Your profile should use keywords to adequately describe what your company does. The use of keywords is extremely important for both internal search within the networks, such as Facebook’s Graph Search, and for the descriptions that display within the SERPs. Often, you will describe your brand using similar terms – this is ideal for consistency.
And don’t worry about using terms that you’ve optimized your webpages for. It’s not likely that a social page would rank very highly in the SERPs for a competitive keyword. So, your social pages won’t be “competing” against your webpages.
Brand Identification & Consistency
On your social pages, all banners and profile images should maintain the same look and feel – this is important for brand identification and consistency. You don’t have to have the same profile image in all networks, but your basic branding – logo, typography, and coloring should be consistent throughout. For example, here’s MoreVisibility’s Facebook page:
And here’s our Twitter profile:
Barriers to Optimization
Although much of this may seem simple and obvious, there are a lot of ways to get this wrong. Three of the most commons ways include:
- Using an employee’s name as the profile name
- Using employee’s – even the owner’s – photo as the profile image
- Using imagery (in banners and profiles) that is off-brand and off-message
For more on this, you can download our white paper on auditing your company’s social media presence.