Stephen Darori is a Social Media Expert,Author, Publicist,Finance and Marketing Whiz , Strategist ,Journalist, Editor Prolific Blogger. Editor. You can follow Stephen Darori on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other Social Media Platforms.
Stephen Darori & Associates has led major Social Media and Digital Campaigns for wide ranging clients that have included Hilary for America, the Democratic Party ,Democratic Alliance ( South Africa), Fortune 1000 companies and Shabbat.com
Keyword Research for Social Media :The Experts' Guide
The foundation of search marketing is built on keywords. Search marketers know that conducting continuous keyword research and keyword analysis is critical to achieving success with organic and paid search advertising. But conducting and implementing keyword research is also highly effective for social media marketing. Whether your target audience is sharing content on YouTube or Flickr, or they’re Tweeting on Twitter, your social media marketing efforts should start with determining which keywords your audience is using.
To be more specific, conducting keyword research for social media enables you to discover the needs and wants of social communities by:
Tracking popular and trending topics
Determining search/query frequency
Gauging market interest for products or services
Identifying demand for keywords
Better understanding user intent
Discovering relevant points of engagement
By researching and identifying social media keywords, you gain a much clearer picture of how to construct and communicate your message effectively. Applying this level of keyword insight to all your social media optimization efforts (from optimized video, to image tagging, to social bookmarking, to targeted Tweets) gives you the maximum “pull” and value out of your social media marketing efforts.
Social Misconception: Isn't All Keyword Research The Same?
Many believe that keyword research is a one-size-fits-all process. They assume that the same keyword data they apply to their pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization efforts will be just as effective for their social media marketing strategy. This couldn't be further from the truth. There are some major differences between search and social, which include:
Query variances: The most popular queries in Google aren't the most popular queries in YouTube. Take, for example, the query "YouTube," which is very popular in Google though not popular at all on YouTube, where Arts and Entertainment (such as music) queries dominate user searches.
Behavioral differences across platforms: Not only do query types and user behavior differ between Google and social media sites, but there are dramatic differences from one social platform to another. The behavior exhibited by users on the photo sharing site Flickr are often dramatically differently than micro-bloggers on Twitter.
Query vs Conversation: Social engagement is more than just punching a query into a search engine.Searchers are looking for an answer to a question or an unmet need, while social media users want to engage in conversation, share ideas and interact with one another. So thinking just in terms of query strings is limited and can lead to completely misunderstanding user intent and expectations.
Given that user behavior differs between search and social and from one platform to another, we see the importance of performing keyword research specific to social media and refining your research across platforms. With that, let’s take a look at four of the most popular social networking websites and different methods for performing keyword research for each one.
Keyword Research for YouTube
Keyword Research for Twitter
Keyword Research for Facebook
Keyword Research for Flickr
Keyword Research For YouTube
Videos are one of the hottest and fastest growing ways to connect with your potential customers online. There are dozens of video sharing websites, but YouTube is the largest video discovery destination. YouTube continues to dominate the search space as the second largest search engine in the U.S. behind Google. For marketers, the goal of researching keywords for YouTube online video marketing is to determine:
How users are searching
Which queries are being performed more than others
How to get your content found
There are two methods for conducting keyword research specific to video marketing in YouTube which are:
YouTube Keyword Tool
YouTube Suggest is a video marketing keyword suggestion tool with an enhanced search function that works like the Google suggest feature. YouTube Suggest uses a predictive text model to display popular query suggestions in the YouTube search query box, which is ordered by relative search volume.
YouTube also has created their own YouTube Keyword Tool that marketers can use for video keyword research. The user interface is the same as the Google Keyword Tool, with the objective of mining and discovering the most popular video queries on YouTube.
By using YouTube Suggest and the YouTube Keyword Tool, marketers will gain insight into keyword query popularity and frequency on YouTube. Thesekeyword suggestions can then be integrated into your video keyword optimization efforts in the title of the video, the tags, the video description and any links you build to reinforce semantic relevance. The goal of this optimization for YouTube is to gain greater visibility and exposure for your video content by targeting a large audience with relevant keywords.
Keyword Research For Twitter
Twitter has emerged as a force in the social networking space. Marketers who ignore Twitter do so at their own peril. The amount of content created by Twitter users on an a minute-by-minute basis makes Twitter a powerful tool to aid marketers in performing keyword research for social media. Elements like hashtags are a quick way to qualify the topic of a message and make it easy to discover trending topics, related Tweets and phrases relevant to your marketing efforts. And given Google's recent move to integrate Tweets into real-time, blended search results, marketers who leverage Twitter for keyword researcheffectively will gain even more visibility for their websites.
There is an endless assortment of web applications and listening tools that can help marketers conduct keyword research for Twitter by tracking popular hashtags, trending Twitter topics and eaves dropping on conversations. Here are some of my favorite sources for Twitter keyword research.
Hashtags.org - Provides graphs on Twitter #hashtags and hashtag use; find the most popular and newest hashtags
Twitter Search - Track the hottest trends on Twitter and click on a stream to pull up a feed of the public conversation
Trendistic - See the top trending keywords in Twitter
TwitScoop - Search and follow what's buzzing on twitter in real-time
TweetVolume - Enter your keywords and see how often they appear on Twitter
TweetScan - Incorporate Twitter search and historical search to access more than 220 million Tweets
TweetGrid - Create a real-time Twitter Search dashboard
TweetBeep - Save target keywords, receive email alerts you tweets containing your keywords
As Twitter continues to grow in popularity and relevance, marketers need to pay careful attention to trends and data to find out what people are talking about, what questions they're asking and to figure out where your brand and business fits into the conversation.
Keyword Research For Facebook
Targeting potential customers on Facebook is not as easy as with social networking sites like Twitter. Marketers can't access the profiles of potential customers unless you get permission, but you can promote your business on fan pages, group pages and with paid advertising. Facebook used to offer a tool to perform keyword research and monitor "buzz words," called Facebook Lexicon. But they've removed the Facebook Lexicon feature and are rumored to be creating marketing analytics tools for page owners.
In the meantime, the social networking giant has upgraded their internal search functionality, which allows for advanced keyword research for Facebook. Before this upgrade, you could only monitor the posts of people you were immediately connected with. But now you're able to view the messages, links and notes of everyone who uses Facebook to see which keywords people are using.
Start your research by running a query for a target keyword in the internal search bar. Then, click on the option "Posts by Everyone."
Much like Google's real time search feature, Facebook search updates automatically in real time, offering a fresh and constant stream of new keyword ideas and opportunities. Use this Facebook keyword research data for targeted relationship building. Reach out and connect with potential customers, but make sure you give them a reason to want to connect with you.
Keyword Research For Flickr
Images from the popular social photo sharing site Flickr show up in the blended results in Google for a variety of search queries. In addition, about 10 percent of Google’s visitors use the image search function, according to a study by Alexa.com. So knowing which keywords searchers use for image discovery and having your website images display prominently and frequently in both the Flickr and Google search results gives you the opportunity to grab more clicks and drive more traffic to your website.
One of my favorite methods to conduct keyword research for Flickr is through Google Insights for Search.
Here, I've conducted searches on two popular, trending terms ("American Idol" and "Tiger Woods") and filtered to show only image search activity. You can also drill down to get even more granular and filter by location, date and category. Using Google Insights for Search to perform keyword analysis for images gives you insights into popular and trending image searches and greater visibility into the marketplace.
Another nice application for gauging popularity and frequency of search terms on Flickr is Flickr Trends, which looks at how many photos have been tagged with a particular keyword over a specified time period. It also presents the relative popularity of one keyword versus another to show you what's thriving and what's diving.
Using Flickr Trends to perform keyword research for Flickr is an ideal way to compare the usage of similar keywords side by side. So say I was uploading photos of my hypothetical cold and flu treatment products to Flickr. Given the results from Flickr Trends, I would choose to optimize and tag my images for "H1N1" rather than "Swine Flu" because of the upward trend for H1N1 searches on Flickr. In addition to optimized tags, be sure to include keywords on your Flickr photo page in relevant titles and image descriptions to ensure maximum visibility.
I was catching up with a business colleague the other day and I couldn’t remember what the exact time was. She had sent me a message, but was it on Whatsapp, Facebook, a text or an email? Eventually I did find that short conversation online and it was on Facebook!
That is the challenge today.
We have so many options, not only with how we communicate but market our brand and products. Content marketing is no different.
Some people will ask a friend’s advice on what to buy while others will start with a Google search. When they find you they may prefer a video to text or even want to listen to a podcast.
As they say it’s complicated.
The content marketing cycle
At the end of the day the sales and engagement funnel is not a 20 step scientific formula. None of us follow a straight path to purchase, its a circuitous and winding journey that is more an adventure then a clinical scientific process. But there are some key steps.
The content creation and promotion process starts with understanding your customer, creating a list of topics to produce and then creating the content. Here is one visual description of the cyclical process .
No matter how you visualize the process it is continuous and needs to be a constant cycle of content creation, marketing (paid or earned) and measurement. It’s about finding what content works and what doesn’t.
Never assume what content will be a winner
It means doing the basics right by understanding the customer as best you can and then creating content topics around that. Next is to”start” publishing. You will be surprised very often with what goes viral and gets shared the most and what doesn’t.
This is where the customer engagement begins, ends and continues. Creating and constant testing! But you need to start… to learn what content resonates.
The customer content engagement journey
The customer’s content engagement journey is part science, part creativity and some intuition. It’s moving them from not knowing who you are (or even exist) to raving fans or “advocates’ who will love what you do and will share your content with a passion.
But before your customer engages with you they have to know who you are . That is the discovery phase or as the diagram below from Social Fresh calls it “awareness”.
So where does it begin? How do you find your customer or how do they find you? It doesn’t need to be complicated.
Here are 4 simple steps to content marketing success.
Step 1: Finding the customer (or do they find you?)
Often in the past the only tactics to finding your customer was with “outbound marketing”.
For many businesses acquiring a customer was cold calling, letterbox drops and fax broadcasts. For the consumer focused business or B2C brands it was mass media including TV, radio and print.
Today the customer finds you.
This is called inbound marketing and content marketing is part of that process.
The tactics for customer discovery
How many ways can you be discovered? Here are a few tactics at the discovery phase that you may need to be “found”.
Search: Turning up on page one of Google is not something that happens on day one. So this needs attention from day one launch of your blog or website. But it has to be done. It’s called an SEO process and it is driven in part by content and social discovery.
Social: Turning up a Twitter stream or a Facebook share and news feed is another way of being discovered. As you can imagine this will only happen if your content is good and you have fans and followers sharing your content.
Paid. This includes Facebook ads and Google AdWords.
Email: They won’t discover you on email unless a friend shares your content by forwarding the email.
Word of mouth: This is powerful way to be discovered because someone thought you were good enough to be recommended or mentioned.
So you have been discovered and now the engagement adventure begins.
Step 2: Engaging the customer
So they have found you! You have turned up in a search engine whether you have paid for it or earned it.
This is where the compelling contagious content kicks in.
Content that engages
In essence you have four media category choices for creating engaging content; text, images, video and audio. Then there are the flavours:
These include: Blog posts, white papers, ebooks, photos, photoshopped images, infographics, YouTube videos, short form videos on Vine and also podcasts.
So what engages “your” customer? That is something that only hitting the start button will discover. You will need to create, publish and measure to find out.
Social media is one of the best places to experiment and fail fast often and cheaply.
From average to great
How good is your content?
If it’s average, they “may” read it. It’s skimmed and scanned
If its good it could be shared once.
If it is compelling, then it’s shared many times on multiple social networks.
If its memorable, resourceful and useful then it is included in someones’ blog post and they may even “hyperlink” to your site.
If its beyond memorable and is insightful and thought leading… then it’s mentioned at a dinner party. You can’t measure that.
The power of content to engage viewers, readers and customers is where the magic happens. It even happens on Twitter!
Engagement in search
They found you on Google but now comes the harder part. Can you move them from viewing to “clicking”?
So on the “search engine result page” or “SERP”, Google produces only three elements; the headline, description and the link . But there are two tactics that you can control and requires some attention and optimization.
Great headline: This is limited to only 74 characters. Make sure it is compelling and not cut off!
Tempting meta description: This has a 156 character limit and needs to tempt them to click
Engagement on social
On social it often means you have needed to create something visual to get that first glance.
Some visual tactics
Publish an image or infographic on your social media channels that may take them to longer form content such as a blog post or video.
Embed a video on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
Engagement on your website and blog
Appealing customer engagement on your website and blog means many things but some key elements include:
Opening sentence and paragraph
Structure, including sub-titles and bullet points.
It must be mentioned. Walls of unbroken text are often the death of content engagement.
So viewing and reading and engaging them are essential but the next step is to keep coming back so they don’t forget you.
Step 3. Calls to action
The social web provides easy ways to follow people on multiple social networks. Social media is often the light engagement. If they subscribe to your email then it’s getting a little more serious. That is saying “you can keep in touch with me”.
This means you need to move beyond just free content engagement to “calls to action”.
Tactics for calls to action include email and social:
Some email “call to action” tactics :
They look like this:
Some social “call to action” tactics
They look like this:
Step 4: Convert to customers
The ultimate goal for content marketing is to turn those followers and subscribers into buyers. This happens with the continuous commitment to content creation and sharing that builds trust and credibility. It means always bubbling to the top. It’s also about not being forgotten.
Fans and advocates may not always become customers and may just enjoy your content. But they will be brand ambassadors that will continue you to share your content. This is when the crowd sourced content marketing becomes a very large amplifier of your brand.