Although many businesses don’t know it, keywords and text are valuable for more than just Google results pages. The same logic that applies to the importance of SEO content also applies to social networks such as YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. After all, these social networks have a search function similar to that of Google. In other words, think of these social networks as simply a different search engine, but just on a slightly smaller scale.

This idea works for both businesses and individuals looking to improve their personal brand. You need to think like the target audience using these social networks, and then think about words they would use to describe you or your company. Once you have the keywords you want to incorporate, you’re set to go. You’ll want to more prominence when these searches take place, so it’s important to make the content look natural, yet apparent on your social media sites. You can do this a few different ways:

  • Fill in captions of photos with keywords and use tags with keywords whenever possible.
  • Utilize keywords each time you change your status on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Include keywords in your LinkedIn headline. They give you a lot of room, so take advantage.
  • Place keyword-rich descriptive text in the summary sections of all your accounts.

Although this may seem obvious, many businesses get nervous about constantly using keywords on social media sites because social media is supposed to be “cool.” The key, however, is to making them look natural. What you don’t want it spammy looking content that is stuffed with keywords which doesn’t engage the reader.

Social Media Keywords vs. SEO Keywords

Many aspects of optimizing your social media accounts are similar to optimizing for the search engines. You want content to look natural; you want to think like your target audience; you want to target 2-3 keyword phrases at a time; the more specific the better, and so on. However, there are two vital differences that are important to understand if you’re going to begin targeting keywords for social media.

1. Different Inquiries – What users type into a Google search box and what they type into a social media search box can vary considerably. For example, if you own a guitar shop someone may search for “guitar venues” when looking in Google, but they may search for “guitar songs” on YouTube (searching for a guitar venue on YouTube wouldn’t get too many solid results).

2. Different Answers – Not only do users find different topics interesting on different sites, but they want different types of answers. If someone is typing a keyword into a social media search box, chances are they are looking to have a conversation and connect with a brand. For example, with Google they may want a very basic answer to a credit card processing question, but if they go the extra mile to find you on a social network, they are probably very interested in using your company and their credit card processing vendor. This would make a keyword such as “credit card vendors” very appropriate.

Although Google and social media websites are quite different, you may find that some of your keywords overlap. As long as you consider the two points listed above, you should see success. The great thing to remember is, there is less competition with keywords for social media sites, therefore you will see results much, much faster.