For many begin­ners (and, heck, some mid-lev­el and even advanced SEOs), the line between search engine opti­miza­tion and social media can some­times blur.

  • Does your social media sup­port or even help your search engine rank­ings?
  • How does opti­miz­ing for search on social media affect your profile’s chance of show­ing up to new users?
  • And what does it mean that my tweets show up in search results?

In the past, the dif­fer­ence between SEO and social was fair­ly stark.

When peo­ple search on Google or anoth­er search engine, they’re active­ly look­ing for answers or solu­tions to their prob­lems.

But when scrolling through social, any post your busi­ness adds is poten­tial­ly just pas­sive­ly reach­ing users.

It’s some­thing pre­sent­ed to them as they’re already doing what­ev­er else they came to that plat­form to do.

How­ev­er, more peo­ple than ever are search­ing active­ly on social media now with hash­tags and trend­ing top­ics – and when they do they don’t just want an answer – they want a con­ver­sa­tion.

Not only does this mean more oppor­tu­ni­ty for mar­keters to learn about our tar­get audi­ences straight from their own expe­ri­ences.

It also means there’s more data than ever that we can use to inform our key­word research and pro­duce more use­ful tar­get­ed con­tent.

Along with join­ing Face­book and LinkedIn groups to under­stand your tar­get audi­ences on a deep­er lev­el, here are some ways to use social media for key­word research.

1. Use Facebook Ad Targeting Options for a Glimpse into Audiences

Because we put so much info into Face­book, their tar­get­ing data is extreme­ly spe­cif­ic.

You may know exact­ly who your tar­get mar­ket is, but you could find new or sup­ple­men­tal audi­ences that could be served by your com­pa­ny.

Face­book adver­tis­ing gives you options to dig into an audience’s:

  • Geog­ra­phy
  • Age
  • Gen­der
  • Inter­ests
  • Con­nec­tions
  • Rela­tion­ship Sta­tus
  • Lan­guages
  • Edu­ca­tion
  • Work­places

Using these, you can pin­point sim­i­lar audi­ences or even dig deep­er into the demo­graph­ics of your exist­ing audi­ence to tru­ly under­stand their lives.

Your B2B soft­ware may tar­get Sal­ly Sales­per­son, but how does it make her life out­side of her job decid­ed­ly bet­ter?

Maybe it means small tasks are auto­mat­ed so she can spend less time in the office and trav­el more if that’s what peo­ple in her audi­ence love to do.

And how can you use the infor­ma­tion in your con­tent to dri­ve more traf­fic to your site and then con­vert those leads into cus­tomers?

1. Use Facebook Ad Targeting Options for a Glimpse into Audiences

2. Dig Into Trending Topics on Twitter

A lot of what’s trend­ing on Twit­ter is news­wor­thy con­tent, but it’s in the con­ver­sa­tions relat­ed to those top­ics that mar­keters can real­ly find the details of what mat­ters to their audi­ences.

Plus, you can use the exact lan­guage that your poten­tial searchers are using too.

This is espe­cial­ly true if you’re active­ly engaged with the kind of audi­ence on Twit­ter that mir­rors your per­sonas or tar­get audi­ences.

Your #Trends­ForY­ou will be even more use­ful.

For exam­ple, as a mem­ber of the SEO Twit­ter com­mu­ni­ty and the admin of #SEOChat, I get a lot of info on Twit­ter from peo­ple who are ask­ing ques­tions on behalf of their SEO clients or from SEO new­bies.

I can use the ques­tions that are com­ing up for them and how they phrase it to deter­mine if those types of ques­tions are ones my audi­ences would have as well.

The key to this one is being active on Twit­ter already.

If you aren’t, there are social media mon­i­tor­ing tools that can help you dive deep­er into the niche com­mu­ni­ties on this plat­form and under­stand the con­ver­sa­tions that your tar­get audi­ences are hav­ing.

From there, you can look into the spe­cif­ic ques­tions and top­ics that show up in these Twit­ter con­ver­sa­tions and deter­mine how best to use them in your SEO strat­e­gy.

3. Discover What Shows Up When You Search Instagram Hashtags

Insta­gram is becom­ing its own lit­tle hash­tag search engine. You can even fol­low hash­tags you like now.

Many indus­tries are uti­liz­ing Insta­gram for the lead-dri­ver that it is – espe­cial­ly in local and cre­ative mar­kets.

Look­ing for a new­born pho­tog­ra­ph­er in your area #new­born­pho­tog­ra­phy­chica­go? Chances are you’ll want to see their work on Insta­gram.

Want a graph­ic design­er to help your busi­ness #graph­icde­sign­er­sofin­sta­gram? Get an idea of their style on Insta­gram.

By search­ing for hash­tags relat­ed to your busi­ness or your tar­get audi­ence and then ana­lyz­ing the most pop­u­lar posts, you can get an idea of what works well with peo­ple look­ing for those hash­tags.

  • What oth­er hash­tags are you see­ing?
  • Could those be key­words you’re not tar­get­ing yet?
  • What does the Insta­gram cap­tion say for the most pop­u­lar posts?
  • Does it include key pain points or lan­guage that you’re not includ­ing in your copy?

Tools like Tail­Wind can also give you an idea of relat­ed hash­tags, and Insta­gram itself offers a short­list of relat­ed hash­tags to include in your research, too.

4. Analyze Content on Pinterest

Pin­ter­est is a mine­field of good data, and I feel like it’s got­ten a bad rap as a “soft” or recre­ation­al social media plat­form.

I’ve noticed tons of use­ful busi­ness stuff post­ed to Pin­ter­est recent­ly as I’ve been scour­ing the web for help with my own busi­ness.

When I searched for “B2B mar­ket­ing,” I got con­tent ideas for top­ics relat­ed to social media, mar­ket­ing tac­tics, how to cre­ate info­graph­ics, prod­uct launch­es, and more.

With a long-tail search, I could see what more spe­cif­ic resources audi­ences are look­ing for and ben­e­fit­ting from.

Not only can you search for spe­cif­ic key phras­es on Pin­ter­est and get a load of top pins for inspi­ra­tion, but Pin­ter­est also offers sug­gest­ed search addi­tions to give you even more ideas as to how to cus­tomize your key­word research.

And just like Google has aut­ofill options in search, Pin­ter­est offers the same, giv­ing you even more poten­tial key­word tar­get ideas.

4. Analyze Content on Pinterest

5. Find Out What Influencers Are Saying on LinkedIn

Sure, the click­bait long-form posts on LinkedIn can make you want to roll your eyes, but they res­onate with users for a rea­son.

Find what influ­encers or big names in your indus­try are post­ing on LinkedIn and look at the reac­tions and com­ments they’re get­ting.

Just like on Twit­ter, peo­ple often join into the con­ver­sa­tion on LinkedIn and these com­ments can also be a great source of research for what your audi­ence is look­ing for/their pain points.

Assess what top­ics res­onate most with audi­ences (what reac­tions are long-form posts get­ting?) and what pros and cons are being brought up in the con­ver­sa­tion hap­pen­ing under the post.

Use that data to inform your own key­word research.

Social & Search Are More Compatible Than You May Think

We can learn a lot about social from search and a lot about search from social.

While they may not help each oth­er sig­nif­i­cant­ly in direct ways, we can learn more about our tar­get audi­ences and users from how they post, inter­act with, and pro­mote infor­ma­tion on social media plat­forms.

SOURCE: Search Engine Jour­nal