By John Doe December 11 2017

SEO 101: How To Use Social Media For Keyword Research

Making a clear distinction between search engine optimization and social media marketing can get a bit hairy.

  • Do social media channels influence organic rankings in search?
  • Can new users find you if you optimize for search on social channels?
  • Does it matter if tweets appear in search results?

Previously, SEO and social media marketing could be considered two separate disciplines in need of their own respective strategies.

And this makes sense when you consider the user’s perspective.

For example, when searching for something on Google, the user is specifically looking for something specific. However, when scrolling through newsfeeds on social media, users come across posts and ads from a number of organizations – but only passively.

They are not on the platform to look for your business or blog article specifically, they came there for passive entertainment or to read the news.

However, this is slowly starting to change. Now, more and more social media users are beginning to actively search on socials. And instead of searching for an answer to something specific (like in search) – they are looking to engage in a trending conversation.

This presents marketers with a ton of opportunities. For starters, we can learn even more about our target audiences. We can even narrow that down to each buyer persona. We can also use this data for keyword research to help us create better blog articles, videos, and other web content.

A good place to start learning more about your target audience on socials is by joining a LinkedIn or Facebook group. However, there is still so much more you can do.

Here are 5 simple tips for conducting keyword research through your social channels.

1. Explore Facebook’s Ad Targeting Features to Learn More About Your Target Audience

Facebook users willingly give Facebook a ton of very specific, valuable data that can be used for targeting ads.

Even if you already know your target market and buyer personas, you could also use Facebook’s ad targeting features to discover even more audiences and potential buyers.

Some specific things you can learn about audiences through Facebook’s advertising are your audience’s:

  • Relationship Status
  • Education level
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Place of work
  • Geography/Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Languages
  • Connections

Using all of this information to your advantage, you can look for similarities between audience groups. You can even try to further understand your existing audience and pick up on any undiscovered nuances.

For example, your software may be targeted for HR administrators. However, using Facebook’s data, you could look further into how this software actually enhances their private lives.

Perhaps it helps to standardize processes so that their teams have more time to travel, attend trainings, or work from home.

You won’t know that until you dig deeper into your buyer personas.

And once you have even more information, you can figure out how to use that to your benefit to develop even better content to drive traffic and eventually sales.

2. Research What’s Trending on Twitter

There is a ton of trending and newsworthy content floating around on Twitter each day. And the details of those tweets, retweets, and related conversations can help marketers learn more about their audiences, and their own brand. Much of this can be automated using a social media tracker.

By using Twitter, you can get into your audience’s head, search the way that they search, and discover more about their mindset.

You can also explore what is trending for you specifically and can pick up on even more useful insights that you might not know about yet.

The best way to go about using Twitter is to become a part of the community early on and stay regularly active.

For example, if you are already a member of the digital marketing, SEO, or SMM communities on twitter, you will have a good idea of common questions floating around regarding these topics over time.

Not only that, but you’ll have a good idea of how these questions are phrased. You can then see which questions may apply to your audience and how it might fit into your overall SEO keyword planning and strategy.

 

3. Explore Instagram Hashtags

Believe it or not, Instagram is another great way to research hashtags and trending topics. In addition to following other businesses in your industry or members of your target audience, you can also follow hashtags.

Several industries already use hashtags to drive leads. For example, creatives may use a hashtag like ‘#creativesofinstagram’ or, sometimes in local areas, they may use the hashtag ‘#miamicreatives’.

These hashtags can help you find niche communities in local areas, and you can analyze the most successful posts relevant to your industry. This will help you better understand what is gaining traction on Instagram and what isn’t.

In your analysis, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What hashtags are performing well?
  • What kinds of hashtags are out there?
  • Do these hashtags have keywords relevant for my audience?
  • What is the language/copy like, and could I incorporate that into my keyword strategy?
  • How is the caption on the top-performing posts different than low performing posts?

 

You may also find platforms like ‘TailWind’ to be helpful in researching hashtags and related hashtags. Instagram also has a built-in feature to help you explore hashtags.

 

4. Look at What Content is Performing Well on Pinterest

Many people may not consider Pinterest as a useful platform, but there is actually a ton of great data and content available to explore on Pinterest.

Many organizations and companies use Pinterest to either post their own content (pins) or collect pins for other topics.

You can use this wealth of information to your advantage by exploring all of the available infographics, photography, and lists found on Pinterest profiles.

This not only gives you plenty of inspiration, but it can also help you learn even more details about your audience.

Pinterest, like Google, also offers suggested searches when searching for content. This is great for helping you find hundreds of new keywords or keyword phrases.

5. Use LinkedIn to See What Thought Leaders Are Talking About

Though a bit cringe at times, LinkedIn can actually be an asset if you use it right.

Many of your industry’s biggest leaders are on LinkedIn posting articles and photos daily.

Monitor what these influencers are saying and see how people respond. You can see which types of posts gain the most traction, and you can also see how people engage with the content.

Can you discover any new pain points? Are people phrasing questions in new ways? What content is currently trending, and what is resonating the most with your target audience?

By monitoring conversations on LinkedIn regularly, you can use this to help with your own keyword planning.

Using Search and Social Together

Social media and search engines don’t have to be in opposition with each other – they can actually work quite well together!

By learning more about what content our audience engages with and how they interact with others, we are in a much better position to develop meaningful keyword strategies that answer real questions and address relevant pain points.