Executive Overview: Like it or not. Pay attention to it or not. Social Media has become important to every website. Yes, even yours. So much so that it may be more important even than Search. And, like good SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media Optimization, or SMO, needs consideration.
The need comes because your webpages WILL be shared and you should want to be aware of how they look. You've probably noticed times when a web page is shared and it doesn't look right. The image is usually the most noticable as it may be unrelated to the page content or a poor quality. The page title and description may be vague or incomplete as well. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc. pull this content from your site to assist the user in creating their post. Missing, incomplete, or unrelated content can have a huge impact on your company’s brand and message not to mention a lost marketing opportunity.
Luckily, the social media sites want these to look good as well and have made it so that you can have some control in how your page looks when it is shared on their platform.
Optimization starts with Meta Tags
Like SEO, there are things you can do to optimize your site for Social Media. The proper use of social media meta tags allows you to control the way your pages will look, optimizing your shares and driving more click-throughs. Whereas properly setting SEO related meta tags will get your page initially discovered and boost your search engine rankings, social media meta tags will enhance and increase the sharing of that page. By optimizing your meta tags, you gain power over how the title, description, images, and more are used when the page is shared This preserves your branding and helps to drive new traffic and a better rate of conversion to your site.
Tools for Social Meta Tags Optimization
Some of the social media sites offer testing tools for their respective meta tag usage. These are helpful for validating your page on each of their platforms.
- Facebook has an OpenGraph Debugger.
- Twitter has a Cards Validator.
- Pinterest has a Rich Pins Validator.
- LinkedIn uses OpenGraph but does not currently have a tool of their own.
- Google+ does not have a tool specifically for sharing on the platform. They have turned to using OpenGraph as well as there Structured Data use by the search engine.
To round out this list of testing tools, it is worth noting the search engine testing tools as well.
Surround's All-In-One Search Engine Markup and Social Media Meta Tag Optimization Tool
Going out and testing on those tools is time consuming, inefficient, error prone, and somewhat complex. Something Surround is simply not a fan of. So, we created a tool of our own to consolidate all this testing and validation in one place. See for yourself with our Search and Social Tag Validation Tool and quickly see what your web pages looks like to Search Engines and Social Media.
Social Media sites almost all use a card-based user interface design for their user's posts and shares. This is simply because the card design is an easy, natural way to browse different types of content. As such, we use the term Social Cards to refer to how a page will appear on a Social Media site. We have even carried this design over to our reimagined sitemap, another topic for a future post perhaps, where a user can view the contents of your website in much the same way they would the content of a social media site.
Surround's WCMS Simplifies Search and Social Content
Surround's Accelerator Website Content Management System, or WCMS, makes it simple to configure and define your page's search and social tools. Just take a peek at the SEO/SMO Site-wide Viewer tool where we optimized our own Surround Site. Be sure to notice the different Page Tabs across the top. This page, along with the Sitemap, are dynamically created for you … just one part of what we think is the most comprehensive end-to-end software development platform available. Accelerator simply drives faster development with better quality and more functionality . . . delivering Software that people love!
Don't miss the opportunity to drive more sales
Whether you are an avid social media user or avoid it at all costs, you must recognize that your business is playing a part in it whether you want it to or not. Have business social media profiles may not be your highest priority, but adding social meta tags is a must. They will help your business to project a more professional, crisp look to your business’s social shares and bring a more attractive and appealing look to your content that engages increased readership and drives more online conversions and sales for your business.