The importance of keywords for social media

by | Oct 29, 2016

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Keywords have been an important factor in online marketing for a number of years. Anyone with a website will be familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), of which keywords play a large part.

But keywords – the words and phrases people are using to search for something – are also a key part of social media. They are essential to getting our online profiles found.

Whenever we type words into a search bar, an algorithm is looking for keywords to determine which profiles to display on the results page.

Appearing at the top of search results is one of the biggest online success factors. The right keywords will help get you there.

Using keywords

In your social media bio (Twitter), about description (Facebook) or headline (LinkedIn) they should be used clearly and succinctly to immediately explain what it is you do / how you can help / what you are interested in. On LinkedIn your skills section should be entirely keyword focused. You can read my thoughts on LinkedIn endorsements, here.

In your online content (web pages, blogs, descriptions etc) keywords should be used as naturally as possible.

Keyword research

Selecting the correct keywords for your business is all about doing some groundwork, but as they are so crucial in a crowded market place, with everyone vying for people’s attention, it will be time well spent.
Search behaviour is very similar across the web, so the following techniques to research keywords will help your online presence, whichever social media platform you are using.

Keyword research can help you to:
• Gauge market interest for products/services
• Better understand prospective customers
• Track popular (trending) topic areas
• Define the message/s that will engage your target audience in conversation

There are numerous ways to carry out keyword research. Don’t over complicate the task, simply try and think like a customer.

Think about the subject and skill areas you want to be found for. Then think around those keywords to expand them into short phrases or questions… what exactly might your potential customer search for around your subject area?

You could consider:
• Where they are in the buying process. Early on potential customers are likely to be searching for problem-based keywords. Later on they tend to type in solution-based keywords. Branded keywords are not usually introduced to searches until the decision stage.
• What are the frequently asked questions you receive about your product/service?
• What are the features and benefits of your product/service?

Google Suggest is a great tool. Simply start typing your keywords into Google and see what it predicts (based on popular keyword search phrases).


Also, scroll down to the bottom of the search results page, here you will find a list of related search suggestions. For example:


Then why not type in those related search terms and look at their related search terms.

If you’re using video content for social media, YouTube also has a suggestion tool and keyword tool specifically for video keyword research.

Other useful tools include Wordtracker and BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo is great for researching the content topics that get shared most on social media.

Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner  is the tool to use if you’re taking this seriously. You will need to set up an Adwords account for this, but it doesn’t mean you have to create an ad. For help with using the Adwords Keyword Planner, visit  is an even easier tool to use. It also enables you to search for popular keywords across Bing, Amazon and App Store as well as Google and YouTube. If you’re a more visual person, try UberSuggest  as related keywords are presented in a word cloud format.

Try and do a little competitor research too. You can use SEMrush or Spyfu to check out the keywords that are getting your competitors found online.


Across various social media, hashtags are used to mark keywords or topics. They are great for bringing conversations on the same topic into a single thread to make it convenient for those seeking information to track comments and commentators.

If you’re not sure about the hashtags you are using, check out

Enter a keyword and it will make further suggestions based on popularity and top influencers. Hashtagify also offers a number of tracking resources for hashtags and a Hashtagify library!


By doing your homework and monitoring the keywords relevant to your business you should be able to pick up on opportunities for conversation… but only do so if it’s relevant. Use the voice of your target audience and consider their intent when searching for a business like yours.


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