Metadata can be an easily overlooked facet of social marketing, pawned off on the web developer or SEO specialist, but if you’re the one responsible for content being shared on social, then this should fall squarely on your shoulders.
Social metadata can make the difference between your website content being shared, clicked on, or completely ignored.
What Is Metadata and Why Should You Care?
Metadata is defined by WhatIs.com as “data that describes other data.”
A website is just a bunch of data, and its metadata describes that data, breaking down all sorts of things. From how long a page is, to which keywords matter, and what images are on a page, metadata tells other parts of the internet what your site actually is, but in a CliffNotes version.
2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide
When we think about metadata, we think of SEO and search engines crawling a website, but metadata is just as useful to the social marketer. When a link to your site – be it a blog post, product, or homepage – is shared to a social network, that network collects specific data about the page.
If your site isn’t optimized for social media, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to maximize your social impact and develop content that sees broader reach and more click-through.
The Difference Good Metadata Can Make
Good metadata can make the difference between a post that gets shared, and one that doesn’t.
Above you see two posts; one from The Seattle Times, and one from The New York Times. Notice the custom image, title, and description for the post from The Seattle Times, and the lack of all of that for the post from The New York Times. Which one are you more likely to click on? (Try to leave the picture of Adam’s luxurious hair out of your decision.)
Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol reads a site’s metadata and caches it, so it’s important to have this built into your content publishing process.
The same is true on Twitter, Pinterest, and many other social networks.
If you’re a social marketer, you can’t trust your web team, content team, or SEO specialist to have this squared away. They may not recognize this as an issue or opportunity. Instead, you need to lead the effort and explain to them why it matters.
Optimizing Your Website’s Social Metadata
Last week, I spoke at Marketingland’s SocialPro Conference.
I was part of a panel with Jennifer Sable-Lopez, Sr. Director of Community for Moz, and Lauren Donovan, Community Editor for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, where we discussed social markup and metadata. Jen walked through Facebook’s open graph protocol, and I talked about optimizing web content for Twitter Cards and Pinterest Rich Pins.
There are many ways to optimize your site. If you work with a web developer, you can ask for their help. Or if you manage a WordPress site, there are easy plugins that can help do the legwork for you.
Below, you’ll find each of our presentation decks from our talk on metadata and social markup. These decks are packed full of information on how to optimize content for each network and develop a strategy that drives more engagement with more compelling social links.
It’s Not Social Sharing Without Metadata
Social Markup: Rich Pins and Twitter Cards
Social Markup You Should Know: Open Graph
How Does This Factor Into Your 2016 Strategy?
As we get closer to 2016, we’re all focused on planning right now. Is web optimization important to your 2016 goals? Download our 2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide to help build your social plan.