Google who? Social media has become the new search engine. Both Millennials and Gen Z are flocking to Instagram and TikTok for the latest product reviews, how-to’s, tips, tricks, and trends. Social media platforms have become more than just a place to connect with friends. You can look up restaurants in your city, watch concert clips, learn European history, and more. Here’s more on how social media functions as a search engine:
7 Ways Social Media Works as a Search Engine
1. Content discovery
On nearly every social media platform, users can search for specific topics, keywords, and hashtags to find what they’re looking for. Plus, they’ll uncover many types of media content including images, videos, posts, and articles (depending on the platform).
2. Real-time updates
Social media provides live updates on trending topics, news, gossip, and current events. Platforms like Twitter (now X) and livestreams on Instagram and TikTok offer real-time coverage of what’s going on in our world. Remember that it’s always important to fact-check your sources.
3. Personalized recommendations
Social media’s incredible algorithms are designed to cater to their users. Therefore, users are more likely to stumble upon content that interests them. Just check out your Instagram Discover page or TikTok For You videos to see this in action. You might have been watching lipstick hauls and makeup tutorials only to find a new brand or limited-time-only promo code in your discovery section.
4. Visual search
Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest primarily rely on photos and images to convey content (rather than a lot of text, like a typical search engine). This can be more engaging and help users find exactly what they’re looking for.
5. Local and community information
On Facebook, Twitter (X), and TikTok, users can search for local content such as restaurant reviews, upcoming events, community information, or nearby businesses.