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Social Media Is the New Search Engine 

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. 

6. Influencer and user-generated content

User-generated content (whether from an influencer or a ‘muggle’) is often impactful in users’ purchasing decisions because ‘real people’ feel more credible than big corporations. Because it doesn’t feel like an overt advertisement, UGC that offers opinions, reviews, and recommendations is often taken more seriously than generic commercial marketing.

7. SEO impact

Engaging content often performs better on social media and thereby rises in the ranks of visibility. The downside is that sensationalized or even fake news can go viral.

Now, we’re not saying search engines are completely obsolete. Search functionality on Google and social media platforms both have their strengths:

  • On Google, you’ll find structured and comprehensive information retrieval

  • On social media, you’ll see real-time updates, user engagement, and community-driven content

Each is important and influential, and you want your brand to be highly visible on both. So, how can your brand maximize its searchability on social media?

How to Maximize Searchability on Social Media

1. Keyword optimization

Make sure you use relevant keywords in your profile name, bio/about section, and posts. 

2. Hashtags

Yes, hashtags still matter. Utilize ones that best fit with your brand and content. Encourage your followers to share branded hashtags to foster community.

3. Quality Content

It’s important to post consistently, but not if you’re just posting fluff. The objective is to provide real value for your followers so they’ll stay engaged and keep coming back for more.

4. Engagement

Social media isn’t a one-way street. It’s important to interact with your followers’ comments, questions, and DMs. This builds trust but will also up your visibility in social media algorithms.

5. Consistency in branding

Maintain a consistent brand across platforms (ideally the same profile name, profile picture, about text, etc.). This ensures easy recognition that you are who you say you are.

6. Social media SEO

Understand that each social media platform has a unique algorithm. For example, its critical to optimize titles, descriptions, and captions on platforms like YouTube and Instagram. 

7. User-generated content

Like we mentioned above, UGC is a great way to gain credibility around your product, service, and brand. It not only boosts engagement but will also up your brand’s visibility.

8. Collaborations with influencers

Working with influencers broadens your reach by introducing you to new followers and increasing your searchability. 

9. Analytics and optimization

Review your social media analytics to see what’s working best. Adjust your strategy based on these insights.

10. Cross-promotion

Promote your social media profiles across different channels by linking them in your email signature and within your marketing materials.

If you’re doing all of this but still feel like your brand is lacking real reach, book a discovery call with Media À La Carte. Our social media audit can help you uncover, unpack, and understand the best social media strategy for you.

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