As the internet has become increasingly integrated into our daily lives, social media platforms have emerged as dominant sources of information and communication. As such, nowadays, people often turn to social media rather than traditional search engines like Google to find the answers to their questions and fulfill their information needs.
In fact, a Google executive recently suggested that around 40% of younger generations turn to TikTok and Instagram rather than Google Search or Maps when seeking out local businesses.
@TechCrunch: Google exec suggests Instagram and TikTok are eating into Google’s core products, Search and Maps
Why the Shift to Social Media from Search
People are making the shift from searching on search engines to social media for a variety of reasons.
There are several reasons for this shift. For one, social media platforms are often more convenient and user-friendly than search engines. It’s easier to ask a question on social media and get a quick response from a friend or community rather than sifting through search results and trying to determine which sources are reliable.
Social media algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated at personalizing content and serving up information that is relevant to an individual user. This means that people are more likely to find what they’re looking for on social media without having to do as much digging.
Another factor driving the shift toward social media is the growing importance of “social proof.” When we see that other people are sharing or recommending something, it adds to the credibility of the information and makes us more likely to trust it. It is particularly true when the recommendations come from people we know and trust.
Finally, social media platforms offer interactivity and community that search engines can’t match. When we ask a question on social media, we can get feedback and converse with others. This engagement makes the experience of finding information more social and enjoyable.
How Business Can Prepare for the Shift from Search Engines to Social
For businesses, this shift in consumer behavior means that it is more important than ever to have a strong presence on social media. Here are some ways that your brand can prepare for the shift to social media as the new search engine:
1. Build your presence
Make sure your brand has a presence on multiple social media platforms. While being present on leading platforms like Facebook and Instagram is essential, it is also worth considering expanding to other platforms that may be relevant to your target audience.
If your target audience skews younger, you should explore TikTok. On the other hand, if video is central to your marketing efforts, building a solid presence on Youtube would be valuable.
2. Show your personality
Use social media to showcase your brand’s personality. Social media marketing is great for letting your brand’s personality shine through. Use your social media profiles to showcase your brand’s values, mission, and culture.
If your business still needs to develop a brand guide, check out our blog on what goes in a brand guide and why every brand should have a strong one.
3. Optimize for search
Just like traditional search engines, optimizing your social media profiles is essential. Using keywords relevant to your products or services, location, and industry-specific terms is critical. You also want to include links to your website, blog, and other relevant information.
Regularly updating your profile with relevant and engaging content can also help improve your search visibility. For example, your business should post regularly about new products or services, industry news, and promotions.
4. Invest in influencer marketing
Develop an influencer marketing campaign that is relevant to your target audience. Investing in influencer marketing can boost your brand’s visibility on social media.
By partnering with influencers in your industry or niche, you can tap into their existing audience and gain access to a new, engaged audience. For example, if your brand sells skincare products, you could partner with a beauty influencer who has a large following on Instagram and YouTube. The influencer could create sponsored posts or videos featuring your products, which their followers would see.
Example influencer partnership for Thai Select USA on Instagram
5. Use social media advertising
While organic reach can be limited, paid advertising on social media allows you to reach a larger audience and target specific demographics more easily.
Have you ever noticed after searching online, whether on search engines, social media, or an ecommerce site, that you almost immediately start to see advertisements promoting products like the one you just searched? This is due to retargeting ads that trigger based on your recent search activity.
6. Engage, engage, engage
We can’t say it enough, engage with your audience on social media. Social media is about promoting your products or services and building relationships with your audience. Respond to comments and messages, ask for feedback, and create content that will spark conversations with your followers.
For instance, if a follower asks how they can find your product, you need to show up and respond with helpful information so they can easily make a purchase and convert from a follower into a fan.
By following these tips, your brand can prepare for the shift to social media as the new search engine and effectively reach and engage with your target audience on these platforms.
Overall, it’s clear that social media is becoming an increasingly important source of information for many people. While search engines will likely always have a place in the information-seeking process, businesses and organizations need to have a strong presence on social media to reach their audience and stay relevant in today’s digital landscape.
Make 2023 the year your brand levels up your social media to prepare for these shifts in consumer behavior. If your brand needs help with your social media strategy plan, contact our team to get you set up for success.