Novacom | Award-winning digital marketing and customer experience agency
Novacom | Award-winning digital marketing and customer experience agency
The future of search: the rise of social media as search engines

The future of search: the rise of social media as search engines

Gone are the days when Google was the sole gateway to information online. Today, the search bar has competition from the likes of TikTok and Instagram. Social platforms with their dynamic and real-time content are becoming the go-to for answers, recommendations, and discoveries, marking a new era in digital search behaviours.

We’ve investigated what has influenced this shift in social use, and what it means for digital marketers so you don’t have to. Let’s dive in.

Generational and technological influences

The rise in prominence of social media being used for brand and product exploration highlights the growing influence younger generations have in the reshaping of digital landscapes. Data from GWI reveals that 16- to 34-year-olds are now more likely to visit a social network when looking for information than they are to use a search engine; plus data shows that people using social media across all generations is at an all-time high.

Emerging technologies such as voice search, AI algorithms, improved intuitive content creation software and the introduction of new social platforms, has also contributed to the rising popularity of social media search. New technologies make it easier than ever to create and find engaging and informative content on social. Users can search for content, whilst enjoying the platforms that they are already active on – not needing to switch apps or go onto Google. To add to the convenience, algorithms create a personalised experience, helping to deliver relevant content to users quicker and without them needing to dig too deeply.

It’s important to note that whilst people are turning to social media for exploration, Google remains the most used search engine globally – so don’t divert attention from those SEO strategies just yet. But you may need to consider additional SEO.

Understanding social media SEO

As this shift evolves, businesses and marketers must become more familiar with social media SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Much like regular SEO, social media SEO involves the practice of optimising content to reach target audiences who are searching for content that is relevant to your brands product or service.

Optimising on social platforms involves high-quality and relevant visuals and captions containing key words, alt-descriptions, and hashtags. Beyond this, using platform specific features can help boost visibility and chances of appearing when people search. Features such as tagging locations, collaborating with others, including captions to videos, and updating brand pages with URLs, keywords and relevant descriptions all can help improve social SEO.

Benefits for brands

Social platforms offer a direct line to a highly engaged audience, ready to consume content that is both relevant and personal to their interests. The nature of social platforms allows for content to be shared, commented on, and liked, increasing its reach and the potential for virality, which traditional search engines cannot replicate. This interactive aspect fosters a sense of community and loyalty towards brands that are active and engaging on these platforms.

Moreover, social media provides real-time insights and feedback from consumers, enabling brands to quickly adapt their strategies and content to meet the ever-changing preferences of their audience. This agility is crucial in the fast-paced digital world where trends and consumer interests can shift overnight. The ability to use targeted advertising and influencer partnerships also enhances the precision of reaching specific demographics, making marketing efforts more efficient and cost-effective.

As social media continues to redefine what we think we knowabout digital search, marketers and businesses are presented with unprecedented opportunities to connect with their audience in a more dynamic and personalised way. The rise of social media as a search engine is not just a trend, but a significant shift in how information is sought and consumed. Embracing this change and integrating social media SEO into marketing strategies will be key for businesses looking to thrive in the years ahead. As we move forward, the blend of traditional SEO practices with the innovative approaches required for social media will pave the way for a new era of digital marketing, where adaptability, engagement, and personalisation are increasingly central to CX strategies.

Will Yates
written by Will Yates
Client Services Director at Novacom




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