Social media has become a dominant channel for businesses to reach consumers. Though beyond simply receiving content passively, shoppers are discovering brands through search and performing online purchases – all within social sites and apps.
While the amount of searches on social networks hasn’t overtaken traditional search engines such as Google, businesses optimizing both their website AND social content for searchers are well-positioned for growth.
Growth in Social Search
Consumers are performing an increasing amount of searches on social media platforms. According to HubSpot, “24% of consumers (ages 18-54) are already searching for brands on social media platforms more often than through a search engine.” Facebook alone averages more than 2 billion searches daily.
Prospective customers tend to prefer search results on social platforms for more authentic insights into brands, especially as these results typically include end-users’ content and reviews. Social search results are also heavily focused on visual content such as images and videos which users typically interact with more than written content.
Optimizing for Social Search
All search optimization, whether for Google or TikTok, boils down to 1.) making it easier for searchers to locate your content and 2.) increasing its visibility over competing brands’.
To help with the first aspect, set usernames for your profiles that are easily searchable and are ideally consistent across social media platforms. Keep in mind some social platforms may have character limits/restrictions on usernames that others do not.
Secondly, use relevant keywords and hashtags within your posts’ captions. Hashtags have long been a way to expand your contents’ reach beyond your existing followers and will continue to improve search visibility for the foreseeable future.
Also take time to optimize your channels themselves. Add content to relevant fields such as selecting an appropriate business category for your Facebook and Instagram profiles. Adding keywords and hashtags within your channels’ description/bio field can also help with visibility. If available on your networks of choice, also consider adding alt text to visual content to aid visually-impaired users and improve image optimization.
Social media offers users more than mindlessly scrolling and viral dances. Shoppers are using social search to discover brands and their products/services. While Google remains the leading search platform, businesses not optimizing both their website and social media presence risk opportunities to gain customers and improve their market share.