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How To: Leverage Social Media Platforms as Search Engines For Your Business

search-engine

When you need to search for something, where do you go? When you don’t know the answer to a question, how do you search for the answer? In the past, you simply leveraged a search engine, probably Google, and while millions of users still do this, online search behavior is changing. More and more people are looking to their favorite social media platforms to find new businesses, products, and information. 

Why is this shift happening? And more importantly, how can you leverage it to benefit your own business? Let’s get into it!

Why Consumers are Turning to Social Platforms For Searches

As the way people use social media has evolved, the search engine element of these platforms has grown as well. Instead of using social media to keep up with friends and family exclusively circa 2009, social media has now become a marketplace, think tank, public square, and brain stem. 

Discovering New Products, Services, and Brands

Brands, influencers, and regular users share products, services, and experiences that have created a melting pot of resources. According to one study by Tint, 75.78% of consumers have used social media to search for or discover new products and brands. Because of the variety of content on social media, users have turned to it to not just show them new and exciting things but to help them grow, learn, and discover answers to their questions as well. 

Authentic, Real-World Information

Another massive reason for this shift is the type of information users can gain from social media compared opposed to a traditional search engine. If you search for restaurants in a city you’re new to, content from real paying customers from a variety of businesses will be shown on Instagram as an example. You can get authentic opinions from regular people by searching on social platforms. 

However, if you search for it on Google, Bing, or the like, you’ll get some curated lists, maybe a big-time blog, and tons of ads. It’s not always bad, but certainly different.

The authenticity of information you find on social media is one of the biggest reasons why users find it so appealing. 

Changing Demographics

Finally, changing demographics of buyers and decision-makers play a huge part. Generation Z and Millennials are the two generations who use social platforms as search engines the most. One study from Hubspot found that 29% of Gen Z and Millenials prefer to search for information on social platforms over actual search engines. If your target audience falls into either of these generations, it’s time to start thinking of your social media accounts like search engines. 

Optimizing Social Media Platforms’ Search Engine Optimization

Instagram

Instagram is frequently used as a search engine due to the large number of brands, users, and types of content that it features. One of the best practices when trying to get your content to reach more people is the use of keywords. It is important to include keywords in your posts as well as in your bio. Make sure these keywords represent the niche you want to be found for and what each specific piece of content is about. Also, make sure you use relevant hashtags. 

Another good practice is to include the location of your content. As an example, if someone is searching for the best places to eat in a specific area, the posts that are going to be pushed the most are the ones that include a location. 

Additionally, don’t forget about the alt text feature. You can add your own description of what your content is about and use keywords that optimize the post for the best results. 

Follow general good practices like engaging with similar accounts, sharing quality content like reels and carousels, and posting consistently. 

TikTok

TikTok has quickly become a popular source for Gen Z in particular to search with. 74% of Gen Z uses TikTok search, making TikTok the #1 search engine for more than half of Gen Z. Being a video-based platform, users can search for whatever and be met with in-depth videos made by users just like them. People trust reviews and opinions from people who seem like regular users more than faceless written reviews online. 

Similar to Instagram, keywords, hashtags, and quality content are what drive search engine results. However, TikTok tends to filter search results by likes and views, making more popular videos listed first. Therefore, it is important to post good content with relevant keywords, hashtags, and locations. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s search engine is a bit different because this platform is fundamentally different from platforms like Instagram and TikTok, but the practices are the same. Make sure you use strong keywords in your posts as well as in your name/profile tagline. 

Additionally, make sure your profile is completely filled out. On top of that, frequently update your profile whether it is with new events, offerings, products, employees, etc. because fresh content will push your page. Using LinkedIn as a search engine is most effective for professionals looking for job opportunities, new hires, and companies to collaborate with. 

YouTube

YouTube is said to be the world’s second-largest search engine. The platform has clearly dominated video searches for the past two decades, especially for how-to and demonstration videos. Once again, keywords are extremely important for SEO on every social platform, including YouTube, maybe most of all. Similarly, the big three of optimization: quality content, consistency, and engagement, are crucial here too. 

Like TikTok, YouTube factors in popularity, freshness, and relevance when determining what videos to recommend. So, keep that in mind when deciding what content to create. 

Optimizing Your Social Accounts For Search and How Breezy Can Help

It is clear that no matter the specific platform, the tactics are very similar. There are basic fundamentals that you should be implementing into all of your accounts and content: 

  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags
  • Post quality content that answers a question, provides value or leads the user toward a solution
  • Tag the location of your content
  • Engage with your audience and similar accounts
  • Frequently and consistently post

Now, if managing all of that seems overwhelming, don’t panic. If you need help optimizing your accounts to be leveraged like search engines and drive traffic for your business, then we can help. 

Here at Breezy, we handle the stressful parts of content marketing for you, taking that unnecessary stress off your plate. We will implement these tactics into your social media content strategy to help take your brand to the next level. Interested? Contact us today!

Ready to Launch a Content Marketing Plan for Your Small Business?

 

We know that carving out the time, resources, and energy to create ongoing content for your brand or business is a full-time job. That’s why we created Breezy – your instant content marketing team.

You don’t need to hire multiple full-time employees to handle all of the strategy, planning, writing, designing, and publishing of content. You also don’t have time to wrangle tons of different freelancers to get this all completed. You need one expert team that can help get all of the amazing thought-leadership and subject matter expertise out of your head and into formalized, engaging content that keeps you top of mind with your audience.

We’re that team!

See how we can help your small business, startup, or agency with a free consultation. 

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They make the onboarding process so easy and I never have to worry that the content won't be delivered , not have the SEO keywords or be published exactly how we discussed it. I am extremely pleased with every service I have received from the team.
Marni Hale
Business and Marketing Consultant

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