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Is social media the new search engine?

Love it or hate it, there is no denying that social media has become an integral part of our society. Whether you use it to keep in touch with friends and family, follow influencers or expand your professional network, chances are you spend more time on it than you think you should!

You can share your own content, chat with friends, watch videos, read the news, get involved with global discussions and even shop the latest trends without leaving most social media platforms. So, it’s not surprising to learn that we’re even turning to social media to search for information. In fact, 82% of consumers prefer to search on social media over traditional search engines.

Whilst search engines aren’t dead just yet and brands are still racing to get to the top of the SEO rankings, we’ve been thinking about why social media has become so popular in this way and considering how brands can make sure their social media content is seen far and wide.

Why are consumers using social media over search engines?

It is a well-known fact that consumers’ attention spans are getting shorter, particularly in younger audiences. According to a Microsoft study back in 2000. With information flying at us from so many different sources and our society only seeming to become more fast-paced as time goes on, people want to find and receive the information they need quickly. People don’t have time to trawl through pages and pages of written copy to find the answer they’re looking for, and why would they if they don’t have to? With this desire for instant results growing, it’s hardly surprising that the likes of Tiktok and Instagram, who are famed for video content under a minute long, have become so popular.

But the statistics show that it isn’t only Gen Z making the jump to social media for their information, it’s all generations. Another key reason is the more human element of social media. Search engines are more likely to return a number of long walls of text. If you’re interested in a new product or service, you’re going to want genuine content made by real people whom you feel you are able to connect with.

This feeling has been amplified by the recent influx of AI-generated content flooding the web. Consumers are becoming much more savvy when it comes to web content, and are increasingly more likely to question whether it has been written by a real person, or been generated by the likes of Chat GPT. Therefore, social proof is becoming increasingly popular with consumers. Seeing images and videos on social media, and interactions between you and real customers will increase trust in your brand.

What can brands do to ensure that they ‘rank’ on social media?

Whilst it’s clear users are favouring authentic human content, over robotic-sounding text written to climb the SEO rankings, there are still things you can do to make sure your content is appearing in search results. In the same way that you optimise your website, you can certainly use the same tactics to optimise your social media content. Of course, each social media platform has a different algorithm, but here are a few things you can do to make sure your social content is being seen:

  • Make your profile the best it can be prior to creating content– There isn’t much point in having your social content reach far and wide if your profile isn’t up to scratch. A good profile will make your brand stand out. This means having a username which makes it clear who you are, so don’t use numbers or punctuation unless they’re necessary, as this only makes it more confusing for people who do try to find your business. Also, utilise keywords which you’ve identified fit best with your brand, add your location and a link to drive customers to your webpage.






People using a smartphone

  • Research and use keywords/hashtags– In the same way you would when creating SEO friendly web content, think about what you want your social content to rank for. Use these as your keywords. Ensure you’re using these across your content, and even hashtag them on social platforms that allow this.


  • Engage with your followers – Interacting with your followers, and responding to their comments and messages in a timely manner, will encourage even more engagement. Engagement plays a massive part in most social media algorithms so can push your content up the search results.


  • Use high-quality photos and videos – Social media is far more visual than your traditional search engine, so use high-quality images. A high-resolution image preferably with people in will grab your audiences’ attention and stop them in their tracks. As a result, your engagement will be higher and therefore so will your position in the search results.


Following these steps will ensure your content has the best possible chance of being in the top of the search results across social media platforms. With more and more consumers turning to socials in their searches for products, services and information, we think it’s definitely worthwhile.


These are just a few of the things you can do to ensure your content is being seen on social media. If you would like help building your brand on social media, get in touch.


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