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Social Searching: Are You Googling It or Tiktok’ing It?

23rd August 2022

Are social media platforms becoming the new search engines?

We know social media works for businesses, particularly when it comes to getting in front of a new audience who aren’t even aware that they need your products or services yet. We’ve got the numbers to prove it. But, we can’t help but notice that certain social platforms are working overtime. We’ve seen an increasing trend in users utilising platforms such as Tiktok, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube to get answers to their many, many questions. Surely, social media platforms could never replace our beloved Google… right?

The context

Well, we asked the rest of the team here at Nu Image to share their recent searches on the internet and (after a few sheepish looks) they were happy to share. From hotels, skin products, home decor inspiration and workout routines, it became clear that when we’re looking for a little inspiration, we often turn to social media. We’ve been using our social media platforms for visual guides and tutorials, advice, reviews and stimulus to quench our curiosities. Not to mention food inspo of course. In true Nu Image style, we use social media to find potential restaurants – checking their tagged pictures to see what others diners have enjoyed and keeping an eye out for any offers or discounts – and even to inspire the meals we make in our own homes.

Now, don’t get us wrong, established review platforms such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews certainly still have their place. To the point where most users still check these platforms after they’ve browsed on social to confirm their genuineness. But, social is the more attractive and digestible way for users to discover authentic experiences. 

Why social over Google?

Seeing as it’s our favourite topic of conversation most days at the studio, let’s keep using food as our example. When looking for a new lunch spot, Afrotech’s studies have suggested that ‘up to 40% of young people would use platforms such as Tiktok and Instagram over Google’. But why?

Easy to share

Sharing content is at the core of all social platforms. Out for a great meal? Just seen a show? Finished a good book? It’s time to talk about it. Thanks to mobile phones, social media is always right at our fingertips, perfect for snapping a pic and uploading with a caption in seconds. Far easier and pleasingly aesthetic than leaving a Google/Trustpilot review. It’s in the moment. It’s social. Our world moves quickly and social platforms are the core place to keep up with this.

Typically social media displays short form content that is eye catching and easy to absorb, and with the ability to find this content quickly by searching for business handles and popular hashtags. A quick tweet, an Instagram story or a 2-minute reel video is much easier to digest than trawling through written reviews.

Authentic results

Instagram is a strong favourite when it comes to search. Here’s the trick… People buy from people, or as we say in the studio, people like people. Right? It’s not really surprising that most users feel more confident they’re getting an honest review of a product or service from a person who has used said product or service.

People genuinely do trust social media reviews. Tiktok has been extremely popular on this side of things, Social Media Today announced that ‘53% of users say they trust others [Tiktok influencers] to be their real selves on the platform’.

So, what can you do to ensure you’re social account is being found? 

If you are looking to get the most from social, the main thing to do is to be there when the searches come in. You may be familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) where the goal is to ensure your website appears in the top organic results of your Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Now, social media optimisation has entered the chat. Yes, we know, another plate to spin. It’s a thing and here we have six tips to get you started:

1. #Discoverable
Start simple. Social platforms use keywords in post captions and bios, hashtags and tagging to identify which posts should be delivered in answer to a users search on their Explore page. Make sure you’re practicing all of these to appear at the top of users search feeds.

2. Answer the questions before they’ve been asked
Think about your content strategy.

What is trending for your industry right now? Is there a new Netflix show that has put an unfamiliar destination where you have accommodation on the map? Or, has a popular influencer shared their latest home renovation which has seen a push in enquiries to replicate this? What’s currently trending will influence what inspires people and therefore what they may be searching for right now.

Structure your posts to connect with your audience and what is driving them right now, but also ensure that your content strategy contains posts driven to clinch those sales. Think about it: Someone searches for this new found holiday spot or a company that can carry out the renovation work they want to copy, your account pops up with accommodation for the location or case studies of where you’ve done this work before, and before you know it users are enquiring to book with yourselves because you’re the first option who is already ahead of the game.

3. Keep it relevant
However, whilst it can be tempting to jump on every trend and national holiday (National Burrito Day anyone?), remember who you are. Your social feed should always relate back to your team and services and products, and never stray too far from your industry. 

4. Influencer marketing
A great way to capture potential customers searching on social is by considering the use of an influencer. I know what you’re thinking, “How much?” but this needn’t eat into a large chunk of your marketing budget. In fact, using ‘micro influencers’ within your digital marketing strategy is often the way to go. Micro influencers are a great, cost effective way to increase your reach and saturate the market. Having found a happy medium between reaching enough people to make a difference but not too many that they can’t actively engage with their followers, meaning higher engagement rates for businesses working with these influencers. Reaching out to credible influencers whose ethos is in line with your company to endorse your brand on their platforms is a great additional way to increase your chances of coming up at top of users searches. Our favourite influencers tend to already be familiar with your brand as they are authentic and honest in their reviews. 

5. Encourage your customers to share their experiences
Sharing and tagging are perfect ways to get your content seen, but don’t just leave it there!

If a customer tags you in a post or story, make sure you respond and share it to your own story or feed. Interacting with your customers can really encourage a more active community.

6. Don’t ignore the negative
Sure, getting negative reviews/comments is difficult for any business, but don’t ignore them. Respond appropriately and acknowledge any genuine mistakes. It’s only going to reflect well on your business and shows that you want to improve your business and help your customers. Likewise, don’t forget to respond to the good reviews, this only has to be a simple ‘thank you’ but it will go a long way.

Round up

Don’t worry, we know it’s a lot to take in and you’re probably thinking ‘I’ve only just got used to Google!’ But our digital marketing team are trained in social media optimisation, as well as SEO, we’d love to help you take your online presence to the next level by nailing your social media marketing. Head to our contact form below to discuss our social media management packages.

Not sure what you need? You can always pick up the phone and call 01603 859007, a member of our team will be more than happy to talk about how we can help get your social media presence off the ground.

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