In 2023, Google’s no longer the only search engine.
In just one scrolling session, you might search Instagram for makeup tips, Facebook for products, or even TikTok for something niche — like bat videos.
In HubSpot’s recent Consumer Trends survey, we discovered nearly one-third of consumers use social media apps to search for information. And while traditional search engines aren’t going anywhere, it’s important for your brand to take note of the new ways consumers are looking for information and how to optimize your content to adapt.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- What social media search is
- Why Brands Should Care About Social Media Search
- Social Media Search Trends to Watch
- Social Media Search Optimization Tips
Why Brands Should Care About Social Media Search
Your Content Will Gain Increased Visibility
According to our research, 27% of consumers cite social media as their top channel for discovering new products.
It’s imperative for brands to cut through the noise and get noticed by their target audience on social media. By optimizing social media content for search, you can ensure that your posts, videos, and other forms of content are easily discoverable by users searching for relevant topics, keywords, or hashtags.
Social media visibility leads to higher engagement, increased brand awareness, and ultimately, more opportunities to connect with potential customers.
You Can Reach New Customers
Social media search optimization is critical for brands aiming to reach new customers. With billions of active users on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok (and billions of searches per day) you have an opportunity to expand your customer base by simply showing up on an app’s results page.
By optimizing your content for search, you can increase your visibility and make it easier for potential customers to discover your brand through relevant search queries, hashtags, or keywords. This strategic approach not only allows you to tap into new markets and demographics but also provides you with the opportunity to connect with users who have a genuine interest in your products or services.
Unsure where your reach already is, and where you can improve? Tools with analytics capabilities like HubSpot enable you to gain valuable insights into what audiences are interacting with your brand.
Establish Brand Awareness
Your brand’s online presence matters. Beyond having a strong website, the impression you make on social media can be your weapon for success. By optimizing your social media presence for search, you can ensure that your content appears in front of your target audience when they are actively searching for relevant keywords or hashtags. By consistently appearing in search results, you can amplify your brand awareness, engage with users, and gain a competitive edge in the market. In essence, social media search optimization is an effective strategy for brands to build and maintain a strong online presence while driving brand awareness to new heights.
Social Media Search Trends to Watch
Younger Generations Embrace Social Search
Social media is deeply embedded in our daily lives, especially for Gen Z and Millennials. According to Pew Research, 84% of the 18-29 age demographic used at least one social media site in 2021. Additionally, our Consumer Trends Survey found that most Gen Z prefers social search over traditional search engines. And, this age group prefers social search methods more than all older generations.
Consumers Find Products Through Ads and Sponsored Content
Ever scroll through Instagram, see an ad targeted to you, checked out the website, and made a purchase? A whopping 36% of consumers have found and purchased products the same way.
Consumers Find Products Through Short-Form Videos
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Love it or hate it, Reels and TikToks aren’t going anywhere. The results from our survey show that 32% of consumers found products through short-form videos — with that number jumping to 47% across Gen Z.
Social Media Search Optimization Tips
Create Content to Engage Your Audience
Optimizing for social search involves creating engaging content that resonates with the target audience.
Similar to SEO, you might determine what content to make by conducting keyword research to identify popular and relevant terms or questions users search on social media. Incorporating these keywords naturally into content, captions, and hashtags can improve visibility in search results.
Keyword research, social listening, and understanding the social media audience's interests and pain points can help you create content that addresses their needs, sparks curiosity, or entertains them.
Aside from using the right text, leveraging visual elements, like high-quality images or videos, can make content more eye-catching and shareable. Additionally, encouraging user participation through contests, quizzes, or interactive content could boost engagement that social algorithms might prioritize.
Grab Audience Attention
Social media posts should catch the eye of busy users, whether they’re found in search or on a user’s crowded feed. You can do this by sharing interesting and attention-grabbing content, ideally accompanied by captivating visuals.
Let Data Inform Your Strategy
Analyzing metrics like reach, shares, and comments will allow you to see which of your posts are getting discovered and driving engagement From there, you can refine your strategies for future optimization by prioritizing engaging content.
Ultimately, by optimizing for social search, you can also build a loyal and active community around your brand.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
It’s no secret that most consumers constantly scroll their smartphones for hours on end (and most of that time is spent on social media). So, why wouldn’t you optimize your website to align with the very mobile channels you could get discovered on?
When mobile-optimizing your site, ensure your pages are responsive across different screen sizes. You’ll also want to keep page load speed low, as mobile users have little patience for slow sites. Additionally, your text should be legible and visuals should be properly formatted. Leveraging features like "click-to-call" or "click-to-email" can also enhance user experience.
Schedule and Track Social Content
Creating content is only part of the battle. You also have to schedule it at just the right time to get boosts of engagement that could trigger social media algorithms to boost your work.
Whether you’re publishing on one or multiple social platforms, tools like HubSpot’s social media features can help you set up a calendar filled with engaging content — and even suggest the best times to post for audience reach.
Optimize Social Media Search
Social media search is more prominent than ever.
To keep up, you’ll need to develop an engaging, attention-grabbing, and valuable social media content that not only appears in social search results, but also gets your ideal audiences to like, click, comment, or share.
Learn more about how HubSpot’s social media management software can help you.