There’s something new happening in the world of social media trends. And when I say new, I mean NEW. I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground for quite some time, and I would like to let you in on the ground floor of the trend called “social search” or “social SEO” and how recognizing it early and getting on board could mean exponential growth for your business. And of course, I’m not just going to explain what’s happening and then leave you to figure it out by yourself. I would never do that! Come and learn about this new social trend and how to optimize that knowledge for yourself, right here.
What is “Social Search”?
Social search is the newest way social platforms are being used by (surprise!) the younger generations. In other words, most platforms have traditionally been seen as image and video sharing opportunities and stand-alone social media promotion. They are are now becoming much more advanced in terms of providing users with the ability to search for videos, content, and information. Platforms such as TikTok are now being seen as a search engine and repository of information, rather than just a fun way to watch videos.
Social media has become an accepted way of connecting and communicating with other people.
- 85% of 18-29 year olds are active on some platform or other (or multiple platforms),
- 81% of 30-49 year olds, and almost half of older demographics are too.
It shouldn’t surprise us then that as people become more and more engaged with and spend more time on social media (whether it’s looking at local small businesses, instructional Youtube videos, or their friends’ Facebook pages) they are going to use it for different purposes than it was originally intended.
In fact, 40% of Gen Z report searching other platforms before Google for products and services. And a whopping 90% say their purchases are influenced by things they see on social media.
How is Search Behaviour Changing?
The truth is, Gen Z and a good portion of millennials are shifting away from the Google results page. Instead of googling things like “What is the best hair dryer?” or “How do I keep food fresh in the fridge?”, they are starting to use their social media accounts to find this same information. Young people don’t trust or like Google as much as older people do. They also aren’t interested in reading an answer as much as they are in having a product demonstrated for them visually.
What consumers search for also influences where they go. Google isn’t going to disappear just yet (if ever), especially when it comes to local searches. People are still far more likely to Google “good Italian restaurant near me” rather than turn to social media for this information. But for searches involving video instructions or advice of any kind, Google is starting to take a backseat to other options.
What does this mean? It means that people are searching for information on platforms like:
These platforms are starting to take notice and become more advanced in terms of search features and technology. Consider:
- 31% of consumers now say they use social media to find answers to their questions
- 15% of people prefer social media as opposed to traditional search engines
I believe these numbers are going to continue to grow over the next year and far into the future, and we need to be ready.
How is SEO used in social media?
So, what is social media SEO and how does it relate to what we are talking about here? You probably already know a bit about this but let’s discuss it briefly. Social media SEO is the process of optimizing your social media profiles and posts, This way, more people discover your brand in search results. This is relevant to both social platforms and search engines. Higher rankings can translate into more views, which then means more social engagements and followers and therefore more views again. It can be an exciting cycle, but it can also be vicious as we try to figure out the social media algorithms and make them work for us. It can lead content creators to stray from their true goal and best practices of building relationships with viewers and instead see them trying to bend their piece of content around their keyword research. Many creators are feeling burnt out with this approach. If this describes you, then this new trend is exactly what you need.
What is Social SEO?
So, what does this all this mean for you? It means that if users are starting to search on social media platforms for the answers to their questions, you need to be those answers and you need to be searchable! This is where an effective social media strategy is crucial, and you need to recognize the shift in focus and turn your social media efforts toward a new kind of search engine optimization.
Social SEO means optimizing your social channels in such a way that your original content will be seen when users search for the answers you can provide. It helps enhance the visibility of your high-quality content among the people searching for businesses similar to yours. For example, social SEO can help you rank higher in YouTube search results or get your website’s content noticed faster on Google through its ranking.
The days of using social media to scroll mindlessly are coming to an end: users know what they want and you need to be ready to give it to them. Social SEO is moving away from jamming content full of relevant keywords and toward providing users with relevant short-form videos and other content. This means your profile and your content need to be search-friendly.
Does TikTok use SEO?
Let’s use TikTok SEO as an example of this new shift. TikTok absolutely does use SEO! it is the perfect example of how you need to learn to optimize your video content rather than your website content for TikTok’s search engine, algorithm and “For You Page” (rather than for a search engine results page or SERP). TikTok is becoming more and more popular for search along with other platforms that you might not think of. Many different social media platforms are moving in the same direction, including:
- X (formerly known as Twitter)
As you can see, optimizing your channels for social search SEO only makes sense if you want to stay relevant in the world of social media. I predict that this will be the fastest growing trend on social media this year, and it’s everywhere!
How does Pinterest Fit In?
Have you been focusing on Pinterest? Then you are ahead of the game! Pinterest has always been a search engine of sorts, popular with those who are using social media for discovery purposes. We have always known that Pinterest was a great way to increase brand awareness in response to user’s search for visual solutions to their problems or questions. Since Pinterest has always been about visual search, we are right there ready to jump on the trend that we really should have seen coming for years!
All you need to do if you already have a robust Pinterest account (or even if you’re just getting started on Pinterest) is learn to optimize your account for search in the new way that the platform is being used.
Is Social Search Here to Stay?
I believe that the concept of “social search” is not going anywhere and is the future of SEO and the most effective way to grow your business in 2024. By getting onboard with this trend while it is on the upswing, your business and online presence can benefit in the following ways:
- Boost discovery. help people who spend time on social media every day discover YOUR links, products, and services
- Grow your target audience. If your social search SEO makes your content relevant and interesting to the people you are trying to serve, quality traffic will happen
- Benefit your website. There is evidence that healthy social media engagement affects your Google ranking factor and search rankings on YouTube
- Sell more: purchasers now want to see a product in action rather than just read about it
What Do I Do Now?
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all this information and unsure where to start with your new social media marketing plan? Don’t be! This is where I come in. I have spent the last year or so doing research about visual search engines (such as Pinterest) and how to optimize for discovery and search on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn. In my new Social Media Summit 2024, I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned! You can stop cursing the algorithms and get a chance to ride this wave of change – instead of being caught behind it.
So what will be covered?
- Optimization for Social Search: Discover how to craft content like social media posts and blog posts that align with user intent and potential customers while maintaining a human touch (so that users find the right idea at the right time which perfectly positions you as the no-brainer solution to their problem – so powerful!)
- Search Engine Optimization For Web: Learn up-to-date social SEO tips and strategies from industry experts so you can optimize your blog and website with the latest best practices for discoverability (things change so fast, you don’t want to miss this info!). These best practices for 2024 will ensure you don’t use techniques from 2018 and get you better results, fast!
- Strategies from Social Media Experts: Learn the tried-and-tested strategies of industry-leading experts to optimize your social profiles and presence on platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram (this really is your chance to learn from the best of the best) for search and discoverability.
- Measure and Improve: Learn how to measure your progress so that you can make informed data-driven decisions that will drive growth and success (so you can do more of what’s working and less of what’s not!).
Not only that but there will be networking opportunities in our Facebook Community, panel discussions, Q&As, exclusive resources, and most importantly, the chance to get all of the important information you need in one convenient virtual location.
Where can I learn more about Social SEO?
Mark your calendar: February 12th and 13th, 2024 – The Social Search Summit. Don’t miss your chance to ride the wave of change! Go from chasing the algorithm to knowing exactly how to position your products and content with a marketing superpower that gets you discovered in 2024 – and beyond. This event will be recorded and available to access after the live dates with a VIP Pass.
I truly believe that we are entering a new era of search and Pinterest is having ITS MOMENT that you want to be onboard for. Get off the hamster wheel of social media and start making it work for you! As business owners and content creators, we need to get in front of this shift. Optimize your existing content and keep these new principles in mind as your create future content so you can position yourself for success in the new reality that is social search!
I look forward to learning together at the Social Summit 2024!