The Rise of Social Media: The New Search Engine

3 Minutes

In the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing, one trend that has emerged, is social media as the new search engine. We are no longer just using social media as an entertainment and networking platform, 44% of internet users aged 16-64 use social media as their main source of information when researching brands.


The Shift in Consumer Behaviour


With 5.04 billion active social media users worldwide, eight in ten 13-39 year olds say they have turned to social media to fulfil their informational needs. Steering away from the traditional search engines like Google consumers once relied solely on to search for information, social media platforms now offer an abundance of information and recommendations from friends, influencers, and brands.

Social media being an integral part of our everyday lives, users are now not only using social media to research brands but is now being used to search for a variety of information such as travel destinations, inspiration for gifts, restaurants, and things to do in certain areas.


The Power of Social Proof


One of the driving forces behind social media’s emergence as a search engine is the power of social proof. 92% of consumers trust organic recommendations from their network and influencers they follow, more than traditional sales-focused advertising.

This makes it of particular importance for brands to start investing in both Influencer and User Generated Content (UGC). Leveraging these trends effectively can increase your social proof as a brand. UGC in particular, offers a sense of honesty and relatable content that traditional marketing cannot provide. Integrating strategies using everyday individuals rather than professional, sales-focused ads, offers authentic content that consumers resonate with and trust more.




The Importance of Optimising for Social Search


Businesses investing in search engine optimisation (SEO) to improve their visibility on traditional search engines, must now also focus on optimising for social search.

As social media is a visual platform, brands must create engaging, attention-grabbing content. It is important to develop well thought out social campaigns, using high-quality images and creative, along with meaningful messages that resonate with the audience. This increases the likelihood of reposts and leveraging relevant hashtags and keywords to increase discoverability.

Creating and sharing content is not enough on today’s social platforms. Brands must now also closely monitor and manage their online reputation on social media to ensure positive responses, engaging with your audience to create an ongoing sense of community, and address any concerns promptly.


The Future of Social Search


As social media continues to evolve, so will its role as a search engine. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) has taken off exponentially, enabling social platforms to deliver tailored content that is based on individual preferences, interests and past behaviours.



What Does This Mean For Your Business?


Brands that recognise social media is becoming a new search engine, and adapt to this shift in consumer behaviour have higher chances of gaining and maintaining a competitive edge in today’s digital landscape.

It is no longer just about brands having a social presence, it is now crucial for them to be actively investing in continuous social optimisation, engaging with influencers, and adapting to emerging trends to drive meaningful results.