Is Social Media The New Search Engine? | GlowMetrics

Feb 9th 2024

Digital Marketing Insights

5 min read

Posted by Anna Growcott

Is Social Media The New Search Engine?

With more people increasingly turning to alternative platforms to find information, it’s no surprise that TikTok has emerged as one of the go-to platforms for finding specific and authentic recommendations...

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With more people increasingly turning to alternative platforms to find information, it’s no surprise that TikTok has emerged as one of the go-to platforms for finding specific and authentic recommendations over Google Search. In fact, around 31% of consumers are using social media to find answers to their questions. Google’s own data revealed that 40% of 18 – 24 year olds prefer to search using Instagram or TikTok instead of Google. 

So what’s brought on this change in the way people are searching online? Do we need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to social media as more than just social profiles? And how do we optimise our social media platforms to operate like a search engine? 

In this blog we’ll cover it all and more so let’s dive in.

Why Are People Using Social Media To Search?

A primary reason people are converting to social media to conduct their searches is speed. When searching for something on TikTok, for example, users are met instantly with personalised and relevant content that appears easier to digest and involves minimal reading or effort. Whereas there is a little bit more work involved from the user to find the specific answers to their questions with conventional search engine results, at times, being deemed irrelevant and unsatisfactory. 

Visually appealing content, that the likes of TikTok and Instagram offer, is another reason why social search is on the rise. We have to earn the attention of our users as they are continuously flooded with content. It can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. Which is why short form video content with subtitles work so well. Little to no reading is required and it enables users to get their answers quickly in a format which is engaging and appealing. 

Social media also offers a sense of community and authenticity. Users want authentic information, from authentic people with authentic experiences & opinions, with whom they can connect with. Social media allows brands to become human and have a personality that prospective customers can connect with. 

Why Is Social Search Important For Your Brand?

Social Media is becoming more important than ever for brands. Gone are the days when people stereotyped social media as just some “pretty pictures.” It is now a force to be reckoned with, allowing organisations to showcase not only their offerings but who they are, their values and it builds trust between them and their customers.

If you’re not convinced here are some stats from TikTok What’s Next 2024 Trend Report:

  • Users are 1.8x more likely to agree that TikTok introduces them to new topics they didn’t even know they liked 
  • Intriguing narrative structures guide viewers past the first few seconds – ads intended to make users curious keep them watching 1.4x longer
  • After seeing an ad on TikTok, viewers trust the brand 41% more & are 31% more likely to be loyal to that brand.

Social search exists and it’s very real, though it’s important to remember that you need to create content for social channels that your target audience is on and use regularly. You should only use and find the social trends that work best for your business – not every current hashtag, trending voice over and video needs to be adapted!

Optimising Your Social For Search

Making sure your social media profiles, pages and content are optimised is imperative when it comes to boosting your visibility and attracting more organic traffic to your website. 

Your Profile

The first thing you should look at is your profile information. Getting your profile information right at the onset can provide you with an edge over competitors. 

Here is a list of a few things to focus on when putting together your profile:

  • Choose handles and names that reflect your brand, and are easy to remember. Incorporate relevant keywords based on how users might try to find you and that reflect your expertise.
  • Include a link to your website and interlink other relevant social profiles. You want to ensure a seamless transition for users between platforms.
  • Don’t forget to include your contact information – make it easy for users to get in touch with you. Make sure these details are readily accessible on your website and other profiles.


Make sure you do your keyword research for each of your social platforms, and then incorporate the keywords into your social media posts and content. You can further maximise your keywords by speaking them within the first 3 seconds of your video and you should also include them in your text overlay and in your captions. This should be done natively for each of your channels. Doing this can significantly increase your visibility. 

Some tools that you can use to help your keyword research include Google Keyword Planner, TikTok’s Keyword Insights & Hashtag Tool and Google Trends


Hashtags are not dead and, when used correctly, can be a great way to enhance your discoverability. Using popular and relevant hashtags could quickly increase your post’s exposure. However, avoid using too many as it can make your post appear cluttered. We’d advise you to use 2 -3 hashtags specific to your brand and put them at the end of your post – not in the comment section. 

Alt Text

Alt text is generally used to describe images for visually impaired users and by search engines to create a greater understanding of the image/content when indexing. Using alt text in social search works similarly to search engines, in that alt text adds a further level of understanding for the platforms allowing you to increase the accessibility of your static content for the platform and, in turn, the user.

It’s also important to remember when posting images or videos, to include relevant keywords in the alt text to improve your content’s visibility, ranking and discoverability. 

The primary purpose of alt text is to describe the image for those who cannot see it so you want to make sure it’s concise, relevant and descriptive. 

Want to Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about PPC strategies or require support with your Google Ads or Paid Social campaigns, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch via You can also stay up-to-date by following GlowMetrics on Twitter or LinkedIn or by subscribing to our newsletter (link below) for the latest tips and news in the world of digital analytics and marketing.

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Posted by
Anna Growcott

Anna is a Digital Marketing Executive at GlowMetrics, working on digital marketing campaigns for a wide range of clients. Anna specialises in PPC, SEO and paid social.
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