The Swift Effect: What Brands Can Learn from Taylor Swift
By Emily SmithFeb 29
Social media is evolving into a go-to search engine. The brands that are optimizing their content for search are thriving, so marketers need to tap into the opportunities created through social media SEO (search engine optimization) to stay ahead of the competition.
In our Digital Marketing Trends 2024 report, we named social media SEO as a key trend to watch in the year ahead. Here’s everything you need to know about optimizing your brand for social media search so your business can thrive.
Let’s get to it.
In this blog post, we cover:
An impressive 76% of consumers use social media to search for or discover new products and brands. That’s a huge percentage of potential customers waiting to find you.
Consumers are using TikTok to learn how to cook, browsing Instagram to find new fashion brands, and looking on Snap Maps to find must-try local restaurants.
This is especially true for Gen Z. Google has said that almost 40% of young people don’t go to Google Maps or Search when looking for a spot for lunch. They go to TikTok or Instagram. That’s a massive portion of Gen Z using social media as a search engine, and brands need to tap into this flow of consumers to reach a wider demographic.
So, why are consumers taking to social media for information in the first place? As we mention in our Digital Marketing Trends 2024 report, people view social media as less biased than Google, and younger audiences are migrating their searches to platforms where they are already spending significant time.
Consumers are also all about short-form content, with 96% of consumers preferring to watch short-form videos to learn about products or services. If they have a question, they want it answered as quickly as possible. That’s where a snappy TikTok video or a quick Instagram post can help.
TikTok has even recognized and leaned into this trend of people harnessing social media and SEO, introducing search insights for account holders. Now, brands and creators can understand how many views and engagements came from search results in their analytics.
So, in a world where social media platforms are leaning into search optimization, why should brands be paying attention?
Still not convinced? Here are some reasons why optimizing your brand to appear in social media search results will benefit your brand.
As we mentioned above, a key reason consumers use social media to search for brands or products is the unparalleled access to genuine user reviews. It’s not just the reviews themselves, but the ability to humanize the reviewers and put a face to the feedback, which is priceless.
Since consumers prefer to purchase from a brand they trust, brands can benefit from working on their social media and SEO strategy to positively impact their bottom line.
Plus, by sharing informative content like this regularly, brands can position themselves as thought leaders in their industry – appealing to potential and existing customers alike.
40% of Gen Z are using social media to search for products, brands, and services – that’s almost half of an entire demographic that you can optimize for. Ignoring this means you’re missing out on a huge portion of potential consumers.
Don’t market to Gen Z? Other generations are just as interested – 49% of millennials are turning to TikTok as a search tool. On top of this, 70% of Gen X follow accounts that influence their purchasing decisions, and 78% of millennials have purchased a product after seeing it on social media. Creating content that appeals to social media search engines should be a priority for all businesses with an online presence.
As we know from traditional SEO, publication date and quality of content is vital. And the same can be said for social media SEO. So, optimizing your social media platforms for search results by generating up-to-date, relevant, handy, and engaging content will help maximize your brand’s social media ROI.
And the sooner you start, the better. This way, you’ll develop a social presence full of optimized and relevant content that appeals to the increasing number of consumers taking to social for search.
Ranking in social media search results by prioritizing SEO for social media is the perfect way to showcase your product and expertise in your industry. Whether you’re sharing employee recommendations or exhibiting how your product can help solve a real-world problem, optimizing your platforms for social media search results can help you see excellent results.
We’ve established that optimizing for social media search is important. But how can you do it? Here are our best tips for optimizing your social media platforms to appeal to this growing audience.
Don’t start creating content sporadically, hoping to eventually rank for social media search results by chance. Instead, you’ll need to do proper research to rank for the right results and reach the correct audiences.
Start by listing the platforms you want to optimize for.
Cover all bases, including:
Each of these platforms have different specialties, audiences, and requirements. Plus, the types of content you’ll need to create are unique, so you’ll need to prioritize platforms for which you can create content. For example, if video is your specialty, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels will be optimal. If you prefer written content, try Reddit, X, or Tumblr.
It’s likely you already have a social media presence on the sites where your audience is present, so start there.
Now that you know which platforms you’re prioritizing, it’s time to plan the actual content.
To create content that is easily found by your audience, you need to curate a list of search terms you want to rank for. This could be questions your audience is asking or topics they’re searching for.
Create a list of topics and ideas based on what’s trending, what’s being searched for, and what you think will help your audience. Examples might include:
Consider analyzing what’s working for your competitors, too. Which searches do they rank for? How often do they create content? What content receives the most engagement? Use this to inform and improve your strategy.
When posting your content, make sure you optimize for search results by maximizing the features available on your chosen platforms.
Be strategic about the use of keywords intitles, captions, and hashtags. What is your audience searching for, based on your previous research? Use this to dictate the copy that sits alongside your content.
Bare in mind the captions and text you use on videos, especially on TikTok. This text feeds the algorithms and can help or hinder your SEO efforts.
You’ll need to create content regularly to have the best chance of ranking in search results, especially if you want to rank in trending topics which evolve over time.
Social media algorithms favor those who post consistently. Adobe recommends posting consistently on social media to “show your following that you are committed to creating content and providing them with a source of interest and entertainment.”
Plus, trending topics come as quickly as they go. To stay relevant and rank for social media SEO search terms early on, you’ll need to keep up-to-date with what’s trending on your chosen social media platforms and lean into the ever-changing social landscape.
Create a regular posting schedule, or aim to post search-related content as part of your regular social media strategy.
Working with influencers is a great way to create search-relevant content for your brand (and they don’t need to be mega-stars for you to see results).
Micro-influencers are an excellent option for brands when it comes to boosting social media search. Micro-influencers will be clued into which content is relevant to your audience, what’s trending, and how to help you boost your social media search strategy. Work with them longterm to create brand ambassadors who can become a face for your brand.
We always recommend engaging with other accounts to boost your brand’s visibility on social media. Whether it’s brands, influencers, or customers – commenting and liking other posts is a simple yet effective way to be seen by more people.
Let’s say you work for a company in the food and beverage industry and you want to rank for the search term “how to cook pasta” on TikTok. It’s common for the search results of a simple search term like this to already be jam-packed with insightful videos.
Instead of making a new TikTok video and getting lost in the search results, why not comment on the top 5 videos that rank for this question? That way, you can engage with an already active audience.
When commenting, try to be memorable. A funny, insightful, or entertaining comment will help you stand out. And remember – the best way to be unforgettable is to be personable, so try not to be too brand-forward with your social media engagements. People want to engage with people, so keep this in mind.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
The team at travel agency Trip.com is creating TikTok content that dominates search results on the platform. By creating regular, snappy videos that utilize search-friendly terms, the brand appears in plenty of results pages on TikTok, hitting its target audience.
Fashion content company Who What Wear is creating videos on TikTok that revolve around current themes, such as Oscar nominations and trendy outfit inspiration. The brand proves that you don’t need plenty of likes to reach your audience. If your keyword research is done well, you’ll rank regardless of engagement.
Of late, social media and SEO go hand in hand. Whether you’re hoping to market to a wider demographic or you want to build consumer trust through consistent, informative content, optimizing for social media search can help your brand thrive. Stay ahead of the competition, grow your engagement, and convert more customers – all by being aware of these key social media search tips.