Consumer needs and social media have more than one thing in common, but the most prominent is that they’re constantly changing. Younger generations of social media users consider visual content like that found on Instagram or Tiktok as their preferred search engine rather than Google.
Google is aware of this trend and acknowledges that people’s needs have shifted toward “visually rich forms.” Other social giants, such as Twitter, are jumping on this opportunity in a way that benefits local businesses with its Location Spotlight. Integrated with Google Maps, this helps consumers find important business information and how to get there.
Social Search Priorities
Social media platforms have started focusing more on searches and finding local businesses more quickly. For example, TikTok creators of any type can go viral with their content that includes local area, business, service, and product information. In addition, Instagram has been pushing users to discover local businesses through their creator and influencer content, and Twitter promotes businesses through enhanced profile attributes.
Facebook is another big social contender, and it’s always presented itself as a promoter of local companies. For example, Facebook encourages businesses to create local pages, and companies can use local citations as a booster for search queries. It’s an excellent way for businesses to connect with their target audience while giving news, updates, and offers.
With Facebook’s community groups online, businesses can promote themselves, their services, or their products–even using them to get reviews and recommendations.
Another contender–YouTube–brings creators and vloggers together that can help paint a picture of local businesses when used for searching. It’s clear that many of the original social media giants are working to keep up with changes and how users consume content.
As social media channels move into an age of favoring short videos and visually-focused content, it’s changed how users–primarily younger generations–take in said content. Information to them is best consumed through quick, visual media pieces.
For example, if someone wants a recipe for ginger snaps, they may decide to look up a video instead of reading a recipe blog. If someone plans to travel, they may choose to watch videos of the place they want to go instead of reading a travel blog. And if someone is interested in a DIY project of some kind, they may look for a video aid to show them how to make whatever they’re planning.
Searching places like TikTok and YouTube for these things will now bring up video tutorials or vlogger posts about these topics in question! And doesn’t it make sense for video content to be the go-to for these kinds of things anyway? People frequently learn by watching and doing rather than reading and conceptualizing.
Videos are well-known for providing detailed information and everything a user needs to know in a visually stimulating way in as little time as possible.
Value in Authenticity & Trust
Life online–and especially in social media–has become well-known as a place for fake personas and Snapchat filters, crafting aesthetically pleasing but ultimately vapid and lifeless content. However, this scene is rapidly changing as social media users begin to value showing even the messiest sides of their lives. This desire for authenticity and realness has spread and is here to stay.
When it comes to social searching, consumers want honest reviews and experiences; platforms like TikTok and Instagram can provide that. For example, browsing nearby restaurants can have a more authentic feel if you find content from trusted creators on the platform, allowing searchers to get a feel for the vibe of the restaurant and the look of the food. In addition, hearing about the experience from the content creator makes it feel more real.
Searching for things on Google and relying on an algorithm can present the possibility of reading fake reviews, old images that are no longer relevant, and running into poorly designed or optimized websites. All these things can turn off someone searching for a good experience when this content doesn’t necessarily represent what the destination is like once you’re there.
Understanding the ‘Why’ of It
If you’ve ever wondered why social media has seemed to push so hard for substantial changes to help local businesses in recent years, it may be wise to look to the pandemic. Things went heavily digital when the pandemic shut people away in their homes, as many businesses needed to turn to the online sphere to stay afloat.
Social platforms are pushing into this market of digital need, allowing companies to modernize and appeal to a wide range of different age groups and users faster than ever before.
As more businesses tap into this avenue of advertising and valuing authenticity, social media will continue to push for growth, giving local businesses more opportunities to expand. The symbiotic cycle continues, and users will flock.
Social Search Opportunities
The value of video and visual content that requires less reading has become more apparent over recent years, giving rise to the importance of social search. Local businesses should put their best foot forward in increasing their social media presence!
Being active in social media is one of the most lucrative ways to build your social following and reach a broader range of potential clients and consumers. Engaging with your audience–showing what your business is all about–goes a long way toward creating trustworthiness and authenticity.
Another thing to consider is reaching out to local influencers to have them come out and create content about your location. Making the most out of ways you can have your business gain visibility is paramount!
Social media and social search are rapidly growing, meaning platforms and product expansions are ever-engaged with changing user behaviors and needs. Consumers engage with and draw inspiration from more and more video content, using it to learn, entertain, or both at once!
Businesses need to be more creative behind the camera, meet consumers where they’re gathering, and engage with them in meaningful ways. Authenticity should be at the core of local marketing campaigns using these social resources!
Google will always have its place in searchable content, but the power of social media is relevant for our time more than ever! Social media’s impact is undeniable, and companies that keep up with it prosper.
If you want to increase your social media presence, getting help is possible! Get in touch with experts today to learn more.