Unless you have been living in a ‘content free’ cave (maybe those avoiding Brexit or Trump), it’ll come as no surprise that search significantly drives the buying decision making process. Search marketing, in the context of online searching via sites like Google, is a dominant touchpoint for researching and reviewing everything from cars to cats. According to ‘Search Engine Land’, Google handles at least 2 trillion searches annually. As search is so accessible (with rise to mobile) in providing a wealth of relevant information, buying without an initial Google search is painfully uncomfortable… I dare you to try it.
Google is the number one brand according to the 2017 ‘Brand Finance Global 500’, and is quite honestly a force of its own. So readers may be thinking that ‘Google Search’ is sitting happily on its throne, and maybe it is for now, however there is a new kid in town who is rallying a challenge. Its name also begins with ‘S’, and can be more accurately described as a transition from adolescence to adulthood – welcome aboard ‘Social Search’.
Social media has always been a hotbed for brand awareness, community building and audience engagement, however it is increasingly playing an important role in discovery. From new cooking recipe hacks to undiscovered places to travel, brands are catching on to capitalising in this newsfeed melting pot. Upon attending a restaurant launch in Central London, the Owner proudly announces that the event pictures will be posted on Instagram during the evening. It demonstrates that a ‘searcher’ can access more content on social media than they will through a ‘traditional’ Google search in the first week.
Networks such as Facebook and Pinterest are lapping up the evolved user relationship with search, focusing on creating ‘walled gardens’ to retain users within their comfortable social network setting. It also plays into the hands of the social user, creating a frictionless experience as they interact and engage with friends, followers and brands in one place.
Social media is evolving rapidly, and looking at Facebook’s successful additional features like Marketplace and Facebook Live, it is apparent they’re working hard to retain user content within its own environment. Content is critical to play in search, more recently video, which is why Facebook, Instagram and ironically only this week, Google owned Youtube, have live streaming features to provide immediate and richer engagement to our newsfeeds.
If you’re a business, take note. Social media is surely establishing itself in search, and you can expect to see greater opportunities to advertise in this space. Moreover as social commerce makes a resurgence, with photo-happy Instagram ‘tags’ and Pinterest ‘buyable pins’, it demonstrates an evolving consumer behaviour for brands to capitalise on. So watch this social space!
‘Social Media Business Success’ is a free 2 hour workshop hosted by Unleash Digital Ltd on Sat 25th Feb 9.30am-11.30am, Wimbledon. Secure your place now at https://