Social as a News Source
When asked where they go to read news, business, and lifestyle stories, search engines (79%) and social media (76%) were the top sources according to the results of a recent study published on HubSpot
This has changed dramatically in the last two years: Facebook has seen a 57% increase, Twitter a 25% increase, and LinkedIn a 21% increase in usage for content consumption.
Additionally, Facebook actually drives more traffic to sites than Google. In a report published last year from Parse.ly
an analytics platform serving some of the largest content publishers in the world—Facebook referrals grew dramatically in 2014 and 2015, ultimately sending 3% more referral traffic than the leading search engine.
Excelling in Social Search
The ever-increasing reliance on mobile for purchasing decisions is leading to a change in the way people search online. People are more likely to conduct thorough research online before making a purchase, even if the purchase is made offline. People are also spending more time in social networking apps, making a brand’s social presence critical in ongoing success.
To excel in social search, brands need to do more than just grow likes—they need to build social communities:
- Encouraging customers to review products may be effective if Facebook social search takes off. Search results will be combined with reviews and comments from individuals in a searcher’s network, increasing brand/product visibility and credibility.
- Utilization of social broadcast tools like Facebook Live will help to create an active social community, as will taking the time to provide customer service on social media.
Keep in mind that consumers have high expectations when it comes to social media interactions. Almost half of people who send complaints via social media expect a response within an hour
meaning that brands will have to be really dedicated to the platform in order to be successful.
Social Search as the New SEO
As people turn more often to social networks for content—be it news content, product information, or purchase recommendations—brands that have taken the time to build active social communities, share quality content on social networks, and provide exceptional customer service will continue to drive quality traffic that’s more likely to engage and convert.
Social is a marketing powerhouse: it drives content consumption, enables expanded distribution, and connects content with reviews and recommendations from trusted sources. Businesses who maintain active and useful social communities will be one step ahead as we approach the social tipping point where an evolved, interactive search process is preferred.