It is no secret that social media platforms greatly influence online behavior. In fact, just last year, TikTok surpassed Google as the most visited domain in the world. With 82% of this year’s global internet traffic coming from video streaming and downloads, it is clear that social media content continues to be a key method of connecting with consumers, and for good reason: social platforms offer users dynamic, fresh ways to interact with brands and with one another. One intriguing way that social media platforms are now being utilized is not only to share content or promote products, but to provide their users with search engine functionality.

From the 1990 launch of the world’s first web crawler to today’s Google-dominated indexing, online search engines have widely revolutionized how the global population lives…and the evolution has not stopped yet. Social and video platforms like YouTube and TikTok have established themselves as trusted sources of educational and influencer content, but people are now using these social platforms as search engines too. This recent shift toward social platforms as search engines has given brands and media agencies a unique opportunity to evaluate current strategies and innovate new ways to use these channels to reach audiences.

How Can Social Platforms Function as Search Engines?

The possibility of TikTok as a search engine was first noted in 2019 because of the app’s geotagging capabilities. TikTok’s “Discovery” tab provides significant opportunities for users to discover products, trends and experiences that have been uploaded and tagged by other users. The app has also recently introduced linked keywords, which can be imbedded in comments and video descriptions, used to facilitate search activity, and drive user engagement and discovery.

With three billion searches per month and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute, YouTube’s relevancy as a search engine also continues to increase. Not only does the platform offer highly popular video content and extremely user-friendly controls, but it currently ranks as the third-largest search engine. Within the massive Google ecosystem, YouTube’s search capabilities are only outranked by Google itself and Google Image Search, and within the millennial, teenage and child populations, YouTube is the number one search engine used to crawl the web. Instead of turning to Google to solve their online queries, consumers are using YouTube to answer FAQs, research products, restaurants or stores, and find videos about trending topics.

How Can My Brand Leverage YouTube & TikTok?

The major takeaway for businesses in this social media evolution is this: brands have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of social media strategy and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Developing social media SEO alongside an expert media agency could significantly increase your brand’s awareness, spotlight products and services in new ways, and drive conversions through new audiences. Creating video content that highlights your brand’s products, personality and values is a great way to quickly connect with consumers and drive them toward conversion as they scroll YouTube and TikTok. If your brand is interested in strengthening your content marketing strategy and SEO for social media platforms, here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Identify content gaps.

Successful video content stems from a strong video content strategy that is based on research about what consumers want and need to know. Take the time to study, research and innovate new content that meets users at a local, mobile and personal level. YouTube offers a few built-in tools that can help, such as its Search Insights feature. Search Insights can help creators identify gaps in available content based on viewer search data, discern what users are looking for and cannot find, and then fill that content gap. Videos that explain or instruct consumers are great ways to connect with consumers. Consider developing content that demonstrates how products work, answers common questions, and reviews your products.

2. Create quality content.

Providing consumers with high-quality content is key. Most users will click away from videos that aren’t engaging within the first 10 seconds, so make sure your video content is helpful, useful, entertaining and humorous! You can also capture and connect with more users by including subtitles, both for TikTok users who scroll on mute and to accommodate any hearing-impaired viewers. Consider giving behind-the-scenes peeks or demonstrations and remember to not bombard your audience with ads.

3. Amplify your work.

Quality content only makes an impact if its seen. Is your content being amplified or optimized to find your target audience? One great way to get the most out of your content is through embedded links. A recent survey discovered that 32% of marketing experts embed landing page links in social media content as their most effective method of generating leads. Another effective way to amplify your video content on social media is to answer “how-to” questions. You might also consider how your content will be displayed on Google’s newest search product, the Google Home Hub, which is a smart display hub system designed to provide users with YouTube video results.

Restructuring or enlarging your brand’s current social media and video content strategy may seem like a daunting process, but guidance from an expert media agency can elevate a brand to become much more search-friendly on video-driven platforms. Through detailed research, paid media and organic search capabilities, LEAP Amp offers that expertise. We support our clients to develop content marketing strategies that capitalize on the benefits of YouTube, TikTok and other social media platforms. Connect with the LEAP Amp team to find out how we can elevate your brand’s efforts. Today can be the day we help you achieve your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and business objectives through more effective social media SEO.