Saying that social media is massive now is like saying that Darth Vader could do with working on his people skills – pretty obvious. For those who still need some convincing, there are lots of eye-watering stats around this sector that do just that. Popular platform Twitter, for example, has close to 300 million active users, while Facebook has over 1 billion active daily users. These kinds of figures show how central social media is to many people’s lives now and how many people use it regularly.
Of course, anyone who knows social media will know the main benefits that it offers. From making it simple to catch up with friends to being able to share important news with them, it is a very convenient way to stay updated. It is not just the way that we interact with friends or family that it has changed though – social media has also impacted how we actually search for things.
How did social media change the way we search?
Whether you like to check out videos on YouTube or catch up with what is happening on Instagram, the way that you search for things will be different now from even ten years ago. While the main overall change has been faster searches made while on the move from mobile devices, there are some specific ways that our behavior has altered here, as below:
- How we search for jobs – in the days before social media, searching for a job involved trawling through page after page of internet listings or having to contact companies in person that may have an opening. This whole process has been made much easier by social media as certain platforms allow job searches to be conducted more efficiently. LinkedIn, for example, has a whole job section where you can search quickly for those companies with vacancies to fill.
The other great thing about a site such as LinkedIn is that you can look at the company profile before you apply – Bryant and Stratton College illustrates this with its company info on LinkedIn along with regular posts advertising hiring sessions. This has changed our search habits when job hunting by allowing us to see more about a company before we apply for any role there.
- How we access news – for many people, accessing the latest news before social media involved watching a TV news show or buying a newspaper each morning. Since social media has exploded, however, this has totally changed. Many consumers now will actually use the search functions on social media platforms to dig out breaking stories or simply keep an eye on their feed. This has made social media one of the key ways that news is consumed now and how we look for it.
- How we search for information on brands – most people will like to get a bit more information on a brand or product before they spend any money. Before social media, this often meant trying to find someone to ask in person about it and what they thought. This has changed a lot in recent times though as people now use social media to search for this sort of information. Even if you cannot find someone who can tell you whether a restaurant is good or a hoover is worth the money, you can always put your own post up to ask.
- How we find trusted sources of information – one big trend within social media that has changed the way that we search is social media influencers. Rather than relying on friends or family for advice, many now search for a trusted opinion online through these social media users. Many influencers will have millions of followers that look to them for information when they need it around a certain product or sector.
- How we search for solutions to problems – one thing that people have always needed to search for is answers to problems. How to change a car battery, for example, or how to get more views on your blog posts are just the sort of things with which people always need help. One big change in how this advice is searched for lies in video sharing social sites such as YouTube. Rather than searching for written explanations online or in print, most people will search for a relevant video instead.
Social media has changed our search habits
What is clear from the above is just what a big impact social media has made to how we search. Whether it is opinion, solutions or news, the old ways of doing it no longer cut the mustard. As social media continues to grow, this will only become truer.