Keywords knock hashtags off their thrones - social media as a search engine
"There you go, and now a few more topical hashtags - and you're done." But, is that even true? Or is it time once again to rethink our posting routines. After all, social media channels like TikTok and Instagram are constantly getting richer with new features. And they enjoy a high priority in terms of the algorithm. This flood of social media innovation is a constant challenge for companies. Is yours up to the challenge of rapid change?
According to a Hootsuite study in 2022, people of all ages are increasingly using social media as a search engine. Instagram and TikTok in particular are being "misappropriated" by Generation Z. Instead of Lip Sync videos or sharing the latest vacation pic on Insta, users are searching for must-sees in Amsterdam, recipe ideas or even financial tips. The content creators definitely leave nothing to be desired here. In addition, brand research is done on the social media giants. Why even google when you can get information directly on the brand's official Instagram or TikTok account, right? That's what users between the ages of 16 and 24 in particular think. A reason for many companies to look into the topic of social media search engines. But how does social media research actually work?
"Don't forget hashtags!"
You've probably heard this phrase a few times in your social media department, right? Now you might think that hashtags turn the Instagram and TikTok platforms into search engines. But that's not right - because hashtags are used solely to bundle topics. All posts with the same hashtag are thrown into a huge pool that interested users can follow. Incidentally, the hashtag pages of Instagram and TikTok are very similar. They only differ in their interface.
For you and your company, hashtags simply mean more reach. With them, you can easily reach people who are interested in your content for free. But are hashtags still the best possible approach today? The answer is "yes." Basically, the significance of the double cross symbol is still not negligible. It is still a commonly used and effective method of increasing awareness in the world of social media. However, social media algorithms now favor other ways to find content and even penalize the overuse of hashtags. So is the hashtag era over?
A new age has dawned: Keywords in Social Media
Meanwhile, the official business accounts of the companies are to be considered as mini-landing pages. Therefore, they should not be less optimized than the actual website. This includes SEO keywords - because they are not only helpful on Google. The tried and tested hashtags do not have to vacate the space, but at least Make way.
SEO keywords have different meanings depending on the platform. We therefore take a closer look at two of the social media giants: Instagram and TikTok.
Meanwhile, the Instagram search function goes beyond hashtags and accounts. In Germany, some functions are still restricted, but the Twitter post by Adam Mosseri - Head of Instagram - but looks promising. In order to appear in the searched content, one thing is urgently needed. That's right: keywords. The selected keywords should ultimately be in the caption (caption) can be embedded cleverly. However, you can omit the familiar hashtag hash here. In addition, it can be useful to provide the bio and the alt texts of the images with the keywords.
In addition, TikTok integrates the keywords into the video. What does that mean specifically? The keywords can be found in the text overlays, in the spoken word, in the caption and even in the comments. What is special about TikTok is that the text on the videos as well as the first three to five seconds of the short video are relevant for the algorithm. Care should be taken that the text overlays are not created with a professional graphics program, but with the TikTok's own video editor must be inserted. This is the only way the sound-on platform can recognize the texts as such.
Tips for the selection of social media keywords
Basically, when selecting keywords, you always have to make sure that they are meaningful and, above all, fit the context. After all, it makes little sense if the keyword has nothing to do with the image or video. Both the user and the algorithm must understand the content provided.
But how do you find a potential social keyword? First of all, the procedure is no different from Google keyword research. First relevant keywords can be determined by classic SEO tools. Others can be found directly on the social media platforms. And how? Quite simply - by searching! Instagram & Co. are ultimately search engines where possible keywords can be entered in the search mask. The search results show whether there is still potential or whether these are already well served. In the latter case, you should rather keep your hands off the keyword. Furthermore, there is another possibility: your comment section. A look at your comments is always worthwhile. Who knows - maybe one or the other exciting keyword is hiding in there.
The procedures at a glance:
- Use of a classic SEO tool
- Search for potential keywords in social media (search bar)
- Checking the comments for frequently mentioned keywords
One thing is clear: SEO keywords will be indispensable in the world of social media in the future. At least if your goal is to be found well. Therefore, you should constantly adapt your company's social media concept to this and also all other new launches. But does that mean you have to say goodbye to your (beloved) hashtags? No. Try a combination of selected keywords, e.g. in the caption, and a few specific hashtags. This way, your company benefits from the best of both worlds.