Where Do Your Prospects “Search”​ When They Don’t Know the Question?

Every Friday, we run a podcast at 14:00 UK time / 09:00 AM US east coast and the objective behind this is to ask questions, debate and educate us all on digital. Recording here

Last week we had Simon Kemp on, the person who produces all of those amazing digital reports.

You can check out the reports here #Digital2022 Global Overview Report is live on DataReportal, they are free, not gated and no salespeople will stalk you. 

I ask a question about search, fast forward to 45:40.

"There are lots of places that people can search, GoogleBing and social media. I also point out that I'm being told by our customers that they are being found by prospects coming to social media and searching." And I asked Simon's view. 

What is the data on search? - What are people search for?

Simon talks about the fact that our buyers and customers are "searching for .." stuff. They are looking for inspiration, to be educated. This is backed up by his data that says that 75% of people are going to social media to look for information on brands.

And half of all working age adults say that searching for information on brands is one of the primary reasons they come to social media.  

Use of search based on our own experiences

And we know this is true, if i say to you that the iphone is the best phone in the world then you will turn to social to prove me wrong. The same, if you are looking for an new ERP system, you will turn to social. (You won't turn to a website, because you know that the supplier will say "buy my product because we are great" and all suppliers say this).

If you think about how we use Google, we are asking a question. The battery needs replacing on my car and today I searched for companies that will come out to my house and replace my battery.

But search (Google) does not deliver the truth

In the discussion, Adam Gray points out at 51.10 that search on Google, provides a carefully created answer, but what they don't deliver is truth. Just go to Google and search "the best CRM in the world" and you will get a mess of supplier opinion and suppliers buying that search. Which as a buyer isn't what I want. Where as if you run the same search on social you get a different response as it's based on people's experience and a far more open series of responses. 

Search on social is different from search on Google

People are coming to social to learn, it maybe what Nike has said or what the latest SaaS platform is doing. Simon says that people are coming to social media to search, but the search is very newounced.  You may come to social media and scowl and it's a lucky dip as to what you see. 

Search on social is about discovery

If, like me, you scowl and go; "boring, boring, boring, boring, wow that's interesting".

As Simon says, people are going to social to learn about things that matter to them. 

It's worth noting that we are not saying that search engines are dead, they are not because in many cases people are searching on both, search engine and on social media. 

If you check out this video of Chris Mason CEO at Oracle reseller Namos, and DLA Ignite customer, fast forward to 19 minutes 55 seconds. Chris talks about a $2.6 million win from being on social, after completing the DLA Ignite social selling and influence course. 

What happened? They buyer was on social media looking for a solution to their problem, spotted one of the Namos salespeople, who had a buyer-centric profile and asked if the salesperson could help them. That turned into a $2.6 million deal. 

But what search engines don't do is discovery

You cannot get serendipity in a Google search. You enter a query and Google will give you an answer, to it's best of its ability, which today is pretty good. I was able to sort my new battery for the car, within seconds. 

Simon then said "think about this, you are in the physical world and walking down a high street and see an alleyway and decided you have never been down there. You can see shops down there, that you didn't know existed."  So you end up going down a "random" street.

As you walk down this alleyway you have never been in, maybe you find a shop you didn't know existed, selling something you wanted, or didn't know you wanted.

That is discovery. You weren't going out looking for what you discovered. 

There was no "search", but you still "found".

.... let's build on this. 

Related to that TikTok changed social media.

Up until the point of TikTok, social media was based around "social graphs" that is like FaceBook or LinkedIn, our social world is based around who we know, our network.

TikTok upended that with its algorithm, it does not matter who you know on TikTok, it's what they like, consume and enjoy. Obviously other platforms are working to copy this and after time this won't be unique. 

You should have got here and realised that the words "search" and "discovery" are different. 

As a brand and through your employees you can both improve your prospects search and also discovery. 

That is learning about things I don't know about.

When I don't know the question, how can I ask it of Google?

Related: The Number One Thing You Are Getting Wrong on LinkedIn