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How to Find People on Social Media

Over 4 billion people worldwide have a social media presence. With numbers that high, finding the right person can sometimes be challenging. Especially if they have a common name.

There are tips to narrow down results to get closer to the actual person. Find out how to search for people on social media from Google or via contact details, reverse image searches, and friends lists.

Google Search

A straightforward way to find a person without going to the social media platform is to search directly from Google.

Using ‘site:’ followed by the landing page and the person’s name will bring up any matching results. Here are three examples by simply replacing the platform name before the .com:

  • Site: John Smith
  • Site: John Smith
  • Site: John Smith

Use Your Phone’s Contact List

Once logged into the platform, it can automatically go through the contact list on your connected smartphone. It will attempt to match any names, numbers, or addresses it finds. This tool is a quick and efficient way of generating a tailor-made friends list in seconds.

Contact Details Search

Taking the previous idea a step further, most social media sites are created by a link to an email address or a phone number. Entering either of these into the platform’s search bar may result in going immediately to the page of the person you’re looking for.

Reverse Image Search

With an image of the person, it’s easy to find them on numerous sites. Particularly flattering photos are often uploaded to multiple platforms.

Using a reverse image app on a smartphone, tablet, or pc, anywhere else that picture appears will be instantly linked to.

Friends of Friends

A person’s friends list is a valuable, almost untapped database of people. Apply the six degrees of separation principle, where everyone in the world is connected to you by only six other people.

The person being sought may be a friend of a friend or one of their friends. Searching through those lists may bring positive results.

Business networking sites like LinkedIn require you to be introduced by a mutual connection any more than two links away.

Platform By Platform

Here’s a breakdown of how to do a simple name search on several of the most popular social media platforms.


Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform. A standard name search on Facebook is straightforward. There is a search bar at the top of almost every page. Enter the person’s name and click the magnifying glass icon.

The initial results page can be narrowed down by applying filters from the taskbar on the left.


Similarly to Facebook, Instagram has a search bar on every page. The main difference is that Instagram works on usernames rather than actual names, and if the username is known, it’s a simple search.

A first and last name search can also be performed, but the information needs to be exact for a successful result.


Snapchat mirrors Instagram in that it relies on individual usernames to locate users. It also has a unique QR code style, ‘snapcode,’ that, once scanned, instantly connects to that user.

Platform to Platform

Active social media users often have profiles on multiple sites. Once a Facebook profile is found, copying and pasting that user name into a Google search bar makes it possible to get hits on other platforms.

Finding People on Social Media is Easy

A person’s social media profile can be found in many ways, whether they’re known to you or not.

Begin with a Google search using the site: first name last name’ algorithm. 

If the person is already a friend, your smartphone’s contact list can link to any platform and provide a list in seconds.

As most social media sites are linked to a person’s email address or phone number, searching via either can produce results.

Reverse image searches are an excellent way of finding a person on multiple platforms.

Don’t discount the power of your friends list; that’s an untapped database of contacts.

Finally, copy that username into Google once you’ve found them in one to find more.

Featured Image by Souvik Banerjee from Pixabay