SEO or Social Media marketing
So you probably know that you should be leveraging one or both of these for your business.
But you are faced with choosing between one or the other.
Well, today I am going to try and help you solve that dilemma.
When it comes to driving traffic to a website, there are tons of strategies and channels you can focus on. In fact, according to the book Traction co-authored by Gabriel Weinberg, there are 19 different channels you should be leveraging when trying to drive traffic to your website.
As a small business with a limited budget, there is no way you can successfully leverage all these channels to grow your website traffic.
You are limited by time, resources, talent and a whole lot of things.
That is why it is important to focus on just a few but even between these few, it can be pretty difficult to choose.
Today we will look at how to effectively choose between SEO and social media marketing and what you should do when faced with such a question.
Confused about this chicken and egg conundrum
Then read on.
What is SEO?
SEO or what is popularly known as search engine optimization is the process of getting traffic from search engines by increasing the visibility of a website on search engine result page through the combination of activities which include On-page and Off-page SEO.
For SEO to work, a search engine must be able to crawl a website, index the pages on the website, rank the website through a combination of complex systems known as an algorithm and then display the website in a relevant position when users types in queries (keyword) that relates to that website when they are on a search engine.
A typical SEO process looks like this:
- Select a target keyword based on research
- Optimize a webpage on your site for that keyword
- Build links to it
- Repeat the process for the whole website
Check out this in-depth analysis and guide on SEO.
Advantages of SEO
- SEO Traffic is usually regarded as free: SEO traffic is regarded as free traffic. This is because people who land on your website are have not been directly marketed to. They go to a search engine of their source, discover your site and click through to your website
- SEO brings in residual traffic: SEO traffic is also seen as residual traffic. This is because even after you have stopped working on your website, search engine continue to send traffic to your website
- SEO traffic is usually high quality: Because people who are searching on search engines on actively looking for solutions to their problem, SEO traffic usually converts better.
- SEO is a major source of lead for most big businesses: Google sends about 80% of traffic to websites all over the world becoming the largest source of traffic for a website.
Cons of SEO
- SEO takes a long time to mature as much as 1 year in competitive markets: It takes time for SEO to mature and the more competitive your keyword is, the longer this process is.
- There is no guarantee when it comes to SEO: SEO results cannot be guaranteed. This is because the algorithms controlling it changes rapidly
- SEO Is borrowed property which depends on complex factors that no one knows: Google calls the shots when it comes to how they handle their results.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of leveraging social media platforms to drive traffic to a website.
According to statistics, over 2.7billion monthly active users use Facebook alone, one of the most popular social media platforms that exist in the world. These statistics and other statistics from different social media platforms made these channels attractive to marketers as a source of the traffic to their website.
Social media is generally a method that is effective at helping a business create more brand awareness and generate leads for their business.
So how does social media marketing work?
Social media works when you create and share content on this social media platform. The idea of creating your content can be to drive awareness, generate leads or simply create a good customer experience for your brand.
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
- Social media can help you generate awareness for your business: You can quickly attract and build more awareness for your business especially if you are paying to use social media platforms.
- Social media can be a good source of traffic: Social media can also be a source of good traffic as you can reach people you want to target.
- Social media can help you create brand advocates for your business: You can quickly build advocates for your business.
- Social media can be very useful if you want to create brand loyalty: You can build cult-like followers for your business who will, in turn, promote your business to other people.
Cons of Social Media Marketing
- Social media traffic can be of low quality because you are targeting people based on interest, not demand
- To be very effective in social media marketing, you may need to spend money on paid promotion. Organic reach is increasingly decreasing across all social media platforms
- Low return on investment.
SEO or Social media
Now that we have looked at the cons and advantages of both social media marketing and search engine optimization, let us now try to answer which of them you should focus on.
You should focus on Social Media if:
- Your business is more B2C: If your business serves consumers more, then social media platforms can be a great source of attraction.
- If your business or brand already has some loyal customers: If you operate a business that already has some loyalists, then social media platforms can be a great way to interact with them.
- When you have content on your website that can be promoted: If you are already creating content, then you can leverage social media platforms to get more people to see these contents.
You should focus on SEO when:
- Your business is a startup: Most startups do not have lots of funds so SEO seems attractive as you do not really need to invest a huge amount of money to get started.
- When your product has a search demand: If you can validate that your business has search volume-driven keywords, then SEO should be a must.
However is there a better way?
SEO and Social Media Marketing
Yes, I strongly believe that the question should rather not be whether you should do SEO or social media. This is because as a business, for you to be successful and gain traction rapidly, you need to focus on at least 3 acquisition channels to quickly grow your business.
When you look at the acquisition channels mentioned above, you will notice that SEO, Social Media, and Content marketing can be a very good source of traffic for business or any size and stage if done well.
Therefore the focus should be on how I can combine both SEO and Social media marketing together to get good traction for my business. Before we discuss this, let us briefly answer one burning question you may have.
Does Social Media affect SEO?
The simple definitive answer is No.
However social media can be a fuelling factor for SEO. This is possible through two means. First SEO depends on backlinks which is one of the complex algorithms through which search engines rank web page son it’s SERP. Social media can be a means of getting this link even though the links you will naturally see on social media platforms are usually no-follow.
This is perfectly natural. In an ideal world, all your backlinks can not be do-follow so it is good to have this type of link in your backlink mix.
Secondly, people discover and consume content across the internet through different means. One of such means is social media platforms. Remember in our early discussion, I spoke about how over 1b people are active on Facebook alone as a platform. This means your audience is probably on one or more of this social media platform. When they discover your content, find it useful and consume it, it can lead to them sharing it with other people who in turn can result in different links such as traffic or backlinks in some cases
Next time when you are faced with the dilemma of picking between SEO or Social media as an acquisition channel, one question you need to ask yourself is this.
- What stage are we in our business
- Are people actively searching for our product on search engine
Once you can answer this question, you can quickly know where to turn your efforts into. However, in an ideal environment, learning how to use an integrated approach in combining SEO and Social media can be a game-changer for your business.