As a business owner, you’ve probably pondered the question of whether or not to incorporate social media marketing into your overall search engine optimization strategy. In this article we look at SEO vs. Social Media Marketing: Which Should You Use?
You may have even used one type of marketing over the other and noticed some positive results. While it’s clear that both types of traffic generation are important to any online campaign, they certainly aren’t equal.
Let’s take a look at the differences between these two methods of generating website traffic and how each affects your reputation, branding, trustworthiness, and lead generation.
SEO vs. Social Media Marketing: The Basic Differences
Before we dive too deeply into this topic, let’s first understand what SEO and social media marketing entail so we can better understand the differences between them.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a collection of strategies aimed at improving your business’s search engine ranking, so it appears higher in the ‘organic’ results of major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and other popular sites.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing involves using social media to build relationships with people who are interested in your business, product, or service. Social media marketing is not just limited to ‘social’ sites like Facebook and Twitter – it’s also including blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr.
How Social Media Marketing Affects Your Business
Social media marketing also benefits businesses in several ways:
Brand Building & Reputation Management
Just like effective SEO, social media marketing can help increase the number of inbound links and references to your business, which can build up your online reputation and make it easier for interested consumers to find you.
Lead Generation & Sales
Because building relationships is at the core of social media marketing, these platforms are ideal for lead generation. The more people you interact with on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, the more likely they are to click into your website or blog, consume your content, and become a lead.
Visitor Retention & Brand Loyalty
Social media marketing helps build brand loyalty because it gives interested consumers multiple ways of engaging with you, including on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. When you provide an improved customer experience via social media, you’ll increase the chance that your visitors will tell their friends about you and become brand ambassadors.
How SEO Affects Your Business
SEO offers several benefits for businesses looking to increase their online presence, including:
Brand Building & Reputation Management
Search engine results are often the first interaction potential consumers have with your business. You want to make sure that the first impression they see is an accurate representation of what you offer, which is why effective SEO can do wonders for building your reputation and increasing visitor trust.
Lead Generation & Sales
When visitors arrive at your website via a search engine result, they’re often there to fulfill a specific need. For example, a visitor that clicks on your site from a Google search is looking for the best place to fulfill that need. If your site meets that need and offers a clear path to purchase, you’ll generate leads and sales.
Long-Term Growth & Stability
In addition to short-term benefits, search engine optimization offers long-term growth for your business. By continually building up the number of organic inbound links to your site and publishing quality content regularly, you’ll continue to see increased traffic year after year.
How to Use Social Media Marketing & SEO Combined?
The most successful businesses combine social media marketing with SEO for a powerful one-two punch. Here’s how that may look:
You have a business website that includes a blog.
- Tip #1: Publish relevant content regularly on your blog, and syndicate it via RSS so other blogs and social media platforms will reference and link to your content. Make sure you include links back to your website in the body of each blog post as well as use relevant keywords throughout the posts so search engines can recognize what they’re about.
- Tip #2: Submit your website to the major search engines, directories, and other websites that accept submissions.
You have a business Facebook page that includes a blog.
- Tip #3: Syndicate your posts from your blog to your Facebook page so more people will be exposed to them. Include links back to your website in the body of each post as well as relevant keywords throughout the posts so search engines can recognize what they’re about.
- Tip #4: Submit your blog to the major blog directories so more people will be exposed to it.
You have a business Twitter account that you use periodically to share content.
- Tip #5: Syndicate your posts from your Facebook page to your Twitter account so more people can see them. Include links back to your website in the body of each post as well as relevant keywords throughout the posts so search engines can recognize what they’re about.
- Tip #6: Subscribe to the major social media directories so more people will be exposed to your Twitter account.
You have a business LinkedIn account that you use periodically to share content.
- Tip #7: Syndicate your posts from your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account so more people can see them. Include links back to your website in the body of each post as well as relevant keywords throughout the posts so search engines can recognize what they’re about.
- Tip #8: Subscribe to the major social media directories so more people will be exposed to your LinkedIn account.
You have a YouTube channel that includes videos on various aspects of your business operations.
- Tip #9: Use tags, titles, and descriptions for each video that include relevant keywords so search engines can find and index them easily. If you create playlists for different topics or types of content, include one titled “Business Tips” with individual videos tagged “Business Tips” so it will be easier for search engines to find them.
- Tip #10: Syndicate your videos on YouTube to your blog and other social media platforms so more people can see them.
You have a business Pinterest account that you use periodically to share content.
- Tip #11: Syndicate your posts from your LinkedIn account to your Pinterest account so more people can see them. Include links back to your website in the body of each post as well as relevant keywords throughout the posts so search engines can recognize what they’re about.
- Tip #12: Subscribe to the major social media directories so more people will be exposed to your Pinterest account. Finally, hire someone who knows how to optimize and manage your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, YouTube channel, and Pinterest account so you can focus on what you do best: running your business.
A Word of Caution
Keep in mind that social media marketing and SEO are both time-consuming and require patience to be successful. Don’t expect overnight results — they don’t exist! If you spend an hour a day or more on social media activities for several months without seeing any tangible return on your investment (traffic to your website), maybe it’s time to re-evaluate whether this is the right tactic for your business.
While small businesses may find success with social media marketing when starting, many businesses run into problems down the road when their time is sucked away by maintaining their social media presence. Social media marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so you need to have realistic expectations when starting off.
Social media marketing is a tactic that requires time and patience. If you don’t have the resources to allocate 5–10 hours per week on each one of these strategies, consider hiring someone who does it to get you started on both SEO and social media marketing.
In most cases, businesses change their tactics every few years as search engines update their algorithms or new social media platforms emerge, so it’s important to be familiar with what has worked for your business in the past several months and how to adapt your strategy when needed.
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