SEO vs Social Media Marketing

Written by: Jason Bayless | August 10, 2015

In the 21st century, businesses and anyone else wishing to promote themselves need to have an online presence. Two common promotion methods are SEO and social media marketing. While they may have similar goals and compliment each other at times, they are two different concepts. Let’s take a look at these online promotion methods and see how they can be effective in improving your reach and influence.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and its goal is to bring as much traffic as possible to your site or landing page. This can be done by creating content such as blog posts or articles, posting pictures with relevant keywords in the caption and posting on forums or social media channels. The goal is to rank as high as possible for keywords that searchers use when looking for content online.

Marketers who use SEO are generally trying to get traffic without paying for it. Ideally, the content will be shared on various social media networks, through email lists and on other websites. For instance, if a blogger links back to an article or blog post, the search engines see that as a signal of relevant content. Content that is seen as relevant and useful is going to rank higher than content deemed shallow or irrelevant.

While social media channels can be a good SEO tool, the focus is not on marketing through such channels exclusively. Overall, the goal is simply to get as much targeted and organic traffic to a website or landing page. Once the visitor gets to the site, the hope is that he or she will buy a product, share content or otherwise engage with the site.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing focuses on all available methods of promoting content on social media. The goal is to increase an entity’s social media following, which may lead to greater brand awareness and engagement. At some point, this may be leveraged into money making opportunities for that entity.

Most social networks have a native advertising system that allows people to promote content, buy followers or start a branding campaign. On Twitter, you can customize an advertising campaign to increase your following or to create a hashtag that will be promoted as a trending hashtag. If you optimize your campaign toward getting new followers, your Twitter handle will be shown to those who you are targeting. You are then charged for each person who actually follows you.

On Facebook, you can pay for likes, followers to your page or pay for ads that users can click on. Ideally, these clicks will lead to conversions that will grow the brand or lead to immediate sales. Like an SEO campaign, increasing your following or increasing engagement through social media marketing may be beneficial from an SEO standpoint.

The Best Online Campaigns Use a Blend of Both Options

The best online campaigns use a mixture of SEO tactics in addition to paid acquisition efforts. These days, it is almost impossible to achieve pagerank quickly or get your message heard unless you are willing to pay for it. By getting a mixture of free traffic and paid traffic, you increase your odds of growing your customer base or following. In turn, it then becomes easier to increase engagement and increase revenues as your company matures.

You need to have an online presence if you are going to attract customers and grow your company in today’s business climate. Social media and SEO campaigns allow you to increase reach without having to necessarily increase your marketing budget. As an added bonus, you can better track how each campaign is performing, which makes it easier to maximize your ROI for each dollar spent.