Search Engine Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

There are a variety of choices you face when driving traffic to your website or page, the two main choices that leave individuals and businesses torn are search and social. Most often the issue is whether to invest in one marketing strategy more than the other, or to only you use one over the other.

Here we’ll take a look at the benefits & drawbacks of each, let’s have a look at why marketers might want to choose search engine marketing instead of social media marketing. If we look at our own online habits we’ll find that whenever we are looking for something, from a yoga class, to an Italian place near us, we go to our trustee search engines- Google, Yahoo, and many others. According to Econsultancy, 61% of buyers use search engines to research companies and products before purchasing. Therefore, in order for companies to get discovered they’ll have to make use of keyword optimisation. There are plenty of useful tools to research what people are searching for, Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a great place to start.

Understandably so, it can be difficult to get to the top based only on organic search results, however Google Adwords allows you to buy your way into the sponsored links section of Google. In search for a service on Google, two links to appear at the top are not in organic search, differentiated by a symbol indicating an Ad. Even though organic search results can get more clicks, having your brand present in the first page is better than not having it at all. Additionally, brands can customize their appearance on search results, as opposed to using the website’s usual title and description used in organic searches, brands can use specific calls to action in sponsored results.

Now let us have a look at how social media marketing may be a more desirable choice than search engine marketing. According to the same report by Econsultancy mentioned above, 75% of people between the ages 18-26 used recommendations on social networks as research before making a purchase. If a brand has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Google + this enables recommendations to be made as soon as someone likes the brand’s page, mentions the brand’s twitter handle, or tags the brands name. The more people take these actions, the more people discover the brand.

Aside from not coming up at all, one of the biggest problems in search engine marketing is having negative results come up. Anything from bad reviews to damaging articles about a brand, and there is not much that can be done to counter these results. One major way to tackle the problem of complaints is to respond to people directly via social media in real time. This allows the brand to show both the current and potential customers that they care about their satisfaction with the brand.There are a number of useful tools which allow for effective social media advertising, from Facebook Advertising, Promoted Tweets, to StumbleUpon Ads. This is a very good way to gain more fans to your Facebook page, generate traffic, and for general brand visibility across social media platforms.

While it may be tempting to believe that one strategy is better than the other, you really should consider investing your time and money into both search engine marketing and social media marketing. Investing in both will give you a good balance of traffic, therefore should one source begin to fail, you can put more resources behind the other. Not only that, but you can actually use the same keyword search on your website optimization strategy on your social media marketing. So is one better than the other? That’s just dependant on brand and strategy!