SEO vs Social Media: Which is best to drive more leads?
Digital marketing is a dynamic industry that’s introducing new technology and fresh creative strategies almost daily. It’s a challenge to search through the basket of possibilities for tactics that get results. One question we often get is when it comes to securing meaningful leads by driving traffic to your website, which offers a greater return on your investment—SEO or Social Media Marketing?
SEO vs Social Media
Both approaches can be inexpensive and simple to execute, and both have proven themselves in the right environment. But which is most likely to result in new, purchase-ready customers for your ecommerce brand at a reasonable cost?
Let’s start with the basics.
What is SEO marketing?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing consists of creating a content-rich website that pops up for the right search string at the right time to the right person.
Specifically, SEO is the process of securing a high rank for a search term string in a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. It’s the art and science of making sure your company’s site appears at or near the top of the organic (or unpaid) results a search engine returns.
In general, Google and other search engines give high rankings to sites that show quality, trustworthiness, and authority. For good SEO results, then, your site needs to be deep, credible, and clear – not stuffed with spammy keywords.
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the use of social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram to create brand awareness or to promote products. The basic elements of social media marketing include:
- Establishing a presence on the major platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. For some brands, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or Pinterest may also be good digital real estate to claim.
- Creating content. On social media, content can be free, as in the case of a Facebook post or an Instagram pic, or it can be paid, as in the case of a Facebook Ad or a boosted Tweet. Shareable content is critical to SMM success.
- Engaging in dialogue with customers through surveys, customer service responses, games, and contests.
Does SEO or SMM drive more leads?
Many factors determine a brand’s success with SEO or SMM. These include size, personality, location, product, and price. However, for a small-to-mid-sized business, there’s a clear winner between SEO and SMM.
SEO will increase site traffic and visibility at a much lower financial and human resource cost than SMM. It’s easy to learn, the guidelines are simple, and the results are almost immediate.
Typically, though, SEO and SMM work together rather than in competition, and investing in both is often a wise strategy. Like any investment, this one requires understanding the potential pitfalls. In digital marketing, a guaranteed way to burn up your advertising dollars is to sink them into social media without a clear plan that includes a rigorous monitoring and evaluation component.
Facebook ad costs can skyrocket without careful oversight. Did you know it takes an investment of 58 cents to get a single click on a Facebook Ad? That’s the average. For some industries, the cost is much steeper. And remember, a click is not a lead. Whether you’re a summer camp in New England or a global consultancy (or somewhere in-between), it’s all too easy for geo-specific industries like real estate to get a high click through rate (CTR) and a very low number of conversions due to the nature of the relevant keywords. Unless you are paying careful attention, views and clicks can rack up your bill while not producing any sales-ready customers.
Fraud rates are escalating on social media. According to PPCProtect.Com, click fraud is “the fraudulent clicking of pay per click adverts to generate fraudulent charges for advertisers.” Click fraud rate is growing at 50% per year, and in January of 2017, 20% of pay per clicks were fraudulent. Fully 78% of marketers cite fraud as their top concern.
Influencer marketing is a double-edged sword. Use it wisely. Influencers are popular and active social media users who leverage their name recognition to increase brand awareness or promote products. Macroinfluencers are well-known people such as celebrities or nationally renowned speakers. These individuals garner immediate viewer attention but often charge high prices, may not be a good fit for your brand, and ultimately can produce a low or negative ROI. Microinfluencers, on the other hand, receive recognition only within their niches. They tend to charge lower rates, are chosen for their natural fit, and show good results. Like other forms of SMM, influencer marketing can produce great results, or it can result in dollars lost.
While SEO and SMM are natural allies in a holistic digital marketing strategy, it is SEO that produces results without the heavy front-end investment SMM requires. Feel free to contact us about making integrating your digital strategy or about reining in your SMM costs by reaching out to Dave Saraceno here: [email protected]