Search Engine Marketing Vs. Social Media Marketing – Which Works Best?


Thinking of increasing your online presence, but not sure which path to take – search engine marketing or social media marketing? There are many arguments in favor of both, and it would not be wrong to say that both have their respective merits. It is true that search engines got here first, but the rapid progress of social media in recent times, the phenomenal interest it has generated among users, and its global reach all imply that it is a force to be reckoned with.

Although social media has certainly reduced the potential of search engines to some extent, the role of search engines remains significant even with millions of likes and shares on social media channels. Data from Google reveals that people have searched billions of times on their network, showing that search engines are still in the lead as the main source of traffic generation. However, it would be wrong to make a decision based solely on numbers and traffic potential, because ultimately it all depends on your specific needs. For some projects, social media will be more appropriate while for others, good old search engine marketing will do.

Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction:

What’s your business?

If you are in a conventional business setup with a lot of technical data, for example – cloud technology, you will do better with search engine marketing. You can deploy a variety of keywords relevant to your business to get the leads you want for your products or services. Here, social media will play a limited supporting role and search engine optimization and search engine marketing will be the watchwords. On the contrary, if your business is based on a new paradigm, for example – a portal specializing in innovative home care products, you can generate a lot of interest through social media channels. Here, search engine marketing would be limited in scope because people would not know what keyword to search for in the first place.

What is your main objective?

So what do you want to achieve? Lead generation or customer engagement? If the former is your primary focus, you would do much better with search engine marketing, while in the case of the latter, social media would be most appropriate. With search engine marketing, you can generate the required amount of traffic as needed for lead generation and subsequent conversions. Customer engagement is more about brand building and understanding customer needs.

Want fast results?

Need to promote a product or service as soon as possible? You can do it much faster with social media. All you need is a great story that has the potential to go viral. Marketers have used this technique quite effectively for specific projects such as launching and promoting a new product or service. Viral videos, images, banners, games, apps, etc. can go viral within hours, giving an online marketing initiative a significant boost. In comparison, conventional search engine marketing can take longer to take effect.

Do you have a specific budget?

In broader terms, search engine marketing is much cheaper to launch and maintain. Basic search engine marketing techniques are so easy to deploy that you can do it yourself. Plus, once you’ve done the groundwork, you can continue to see results for several months. In comparison, social media can involve a lot of investment in professional expertise such as designers, content developers, writers, writers, and other creatives. Plus, there’s this constant need to consistently deliver interesting content, whether it’s images, videos, or taglines, to keep users engaged. This would involve a greater investment of time, effort and overhead.

A single approach that would suffice for all needs does not exist. It’s so simple. You need to identify your needs and then try to find the best solution. Plus, for every one of your internet marketing initiatives, you can’t just totally lean towards one thing and completely ignore the other. Something like that would be disastrous. You’ll need to find the perfect balance between search and social media based on your specific needs. Whether it’s a 50:50, 60:40, 70:30 mix, or any other ratio, you’ll have to dig deep and find out.


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