2016-02-14 | 2106 Print PDF
There are various means to get online awareness and visibility for your business services online and there are two major king of the bout in these mediums of online reach. Both Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Marketing are the two most sorted out contenders for this, and personally I will say the combination of the two should just do the job. But most people do not have the time and energy nor the money to invest in all the mediums of social media marketing and search engine marketing, hence, the question on which is better between SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING or SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING?
I will like to weigh on both forms of online marketing with their benefits, since both online marketing are unique mediums and serve specific roles in your online awareness and visibility. It is also important to note that both forms of marketing share the same result and goal as to procure new leads.
Social Media Marketing: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Social media marketing is more like a direct sale kind of approach in online marketing, with social media marketing you are subjected to forward or present a sales pitch that will suit your assumed targeted prospects. In social media marketing you are expected to have an idea of whom your prospects are so as to target them easily.
Social media marketing provides marketers with a lot of data and preferences for marketers to easily target audiences, this of course still strongly depends on you, if you understand and know who your target audiences are. You can easily build a persona for your prospective customers on Facebook with data like gender, age, preferences, location, technology, status etc...all this information are majorly useful to target or find your audience.
For instance if you were to target audiences on Facebook for your online retailing sites and your target audience are online prospects with disposable income, this might be a very good choice...but without doing research or executing an A/B split testing will only not guarantee a failure in your Facebook advertising campaign but may result in loses as well.
Why so? this is because audiences that fall under this bracket are young individuals between early 16 and 30's, this age brackets do have disposable income but may not be the right audience for your business...because on record this same age bracket are responsible for higher returns and refunds. So depending on the kind of business you run either a business to business aka b2b or business to consumer aka b2c you need to define the objectives of using a social media marketing medium as your tool for online reach.
Social media can be utilize to measure, target trending topics by users on social media sites eg Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc the other basis of considering the use of social media marketing will be that it can be a source for connecting and gaining customer relationship via nuturing and responding to queries or inquiries.
The other merit of social media marketing apart from the amount of data analytics it provides for targeting audience, it provides a means to manage your online reputation by monitoring what people are saying about your business online in real time. You can easily get bad reviews online and with the great reach social media can have, this can easily spell doom for such businesses, that is why we have online reputation management as part of social media marketing. Social media marketing sales are mostly generated by word of mouths and positive reviews by existing customers of your service/product and also the key of customers retention and repeated patronage.
Social media marketing success also depends on how active you are online, your community contribution, your page engagement, your content reach and how often you manage your accounts. There are mediums focusing on Images eg instagram, pinterest, flickr etc. micro blogging eg twitter, Facebook, G+ etc. videos eg youtube, vimeo and vine, there are many other forms of social networking sites out there and majorly depend on your activities on them.
Thus the issue of managing all these social platforms, as it is hard to follow your customers on all social media sites they are on and also manage your business presence on them, you will need automated social media management tools that suite your business needs that can help you with automating all manual process of activities on them.
You have social media management tools like hootsuite, sproutsocial, sendible, oktopost, socialreport and SEOWebAnalyst®™, just to mention a few among dozen more out there with similar features and varying functions/prices...you can decide on which suites you best.
Search Engine Marketing: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Now search engines need no formal introduction, there is a 50-50 chance that you must have located something on the web via a search engine with Google being the most popular. With over 100 billion searches per month, it will be wise to get on this jolly train ride of free prospective customers.
In August 2012, Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President at Google and the principal responsible for the development of Google Search, disclosed that Google's search engine found more than 30 trillion unique URLs on the Web, crawls 20 billion sites a day, and processes 100 billion searches every month  (which translate to 3.3 billion searches per day and over 38,000 thousand per second).
This figure was also backed up by Google Zeitgest 2012, which reported 1.2 trillion searches for 2012.
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. The chart below shows the number of searches per year throughout Google's history as of 2012:
According to a comScore 2013 press release, stated that as of December 2012, Google enjoyed a 65.2% share of web search volume worldwide, with 114.7 billion searches that month.
As reported by Econsultancy who publicize the result that 61% of consumers makes use of search engines to help them in product research before making a purchase. This means that if you want to get discovered, you will want to rank well for your target keywords, which equals target audience.
Search engine marketing offers your business with clients that are actually looking for the kind of service or product your business offers, but the tricky part is to understand the concept of how to rank your site on search engines. Search engines provide algorithms that help them to filter low quality sites, to be on a search engine result page your business needs a form of web online presence either a blog or a website.
The key difference here is that search engines serve as a yellow page for people to find answers or solutions, so if your business offers solutions to a particular need then consumers will be looking for you. Utilizing search engine marketing also involves targeting but they are not as elaborate as social media marketing as the leads come to them with a ready made mind to look for or search for something, to provide answers or solutions, which they are ready to ultimately pay for or review.
Image illustraion on how to use Google Keyword Planner to start a pay per click campaign on Google's Paid Search.
The main thing you will be targeting will be keywords for both the paid and organic search result with the use of different type of keywords, you can read on How To Do SEO Keyword Research this will help you have a better insight on how to target the right keywords for your business while Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign Tips and Tricks will let you understand the concept of placing pay per clicks.
Search engine marketing can also be a way to measure your online reputation via online review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Tripadvisor, insiderpage, Yahoo local and Google local just to mention a few.
Why would you look at this? simple, this review sites are measured by what other consumers have experienced from your service and if your service is registered on such platforms...this review sites easily get indexed on search engines and they are one of the signals that makeup buying decisions for consumers. If your business have a bad review online search engines are sure to snuff it out, especially for keywords like "reviews" "rip offs" or "scam" which are negative to a business online reputation.
Search engines can also be used to study trending searched keywords, this can be a guideline to assist users on how trending a keyword is, ie if the keyword is get more popular or it's search volume is declining, such can be seen on your Yahoo page with Trending searches, Google also provide same facility. There is a difference in the two trending facility provided by search engines and social media, so they should not be mixed, one targets keyword popularity in terms of search volume across geo-locations while the other stream lines real time conversation about a keyword or hashtag across geo-locations.
Conclusive Round Up
You have read this two online marketing tools and you definitely know your business the most, it is then left to you to consider which is more effective to you, it is best to mix them both as Search engine marketing now evolves around Social media marketing as part of its signals in ranking a site.
Then understanding that both refer two different kind of customers to you, one with the customer searching for you and the other targeting customers for you. They are two different things and you should note that at the back of your mind, so picking which one is better than the other might be a little bit absurd.