Digital marketing has fast become a favourite among marketers. As it’s gaining more popularity, it’s also taking different forms like SEM, SEO, PPC, and SMM. In this blog post, we’ll be trimming down to only two – search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM).
They are perhaps the most used by marketers, hence their popularity. There are, however, few questions to ask. Are the two related? Do they affect each other? And the most controversial one – which of them is better? This blog post will answer the above questions while looking at their basics, trends as well as benefits.
Are you ready? Let’s begin!
SEO is the activity of driving targeted traffic to your website from search engines. For it to be effective, you need to create quality content, pay attention to relevant keywords, and also incorporate backlinks.
Benefits of SEO
SEO has a lot of unique advantages that other forms of digital marketing don’t quite have. This is no surprise considering that close to 75% of searchers start their searches on Google.
When you also consider that the first five results on Google get 67% of all clicks, then you’ll see why SEO is so important. Let’s take a look at some of its benefits and how they can impact your business.
Valuable website traffic
If you’re able to achieve a high ranking in search engines, then it’s easy for your target audience to find you. Once they search with a keyword that’s relevant to your offering, your website will be the first to show up!
62% of consumers learn more about products and services through search engines. Another 48% go on to visit the websites in search of information about new offerings. The above stats show how powerful search engines can be.
· You spend less with SEO
The only investment you need to make here is to hire an SEO expert to handle the process. Aside from that, it’s all free! You only need hard work, patience, and smartness to rip the benefits. Working with an SEO company is not overly expensive, and it’ll guarantee the best results.
· SEO gets more clicks than some paid advertising
Research shows that the first result for any given search gets an average of 20.5% of the clicks on the page. A lot of people trust and rely on Google’s algorithm, and so prefer it to sponsored or paid content. They also depend on Google to access all kinds of information.
A study revealed that 81% of customers research online before buying an item, be it from a store or online. This shows that you could enjoy more traffic with SEO than paid advertising.
· SEO can help you achieve a good ROI
With the right ranking and keywords, people can see your website no matter their location. This means that you can connect with your target audience from anywhere around the world.
Once a lot of your target market can see your offering, there’s every likelihood that there will be more conversions and patronage. Needless to say, this will take your business to the next level.
Below are some essential SEO trends that you need to pay attention to.
· Understand your audience and their expectations
You must know what your target audience wants or expects to see when they query a word or phrase and then provide it. Make it simple and straightforward, so they don’t look elsewhere. You also need to determine the format they prefer, is it text, images, or video? When you fully understand these, then you can develop a suitable content.
· Quality content is key
Google algorithm has intensified its focus on content quality in its ranking. This means that the sites that have rich content will likely soar in the rankings. You must create content that adds value, either by solving a problem or providing information.
· Link building
Link building involves incorporating links from other websites in your blog or other online content. Search engines use links to crawl the web in search of quality websites and content.
While ranking, they go beyond the content of the pages, they also consider the number of links from external websites, and how credible or reputable those websites are. If a good number of these “high-quality” websites link to you, then you’ll most likely get a high SEO ranking.
For these trusted websites to have linked to you means that you create quality contents. Link building requires consistency, dedication, and patience. It may take some time for you to succeed, but when you do, you’ll surely reap the benefits.
· On-Page Optimization
Keeping your On-Page factors up to speed is very important. The right use of keywords on text, title, and heading tags is something you must be attentive to. Page load speed and easy navigation are equally important. Users are usually not very patient, so any slight delay or difficulty could result in them leaving your site.
· SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to drive website traffic. This traffic then helps to build your brand and boost sales. It involves consistently posting engaging content on your social media profiles, interacting with your followers, and analyzing your results.
A study has shown that 80% of marketers rely on social media to raise brand awareness. The major social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media is a bit informal and flexible, and a lot of people see it as a place to chill and unwind. Most marketers take advantage of this by targeting potential customers in this relaxed mood when they are more likely to have a better response. Below are some other ways that SMM can favour advertisers.
·Direct communication with customers
Feedback is vital in marketing as it helps you to adjust your offer for a better service. Social media doesn’t only give you the opportunity for feedback, but it also makes it immediate. You can have direct interaction with your customers, where they can express their needs.
Interacting with them regularly also helps you to understand their traits and habits. You can then channel your campaigns in that direction.
· You can reach a wider audience
There are billions of people on social media, and that includes your target audience! When you post on social media, your followers can share the content, making sure that it gets to a broader audience. If a lot of people see your product or service, you’ll enjoy more traffic and possible patronage.
· You get to spend less
Unlike traditional advertising, social media makes advertising relatively free. Opening a social media account is free for most of the platforms, and takes little or no effort to do so. All you need to do is to build a strong followership/fan base and watch as your business booms!
· You have a lot of options
There are a lot of social media platforms, and people have different preferences. The more inclined they are to a particular platform, the more active they will be. Here is the good news – you can have an account in all of them! Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, you name it!
This means that you can reach your target audience no matter the platform they are in or more active in. Also, by adding your website links to these platforms, you drive traffic.
Social Media Marketing Trends
Here are some major social media marketing trends to consider
· Live Video Content remains key
Social media is more of images and videos and less of text. Live videos have proven to be effective over time, and it looks likely to continue that way. Most advertisers have used video content to a great effect on social media, and there seems to be a perfect fit. A lot of devices support video format, and many users also seem to be inclined to it.
· Messaging Apps and Chatbots
Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other direct messaging features all create real-time communication between marketers and their customers. Through these avenues, they can deliver good customer service to their customers.
Also, private chats enable marketers to engage their customers and deliver their content on a more personal level.
· Social listening for Lead Generation
This involves monitoring social media sites for information about what customers, competitors, or influencers are saying. With social listening tools, marketers can get a hint of the questions that customers are asking.
You can use that information to develop content that will address those issues. The tools also allow you to identify prospects across social media platforms. Following up on these leads could turn them into eventual customers.
· Ephemeral content engages users
Ephemeral contents are images and short videos that are only available for a limited period. They usually have a high engagement rate and spur users into action due to limited access. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the significant platforms that carry ephemeral content.
Instagram and Facebook “stories” are great examples of this. According to Statista, Instagram stories had about 400 million daily active users in the second quarter of 2018.
· Influencer marketing remains the game-changer on social media
This strategy is by no means a new one, but it remains evergreen. Working with social media influencers is one of the fastest ways to get your product out there. Influencers usually have a large audience/followership on social media.
This means that when they post your content on their profiles, a good number of their followers will also see it. They may start following you or at least visit your website to check out your product or service.
Comparison – Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization
SMM and SEO, how do they compare to each other? Let’s find out…
SMM and SEO are both organic and inbound strategies. They focus on creating attractive and appealing content to attract visitors. Their approach, however, differs slightly. We’ll briefly compare the two to understand better the way they operate.
The social media audience is a bit passive and spontaneous and also less likely to buy. They are more likely to like the post and probably share it, too. But there’s no real commitment.
SEO, they have a specific thing in mind, and so know what they are looking for. They are more likely to take action but may not bother to rebroadcast or share.
Social media marketing thrives in content that appeals to the emotions of the users. Such sensational topics can go viral within a short time and will usually attract a sort of response from the audience. SEO, on the other hand, focuses on research-based and explicit content that provides answers to Google queries.
The passive nature of the social media audience means that visuals and images work best for them. Also, the platform is fast-moving, and so you need content that is punchy and catchy to get their attention. SEO deals more on long detailed text, as the average page that ranks high in Google has 1500+ words.
With Social media marketing, you can achieve instant visibility and traffic. In the case of twitter, you can even trend and make the number one spot. However, it may be short-lived unless you put a consistent and continuous effort. SEO on its part may take time to build rankings, but once it does, there is usually sustainability.
The special relationship
Social media can bring traffic to your website, which helps to boost your SEO ranking. Also, credible brands can become aware of your business through social sharing. SEO, meanwhile ensures that the content is targeted, such that the people that search them are the ones that need them.
Social listening helps marketers to develop tailored content that will rank high on search engines. With this, they will attract valuable visitors that will most likely become customers.
The bottom line…
In terms of independent effectiveness, SEO is more powerful. However, from what we’ve seen above, SMM brings something unique and special, too. So it’s best to use them together.