Key differences between Social Media and Search Engine Marketing
Both are inbound marketing tactics to drive traffic to the website, but their behaviors are vastly different. In this article, we will discuss the fundamental differences of these traffic sources and how and when to use each of the marketing tactics to maximize your website goal.
Let us first reflect on our own behavior when we are using Social Media vs. Search Engine. With Social Media, our hand is on the mouse and we are clicking away on friends’ profiles, or watching videos or scrolling down to read the latest tweets and news feeds etc. On the other hand, when we are using search engine, our fingers are on the keyboard and we are typing to search for things that interest us, from seeking answers to finding product or services. One is a laid-back mindset to unwind from our busy lives (Social Media) and the other is part of our busy lives (Search Engine). With social media, it is easy to tell who the audience is, but hard to determine what they are thinking. With Search Engine, it is hard to tell who they are, but easy to determine what they are thinking. With these fundamental differences, our message and creatives need to be optimized for the right mindset to influence the appropriate response. In the end, both tactics are effective in achieving their desired goals and should be incorporated in most digital marketing campaigns.
Given the social media behaviour, the content has to inspire emotions that would drive sharing of your message. The message is usually short-lived but has a higher chance of spreading and going viral. With no upper limit in going viral, awareness can be maximized with least $ spent. Awareness will dependent primarily on the strength and targeting of the content. The targeting should be based on who they are (demographic and psychographic targeting) and the message should be surrounded with visuals (images/videos/ interactive quizzes etc.). While it is true that social media traffic is less likely to convert on your website, but it is a very effective first-touch point towards the customer’s consideration of what you are selling. In addition, your fans will become your brand ambassador in influencing their family and friends to consider your product or service, which has a higher chance of converting then you trying to convince them directly. Typically, this channel doesn’t cost much per visit, but due to lower conversion rate, cost of acquisition is typically higher than paid search channel (Read more about how we should use cost per acquisition instead of cost per click to maximize sales). In the end, the objective of social media campaigns should be to raise awareness rather than increasing sales. Raising awareness should be budgeted in your overall digital marketing strategy.
Search Engine audience are typically seeking detailed information and are researching you against your competitors for the products and services that you are selling. Given this behaviour, you should have landing pages that provide as much detailed information as possible with the goal of maximum time on site and high engagement with your call to action (CTAs). Google usually ranks the landing pages with 1500+ words higher than those with shorter articles. You should highlight the things that differentiate you against your competitors and make a case for why they should pick you against the competition. Have CTAs in multiple location because they can take action without having to read all the details. If you are bidding on targeted keywords, expect to pay a lot more per click than social media, but also expect this traffic to convert at a much higher rate than social media. This makes the cost of acquisition lower than social media (on average). Another advantage of search engine is that the success can last much longer because your landing pages will generate long-term organic traffic.
Interdependence between Social Media and Search Engine
While the strategies for promotion are different in each of the channels, but their interdependence is very important to keep in mind over the longer-term. High quality content targeted towards search engine traffic will also improve your social media presence if you include social media plugins in each of your articles. On the other hand, the social media traffic sharing your content with their family and friends will improve your SEO position which will bring in more and more search engine traffic.
If is a good practice to focus on both these tactics and use the appropriate metrics to keep track of the successes of each. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. We would love to look at your niche and provide recommendations.