Social Media vs Traditional SEO – Which is Best For Business?

This is a guest post by Adam Green

For any small business, marketing is often a big challenge, particularly online where you are effectively competing with every other business in your niche, possibly even businesses from across the globe. 

social media management services

The question always remains: Which marketing channel should you invest in?

Two of the most popular options right now are SEO and Social Media, so let’s weigh them up and see which option makes most sense for you!

Note To Reader:
Yes social media is a large part of SEO anyway these days, but there is a difference between using social media to support your SEO and focusing entirely on social media for traffic.

Time Taken To ROI

SEO is a long term strategy, that much is understood, and if you are investing in SEO it is important that you understand that getting strong results can take time. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a few promising results in the first couple of months of course, but the big wins come later.

Social media can also take time, but if you have the right service and you get traction, social marketing gives you the opportunity to get results much faster than with traditional SEO. It very much depends on taking the right approach though.

Traffic Quality

It has often been said of social media that the quality of the traffic is lower, and in many niches this is true. It makes sense really, because the traffic you get from SEO is direct from search engines.

Put another way, which visitor would you rather have?

  • Someone who has just searched Google for the exact service you offer
  • Someone who saw your link posted by a friend on the Facebook feed

This isn’t always an easy decision though. In one case you have a visitor who has clearly displayed a desire to buy what you are selling, in the other we have a visitor who has effectively been recommended to you by a friend.

In the case of social traffic you may be getting a lot of irrelevant traffic, but those visitors who do have an interest in what you sell may convert better due to the social proof aspect.

How Important Is Social Proof?
This depends on what you are selling (whether that be a product or a service), some purchases benefit from recommendations more than others. For instance, you might take a friend’s recommendation for a DVD or an accountant, but you will probably make your own decision when buying clothes.

Are People Looking For You?

Another part of the equation is whether or not people are actually going to search for what you are offering. Some types of service are well known, whilst others may have a large potential customer base who simply don’t know to look for it.

If your service is something that people will search quite specifically for, then SEO will have a lot of potential for you. Let’s say you offer a book keeping service for instance, people will probably search for things like:

  • “book keeping” + your area
  • “accounting” + your area
  • Etc…

These people know what they want and using SEO you can make sure that they find your website when looking for it. But what if you sell something like a business marketing dashboard solution?

In this instance, some of your potential customers might be searching for you, but many others won’t even know that such a thing exists or how it could help them.

This might be the type of service that is better suited to a social media focused marketing campaign, where users can pass on the message by word of mouth. If you can get the right power users excited about your services, a mention in the right place can lead to lots of new custom, and letting the business spread this way can be very effective.

Putting All Of Your Eggs In One Basket

So hopefully you have recognised some traits of your own business and now have an idea of whether social media or SEO will work for you. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to pick one or the other.

If you can make a decision regarding which channel to focus on, you can still use both channels (as well as other channels) to reinforce your marketing efforts. The best advice is to always track your progress and learn what works as you go along.

If you see a lot of customers coming from one source or one channel, try to learn what you did right and replicate that effort elsewhere. 



adam greenThis guest post was written by Adam Green from Digivate – the digital marketing agency. We specialize in inbound marketing for small businesses. Thanks for reading my post.


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