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Social Media Or SEO, Which Is More Effective? Find Out What the Experts Say


It’s the big debate, social media or SEO (search engine marketing), which is more effective and which marketing strategy should your company use?

Forrester undertook a study of 4000 companies. It found that only 7% of companies put social media in their top 3 strategies for acquiring new business. So 93% of companies interviewed did not have social media as a strategy for acquiring new business,  to get their phone to ring and to grow their business.

But does that mean that social media isn’t valuable? Not at all. As David Sprague explains in this video interview, we’re still in the beginning phases of trying to understand social media and how best to exploit the enormous reach that social media can give to companies.


Two Local Marketing Experts Discuss The Big Question, Which Is More Effective Social Media Or SEO ?

Social media sites allow businesses to engage with their market but it doesn’t get you found when people are actively looking for your products and services, says Ryan Steinolfson, CEO of Accelerate Marketing. On the other hand search engine marketing, says Ryan allows people to find you when they are looking for you at that moment of pain when they need a solution to their problem, which is when you are most likely to get people picking up the phone to call you.

To really understand the difference you need to understand that there are essentially 2 different psychologies at work with SEO and social media. The big dividing line between the two is that SEO is very much designed for people that don’t know you, don’t like you and don’t trust you and have an immediate need right now that needs to be fulfilled and they don’t know who to turn to.

Social media on the other hand is about engaging with people that already know you, maybe already have an interest in what you are doing. So what you should be trying to do as a company with social media is keep your brand in the mind of your customer as much as possible by adding great posts and information on Facebook, Twitter, etc and provide real added value by rewarding your loyal customers with coupons and special offers, so that the next time they do need or want your product or service, you’re the first company that comes to mind. That’s essentially what social media is about, so don’t expect an avalanche of customers if your main focus is simply social media.

Companies would therefore do well to acquire new customers with SEO, which is designed to find customers when they are at their point of pain and in need of an immediate solution. And once companies have acquired that business, then they should put that customer into your social media marketing or your email marketing campaigns to keep your brand in the forefront of their mind.

This way you have a more holistic approach to how you communicate and engage with your customers. It shouldn’t really be one or the other strategy because both marketing strategies are completely different and achieve very different results.

Think of it this way if someone needs a plumber now, do you really think they’ll be too interested in building a relationship? That person’s only interest will be, is that plumber good, can they fix my problem and are they reasonably priced? Its a completely different mindset to someone who’s on one of the social media platforms.

So its important to understand who you are trying to attract and for what reason. Is it to attract new business or is to be grow your brand recognition? You need to understand that these require 2 very different strategies, which will give you very different results.

Understanding the mindset of your customer is imperative to what strategy you use to attract more business or even to retain and protect what you already have. If you fail to properly understand this then you risk the chance that your whole marketing strategy is out of kilter with what you are trying to achieve.

But even though social media is an important strategy for all business types, it’s also important to bear in mind that not all social media is created equal. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube will appeal to different customers and audiences. So you will need to consider which is best for your type of business and for the resources of time and money you have available.

Facebook for example my not be an ideal platform for a plumber to keep his ideal customers engaged. However, YouTube is probably a better fit since it is a more effective medium in which to address people’s plumbing problems with short “how to” videos and quick fix tips. It also has the advantage that video gets ranked in the search engines which means you could be found by someone who has a problem and is doing a search for a plumber or looking for a solution to a plumbing problem.

So as you can see, its not so much a question of which is more effective social media or SEO, but what you are trying to achieve in your marketing.

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