When it comes to search engine marketing vs social media marketing, different people have different opinions. Oftentimes, we hear these opinions from people who work in those respective fields. But what’s the difference between SEM or SEO and social media marketing, and why does it matter?
What Is SEO, And What Is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
Search engine marketing is the practice of using the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc.) to generate highly targeted traffic to a website.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and is a specific form of search engine marketing that aims to get websites to the top of a search engine’s organic rankings.
Also included in SEM is PPC, or pay-per-click advertising. PPC (most notably Google Ads) allows businesses to appear on the top of the search results for a given term by simply bidding in an auction to have their ad be shown.
Social media marketing (SMM) instead uses social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others to generate highly targeted traffic to a website.
So if the goal of these forms of marketing is the same, then what’s the difference between search engine marketing and social media marketing?
Difference Between SEO and Social Media Marketing
The obvious difference is that search engine marketing takes place on search engines, and social media marketing on social media. However, there are more differences than that.
Search engines provide traffic that is targeted by intent. More specifically, if a person searches for something and goes to a website after searching for that thing, we know that they’re visiting the website in order to satisfy the reason for the search. For example, if someone searches for “nike air jordans for sale”, it’s likely that they’re looking to buy a pair of Nike Air Jordans. However, if they instead searched “nike air jordans release date”, they’re probably looking to know when the next pair of Jordans will be released.
Social media marketing, however, provides traffic based on what the user interacts with. One big aspect of social media marketing is aiming to go viral, where a piece of content is posted and then shared by people over and over again until it reaches thousands, if not millions, of eyeballs. Social media ads allow businesses to purchase traffic on the platform and target based on interest, content interactions, and demographic data.
SEO or Social Media Marketing: Which Is Better?
The answer depends on your goals. For some businesses, focusing on SEM (SEO and PPC) will be the key to their success. This is because their business depends on people who are looking to solve a problem or fulfill a need at that moment.
Other businesses would benefit more from social media marketing, because they need to reach a certain type of person rather than a person who is looking for them. These kinds of businesses may not have any existing searches, and are instead looking to get as much attention as possible. Your potential reach is greater with social media marketing!
In general, though, search engines provide the most targeted traffic with the highest level of intent, and for that reason, we recommend that most new local businesses start with search engine marketing.
Get Search Engine Optimization in Cumming, GA Today
If you’re looking for search engine optimization in Cumming or anywhere else in the Atlanta area, SEO Guru Atlanta is here to help. We help our local business clients get to page 1 on Google. Schedule a consultation today!