When it comes to digital marketing, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from to drive sales. There’s paid advertising on engines like Google, there’s paid advertising on social media sites, there are ways to drive organic traffic through your website, and there are equally as many ways to drive engagement through social media. With all the options, it’s tough to figure out which methods might be right for your company, and how much time and money to invest in each.
For this blog post, we’re going to focus primarily on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing), the two free ways to drive traffic and boost sales. We get the most questions about these two digital marketing methods, likely because they’re the cheapest ways to get eyes on your site, and they’re the two methods that are the most proven.
Most often, people want to know which method is right for them: SEO or SMM. And it makes sense. You don’t want to spend time or money on a digital marketing method that won’t produce the best ROI for your company. But unfortunately, a solution isn’t as easy as picking one or the other. No matter what it is you’re selling, a quality digital marketing strategy makes use of both SEO and SMM strategies. Think of it like this:
SEO is the bones of your operation. First and foremost, you’re catering to the robots that run the Google algorithm, because without their favor, your site will never see the light of day.
SMM is the skin, hair, and makeup. It’s what gives your company a personality, and it’s ultimately what attracts actual people to your website when they trust you as an authority in your industry.
Unfortunately, one can’t exist without the other. If you think about it, when you offer deck repairs and someone types in “deck repair near me” into Google, it’s quality SEO that’s going to make sure your website pops up on the first page of search results. But if you’re looking to get the word out about your deck repair company, social media marketing is what is going to build your following, and let people know that you exist in the first place, before they even head to Google.
So, it’s important to remember that the question isn’t “which one should I use”, but “how should I combine my SEO and SMM efforts to produce the greatest results for me?”
And that question isn’t as easily answered.
Getting Started with SEO
If you’re just starting out, we always recommend you focus on basic SEO. Make sure your site is at least visible to Google, because if Google can’t see your site, no one can see your site. For more info on SEO basics, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing. Again, SEO is the bones of your operation, and you need to have quality SEO to have a foundation where you can drive your social media marketing finds. Make sure your website is functional and up-to-date. It should be responsive and user friendly, so people who make it to your site don’t just bounce right off.
Then focus on creating content that will help you rank for a number of keywords important to you company. Again, you have to rank for people to see your site. Social media marketing is an awesome way to raise awareness about your company, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t contribute to positive rankings in any way, and it doesn’t typically get more eyes on your site. SEO typically draws fewer people in, but it’s more effective at converting the people who do make it to your site to customers. So developing SEO content means developing content that solves pain points, and targets keywords. With a base of quality content like this, you can begin to start SMM.
Adding in Quality SMM
Remember that SMM doesn’t mean just creating a Facebook page. Facebook is a graveyard of well-intentioned business pages that no one ever posted to. Just because you have a Facebook page doesn’t mean you’re going to get followers. SMM means creating a Facebook page, and creating community around that. Focus on generating content that makes people want to interact with you, rather than buy something from you. If you build or remodel homes, post pictures of your projects and invite people to comment. If you’re a lawyer, consider posting fun infographics that breakdown complex legal concepts into easy bite-sized pieces of info, and ask for people to tell you if it makes the concept easier for them to understand. Remember that the primary goal of SMM is to create a community, rather than sell things.
SMM is quick and fleeting. Someone sees your social media post on Facebook or Twitter, and they share it or like it. Most often, SMM doesn’t actually send many people to your site. It functions more to create a community around your company, increasing your reach and alerting this online community that you exist. The goal of SMM is to build a presence that can later be harnessed for sales. Search engine optimization has a much more transactional approach of getting eyes on your page. SEO is focused on converting people who do eventually wind up on your site, while SMM works to make sure people know your site and your business exist, even if they don’t go to it.
SEO + SMM = The Ultimate Win
SMM functions as a sort of long game. You’re developing a community around your company’s social media presence, and once that community comes to trust you as an authority in your field, and someone they genuinely enjoy interacting with, they’ll convert to clients when they eventually need your services.
SEO ensures that when there are people who need your services right now, your site is discoverable. A combination of SMM and SEO ensure you’re playing on both fields: the immediate, right now leads, and the long-game: that social media community who will eventually become lifetime clients.
Any quality digital marketing strategy combines both search engine optimization and social media marketing, to ensure you’re catering to both the robots who shape the digital platform your site lives on, and the actual people you need to buy your product and service.
We get that digital marketing strategies are complex, often confusing concepts. If you have more questions on properly harnessing the powers of both SEO and SMM, don’t hesitate to reach out. HA Digital Marketing has been in the game for years now, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how to best combine your search engine optimization with your social media marketing strategies.