For some time now, there have been two major categories of digital marketing tactics: SEO marketing and Social Media Marketing.
Those two have been used as rivals, and probably with good reason, as one seems to be quite the opposite of the other in many ways.
But are they really rivals?
In this article, I aim to showcase the differences between those two marketing tactics, but also, if and how they can be used together, in order to maximize various components such as market penetration, ranking higher on SERPs and, eventually, going viral and maximizing conversion rates.
There is a main, deeply rooted difference between SEO and SMM: SEO “tricks” SERPs into thinking that your page is worth a high ranking. It tries to play by an algorithm’s rules. Eventually, it tries to enable a robot to find value into your page.
SMM is the exact opposite: Social Media Marketing “tricks” people into thinking that your product is worth a high ranking. It tries to play by the audience’s rules. Eventually, it tries to enable a person to find value to your product.
Notice something about these two sentences? I bet the answer is yes. So, SEO and SMM may differ in one key aspect-human interaction, that is-but they can complement each other in most ways, as one’s weakness is the other’s strength.
SEO and SMM have different target audiences, as is perfectly normal. We’re talking about two different tactics, after all. But one can thrive where the other one fails. What do I mean by that?
When you use Social Media Marketing tactics, you need to know your target audience, realize what they’re all about, create your personas and do your research.
Therefore, finding your target audience in Social Media is easy, as SMM is about observing and finding-or even “stealing”-an already existing group of people.
Now, SEO tactics require one simple thing: Predicting needs. Predicting conversations. Finding keywords. By predicting conversations, you’re essentially predicting needs. And by predicting needs, you can always be one step ahead of the competition.
To do that you can use an SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz and/or Nightwatch.
And if you apply that skill of predicting things to your SMM endeavors, it will do wonders for you.
Let’s say that you want to increase brand awareness. Of course, the content you post is of high importance, when it comes to that.
Please go ahead and picked out a picture, a video, an infographic and post it on your Facebook or Instagram page. Make sure that the copy of the post is clever and enticing and the CTA is strong, creates consistency with the brand (much like the rest of the content should do) and followed by the link to your website.
Now, the picture there is for you to draw your audience’s attention, so make it worth their while, relevant to the post and catchy but not too catchy-you don’t want your audience to forget they need to click on your link and visit your website.
This SMM technique sounds like it’s got nothing to do with SEO, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Let me explain why: Reputation is one of the most important things when it comes to SMM. You need high engagement, beautiful and enticing content, a strong brand voice and consistency.
All these elements can help brands with getting customers through social media, thus creating a customer base that will be quite large.
A brand that won’t disappear in the near future is a brand that is searched for on Google.
A brand that is searched for on Google, is a brand that is most likely to rank higher on SERPs, both for the brand’s name, but also for key components that can be used as keywords.
Of course, we all know what ranking in Google due to branded searches and non-branded keywords means: More people will visit your page, see your product, subscribe to your newsletter and end up converting and becoming-hopefully-loyal customers.
Oh, and pay attention to the reviews you get. Reviews and the way you respond to them can influence the way customers perceive your brand. The better you get at it, the more people will be looking for you, the more organic traffic you’ll end up having.
Just check the stats:
This shows the percentage of users who make purchases after being “sold” on something through social media platforms.
Imagine the reviews these people read, the answers they saw each brand give to the community.
And how many times each of them searched for that brand and how much organic traffic this generated.
Below is what users had to say when they were asked what they pay attention to when judging a local business on reviews:
As you see, the average star rating is the first thing users base their thought-and purchase-process on.
Reviews can boost your SEO in many ways, from Google viewing a good review as it would view a good link, to people searching for your business organically.
That one is a tricky one, but well worth the hassle.
So, you’ve got your social media followers, you’ve got your website visitors, you’ve got your traffic, you’ve got your newsletter subscribers, SMM lead to branded searches and branded searches made your SEO fly off the roof!
So, what happens now, that you’d like to take the time and apply SEO principles to your emails?
The first thing to remember is that Google gives high rankings to websites that people don’t bounce back from.
A high ranking is a result of SEO. And your email marketing strategy can help you with that either way.
Imagine creating your email newsletter. Great.
Now, include snippets of your latest post, article or product in your email, including a link where people can find everything mentioned in your email newsletter.
Kind of like that:
Or maybe that:
These are snippets from an email newsletter of a blog. The way the newsletter is made, it’s easy-too easy!-for the reader to click on the link, read the article or watch the video and post the link to social media for more people to see.
These people will be redirected to this website, check it out, sign up to the newsletter, perhaps they’ll share your links on their own social media pages-blogs, even?-and so on and so forth… You get the gist!
Not to mention that your content gets promoted that way without blowing up your marketing budget.
Oh, and there’s another thing. Maybe you should consider adding a “forward to a friend” button and see your campaign get shared around and giving you even more traffic! Many email marketing and automation platforms provide that feature.
For example, Moosend is a great MailChimp alternative, which provides that feature and can help spread the word to all of your subscribers. And their friends. And their friends’ friends.
And that will result in more searches, more shares, higher ranking and so on and so forth. So, email marketing can, as you understand, work in unexpected ways in your favor.
The whole point is that email marketing will help your brand slowly but surely work its way into your target audience’s mind, up to the point where they’ll be trained to expect your email newsletter.
But let’s move on to other exciting ways you can make SEO and Social Media Marketing, the two rivals, work together.
Social Media Marketing requires constant innovation, planning, being one step ahead, content that has consistency and is clever and dynamic… Oh, and its content is not exactly evergreen, like a blog’s would be.
Social media have trends and trends tend to fade over time. This is the main factor that keeps marketers on their toes, as SMM requires innovation, speed, and engagement-lots and lots of engagement!
On the other hand, SEO is in for the long game. It’s more laid-back in a sense, but you’ll need to constantly search for new keywords, new techniques and you’ll need to be able to predict desires.
So, it takes longer to see results from SEO tactics, but it takes more effort to keep up with SMM tactics. You see where the link is, eh?
Use SMM for short-term results, such as gaining impressions and interactions and achieving brand awareness.
And when you manage to figure out your audience’s patterns, you’ll have a clear idea on what to predict and which keywords to use, in order for your SEO tactics to be a success!
Also, don’t forget that there is a correlation between SMM and the dreaded Google algorithm.
Take a look at how Matthew Woodward managed to test the theory and rank higher and higher, using both sides of the marketing coin.
It may seem a bit non-related but bear with me. Influencers are all about SMM, correct? And there’s a lot of them on social media, which gives you a lot more opportunities for your content to be seen by them.
Now, influencers are called that for a reason: They can promote content or products and influence opinions.
And by promoting your website, you’ll get a link of high value that you didn’t have before.
Plus, with all the organic search that will be happening for your brand, if an influencer decides to promote you, Google will definitely find value in ranking you high enough for you to generate more leads and more revenue.
Tools like Pitchbox, Buzzstream and/or NinjaOutreach can help you reach out to those influencers effortlessly.
Maybe Google doesn’t include SMM in its algorithm.
Maybe SMM’s results are nowhere near as effective, long-term, as SEO’s results. But those two can be combined wonderfully, as one has what the other is lacking.
Social media platforms implement images and videos in a way that SEO just can’t, whereas SEO favors long text. And SMM is about knowing the person, while SEO is about predicting the person’s thoughts.
Not using one to cover the other’s weaknesses is like leaving money on the table. Or like ordering the best-cooked steak, but not buying the best bottle of red wine to go with it.
Do you agree? Is there anything you would add?
Feel free to tell me in the comments and, as always, feel free to share the knowledge!
Téa Liarokapi is a Content Writer working for email marketing software Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.