Depending on whose opinion you believe, there can only ever be one predominant driver for online business: one pre-eminent technique that will have potential customers flooding to your door. It’s either search or social, and never the twain shall meet. The thing is though, is this really true? Is there only room enough for one technique, or is there sufficient space out there on the internet to use a combination of the two online marketing techniques to help your business grow to its full potential?
So, what’s the point of search engine marketing? The idea behind it is simple enough and built on sound foundations: as a business you want to be found by people who are looking for the type of goods or services you supply, but they are as yet unaware of your presence. Search engine optimisation improves your website so that it gets listed higher in the search engine rankings and therefore is more likely to be noted by these new customers. Search engine advertising puts your advertisements on the page for any search term you’ve bid on.
And what of social media marketing? What’s the point behind that? The purpose of social media marketing is to amplify your online business presence. In other words, to bring you more to the public’s attention by engaging with them directly and conversationally so that you derive better brand-engagement, and more word-of-mouth endorsements. Optimising your social media presence makes it more likely that your brand will be a welcomed member of relevant online community to which you can both contribute and influence conversations. Targeted advertising on the likes of Facebook will let you build brand awareness economically, and sometimes get a response.
Surely though, aren’t these two approaches complementary? Couldn’t they be seen as two sides of the same coin? Well, yes they can. Search engines are placing greater and greater emphasis on what people do and say in the social world. They are all now factoring in ‘likes’ and tweets and +1 endorsements into their search algorithms. Social engagement is playing an increasingly important role in SEO.
In a nutshell search engine marketing will bring in the leads: social media marketing helps to elevate your business brand and makes it friendlier and more approachable. There’s absolutely no reason why the two techniques should compete for primacy. They’re both striving for the same goal, and that is making your business bigger and stronger. Doesn’t it make sense therefore, to use both techniques together? You’ll double your chances of marketing success and, because you’re now that bit more ‘brand-friendly’ you’ll probably finish up being looked upon much more favourably by Google and the other search engines. Job done.