You live in a digital era! And trying to grow your business in a saturated market can be challenging. So, what do you do? Let’s evaluate SEO vs. social media marketing to grow your business.
Which is better, SEO vs. social media marketing?
The answer will depend on you, your goals, your audience, and the level of success you want. In most cases, it’s not one or the other but a combination of the two.
Let’s dive in.
When comparing SEO vs. social media marketing, let’s start at the beginning
SEO is a long-term strategy. As such, it should be part of your overarching business-building and marketing strategy.
The key to building any business is to build a solid foundation first. You don’t decorate a home before it is built. In the same way, you don’t achieve business success long-term without having built a solid foundation.
SEO is part of the foundation of your business. It goes hand in hand with your website and getting found by search engines.
Have you ever been disappointed when someone hired another person because they found them on Google? Did you wonder why they didn’t find you? Chances are, it’s because your SEO strategy isn’t up to speed.
Whether you are hiring someone to build your website or are DIYing your website, SEO must be part of the plan.
The benefits and disadvantages of SEO for business growth
Benefits of SEO
One significant benefit of SEO vs. social media marketing is long-term organic traffic. When you have an SEO strategy, anyone can find you at any time from anywhere. Optimized content can continue to bring traffic to your site for months, and even years
On the contrary, social media marketing content, aka social media posts, is short-term. Most posts are short-lived.
SEO can also help to build trust and credibility. When a website is optimized and appears in top search results, it demonstrates authority. In addition, it shows that the business is reputable in its niche. The best part of building trust and authority with SEO is the opportunity for immediate sales and conversions. In addition, SEO will drive targeted traffic to your website, which can increase the possibility of the visitor becoming a customer.
You most likely will not get immediate sales and conversions on social media. People are distracted on social media and most likely are not on social media with an intent to buy.
It’s important to note, that as great as SEO is for driving organic traffic to your website and increasing the possibility of sales and conversions, it is a long-term strategy. Website optimization and quality content creation are processes that take time. You cannot expect to come on the scene and rank over people that have been optimizing and creating content for years. It may take a few months before you see your rankings improve.
However, when you think of it as long-term gain, it is worth it! Although it takes time upfront, once your website it optimized, people will continuously find you if you stay true to your efforts of website optimization and quality content creation.
Disadvantages of SEO
The only true disadvantage of SEO is the time it takes to optimize your website and create high quality content. However, the content you create for your website can be repurposed for social media marketing. Therefore, high-quality content creation isn’t truly a disadvantage.
SEO can be costly upfront if you hire someone else to do it for you. And if you do it yourself, you must factor in the value of your time. But if you want your website to work for you, it is worth the time investment to optimize with SEO. When more people find you and convert quickly, the ROI is visible. Also important to note is that over time, the cost of SEO decreases.
The benefits and disadvantages of social media marketing
Benefits of social media marketing
In my opinion, the biggest benefits of social media marketing are building relationships and brand awareness. Another benefit is that you can use social media to drive traffic to your website and use it to help grow your email list.
Can social media marketing help grow your business, yes, absolutely. Social media marketing can increase brand visibility and when used consistently can help build trust.
In addition, social media marketing is cost-effective, it takes less time and if done yourself it appears free. I say appears free because if it requires your time, it is ultimately not free. The platforms are free. Graphic creation in apps like Canva can be free if you don’t upgrade to the professional version, but your time is never free.
If you are spending time doing your own social media marketing, you aren’t spending time in other areas of your business that could potentially generate revenue. It’s also important to note that it takes time to generate a following. Social media marketing success, like SEO, is not an overnight success. Don’t kid yourself and think that posting on social media will immediately bring in clients. You have to build credibility and a following before you see conversion.
Disadvantages of social media marketing
I see a few disadvantages to social media marketing.
First, time. It takes time to create graphics, stay up to date with trends and algorithm shifts, engage to grow a following, and create content – even if repurposing from high-quality blog content. The advent of reels and their popularity increased the amount of time you must spend creating content.
Second, risk. You have no control over when the platforms go down or the algorithm shifts. In addition, at any point in time, your account could be hacked, and you could lose all your followers. Then you’d have to rebuild your following, which takes time.
Third, visibility. Yes, I know, brand visibility is a benefit, but because of algorithms, your content is only seen by a very small portion of your follower count.
Fourth, social media platforms are very saturated. You have to post frequently if you want to stay front of mind and stand out. And even with consistency and volume, it is hard for small businesses to stand out above larger businesses and those who’ve been around a while.
Ultimately, the decision between using SEO vs. social media marketing depends on your individual business goals and needs. But in a nutshell, SEO is a stronghold for long-term success and a lifetime of earning potential. Because when you build a foundation, you can adjust to the economy and demands. And it will never be taken away from you.
That is not to say social media marketing is bad, it has its place and can be fun, can help reach a large audience quickly when done right, and provide more personal touch.
But there can be more opportunities for long-term growth with SEO. SEO increases and optimizes online visibility organically.
Although social media marketing can help increase brand recognition, there are risks with it that you don’t have with SEO. Because of algorithms, you have no control over who sees your content or the time your content is visible.
Both SEO and social media marketing require strategy and when used in combination you may have better results overall.
Think of SEO as a long-term growth and visibility strategy and social media marketing as more in-the-moment relationship building for increased visibility.
Investing in SEO for long-term growth, lead generation, and success is a smart decision for your business while investing in social media marketing can also provide benefits.
The choice is yours. But no matter what you choose, realize you have to have a strategic plan to make either work alone or work together effectively. Consistency is key.
If interested in building your business without using social media download this free resource, 10 strategies to help you grow your business without social media.