Search or Social Media Marketing – What comes first?

Social Media Marketing and Paid Search are a part of Digital Marketing. There can be a debate of whether social media marketing should come first, paid search or digital marketing as a whole should come first for a brand. This article explores the topic from various perspectives. Let’s have a look at it.

Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Digital Marketing is not limited to social media platforms. As a whole it utilizes SEO, SEM and SMM along with other digital marketing channels to ensure maximum reach. Increasing your organic reach is possible through paid advertising.

For example, Brand X has more followers on Facebook who celebrate their brand, then their organic reach is higher. If most of their potential customers spend more time on Facebook, then digital marketing will work wonders for them. But if a limited number of users are present on Facebook then other digital marketing channels have to be integrated to connect with users who can be acquired through search engines and sponsored ads.

Why Search Marketing?

Search engines are the first point of seeking information for users. A mere mention of your company name somewhere on the search pages is not enough. You need a good visibility in search engines. Paid Search is necessary because it lets you target your customers and be found when users search for you.

"A report by EConsultancy found that 61% of consumers use search engines to help them in product research before making a purchase. This means that if you want to get discovered, you will want to rank well for your target keywords." - Jeff Bullas

Getting to the top of organic search results is not always easy. Sponsored links can help you rank on top of the search results. Paid Search gives you the ability to add action buttons and place selected content the way you want it to be consumed by users.

Role of Social Media Marketing

When we say Social Media Marketing, we think of creating and running active social media pages to engage with users. There can be other marketing objectives to fulfil through social media too. From promoting live videos to live text conversations that create valuable assets for brands, social media is an interactive space.

Most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (69%) and gain marketplace intelligence (68%). - SMM Industry Report 2015, Social Media Examiner

Brownie points for Social Media over Search

Recommendations, likes, tags, mentions, and shares by friends and influencers are followed by most of the social media users. Every action can lead to more reactions that increases brand value and awareness.

Three-quarters (75%) of young people (18-26) use recommendations on social sites to help them research products prior to purchase.  - Econsultancy

Social Media being a two-way communication media let’s you gauge the audience reaction towards your brand. You can reply to your customers in real-time. But, you cannot do much about negative feedback in search engines. You will need an online reputation agency to tackle the negative feedback.

Social Media Marketing can be used to create sponsored ads, promoted tweets, sponsored posts and more to drive traffic to your pages on social media, business websites or landing pages. The added benefit is social media ads can also lead to more followers or likes on your social profile pages. Once you get more followers, you have a greater fan base who are listening to your social conversations.

“Content Doesn’t Win. Optimized Content Wins” – Li Evans, Search Marketing Guru

Why paid search and paid social media marketing are a perfect blend?

Search Engine Optimization helps to find the right keywords for improving organic search engine results. Paid search brings you ahead in search engines when targeted users search for your services. Paid Social Media and Paid search efforts can utilize these keywords, tags and data to enhance the campaigns so as to achieve maximum reach on search engines.

For example, you are a company dealing with ‘nylon threads’. Your SEO keywords can be used to differentiate your product from other types of threads. These shortlisted keywords can be used in content for paid search as well as social media. The integrated strategies ensures better results compared to a focus on just one of your marketing channels.

Improved search engine rankings were most prevalent among those who've been using social media for one year or longer, with 54%+ reporting a rise. - SMM Industry Report 2015, Social Media Examiner

The lessons we have been learning and relearning in marketing all revolve around the fact that the feeling a consumer associates with a brand comes first. The marketing strategy will be devised based on the brand perception. Many brands are active on social media but not all customers are active on social media. Sometimes, purely social media marketing can drive marketing objectives to success and sometimes, you need more than social media to start the conversation. Later, social media can take the conversation ahead and write stories of brand success.

Take a look at your user analytics studying the traffic from various online channels. You will be amazed to find the traffic from both social media and search. If you put your marketing spends in both social media and search, you can benefit from both. In case one of the channels is affected, you still have a percentage of traffic coming from your other channels. The conclusion is simple based on the popular saying, “Do not put all your eggs in one basket.” Be it search or social media, paid advertising has its share of perks for different channels.

At Big Trunk, we recommend a balanced allocation of ad spends in paid search and paid social media based on client’s brand profile and marketing objectives.

Is there a balance in your digital marketing strategy? Are you looking for better ways to spend your online marketing funds?