Dec 21, 2023

SEO vs Social Media Marketing: What Are The Main Differences

SEO vs Social Media Marketing: What Are The Main Differences
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Social media and search engine optimization are among the fundamental digital marketing channels for businesses to advertise.

Each has its pros and cons, but they both aim to promote your products or services, help audiences discover, connect, and interact with your band, and eventually drive profit.

However, there are many instances where businesses must limit advertising due to a lack of resources.

So, if you need to choose between SEO or social media marketing, which one would it be?

Read on for more insight that will help you make an informed decision.

What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving your website in different ways to increase its overall visibility in search engines.

SEO boosts your rankings for searches related to your products, services, or content. It also helps attract more traffic to your website, resulting in lead generation, conversions, and revenue.

In a few words, the goal of SEO is to attract website visitors who will eventually become customers or an audience that keeps coming back.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing (SMM) is an internet marketing technique that uses various social media platforms as a marketing tool.

SMM helps businesses build a brand, increase brand awareness and sales, build an online community, encourage interactions, and drive traffic to their website. They can make an impact in all stages of your sales funnel.

Both social media and SEO seem like ideal advertizing. So what's the difference?

SEO vs. Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference?

SMBs and startups with a limited budget for advertising should consider which option would best fit their needs or how they can combine both to achieve the desired results within their budget.

Read on for some more insight.

Pros And Cons Of Social Media Marketing

It’s common for businesses that are just starting their digital marketing ventures to set up their social media accounts and get right on with posts and ads in the hope of easy, fast, and cost-effective marketing - that will soon translate into profit.

Indeed, social media marketing is a popular way to increase your brand awareness, along with other benefits.

Here’s a short list:

The Advantages Of A Social Media Marketing Plan

Social media marketing can benefit your business in various ways:

Boosts Your Brand Name

This is probably the key advantage of social media marketing. Social channels make perfect tools for inbound marketing.

Triggers Emotional Responses

SMM is an excellent means for “emotional advertising,” mainly because of its multifarious content.

Spreads Your Message

The more your content is tailored to your audience, the easier it spreads. A well-planned post can make people share it to the extent that it becomes viral and eventually reaches a wide number of future customers.

Tracks People’s Reactions

With social media analytics, it’s easy to track engagement levels and types of engagement, such as likes, shares, and comments.

You also have access to valuable data for your future marketing efforts that you can also use in your overall SCO marketing (Social Channel Optimization marketing).

Reach Your Target Audience

Social media helps your message get in front of the right people. It allows you to target your audience based on interests, preferences, demographics, etc.

What’s more, social platforms incorporate purpose-built data analytics so that you can easily track success, make data-driven decisions, and find new ways to engage with your audience more efficiently.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Social Media In Business?

As with all promotional activities, social media marketing has its own drawbacks.

High Ad Cost

Depending on the type of business and the social platform, social advertising can be quite expensive.

In e-commerce, for example, product ads face enormous competition, that considerably raises the cost per ad.

Plus, social shopping is rapidly evolving. New virtual shopping experiences spring up every so often. Changes in the in-app purchase environment take place every few months.

As a result, e-commerce merchants and their account managers need to remain alert and up-to-date to stay on top of the competition.

Other industries face different challenges when it comes to social advertising.

B2B organizations, for instance, that decide to advertise on LinkedIn deal with high costs and low CTR. And the list goes on.

Ephemeral Content

So, you have made a great post and created a mini-viral wave of shares, comments, and new followers.

But, this is a short-lived glory. Very soon, your posts will get drowned below those of your competitors.

Indeed, social media managers need to deal with short-lived actions. They must constantly analyze statistics, adjust their ads, and discover the next best post.

Staying “on top” in social media is an ongoing effort.

Plus, while engagement metrics are easily tracked, getting a precise overview of your overall performance is rather complicated.

Fewer Sales

Even if you have a large number of followers and post reactions, people are less likely to buy your products or services via a social media channel.

In fact, 41% of US consumers say they are more comfortable purchasing from a brand’s website, compared to 17% who prefer purchases from a brand's social media.

Whether you decide to market your brand on social media or not, if you want to maximize results, you must work on optimizing your website for search engines.

What About SEO Marketing? Pros And Cons

Though it’s often considered a separate process, SEO is a critical part of digital marketing.

Unlike SMM, which involves ongoing processes for ephemeral content, search engine optimization sets solid foundations based on a long-term plan that’s carried out progressively.

Nowadays, most small business owners know that SEO is an indispensable marketing tool. They are typically familiar with the most popular SEO components, like keyword research and high rankings.

But there is much more to SEO to account for successful marketing.

When it comes to search engine optimization, businesses need to cooperate with an SEO agency to get the job done right.

For effective SEO marketing, you need to deal with technical SEO, content creation, off-site SEO, and more.

All in all, if you want to succeed in the search results arena, there are concrete steps you must follow.

Starting Your Website’s SEO

To start with, you should conduct an SEO audit of your website.

But, ideally, you need to begin working on your SEO way before that.

Design An SEO-Friendly Website

Your Applying SEO principles as early as the design stage of your website will help you optimize it for search engines from its core.

Communicating an SEO checklist to your developers will prevent your website from running on technical and structural drawbacks after it’s been published - saving you time and money in the long run.

If you think designing your new website plus incorporating SEO tech specs is too expensive, think twice.

Fixing it all up afterward -to align with Google’s technical standards- will cost even more. Plus, it will take up much more time.

Imagine that your website is not fully optimized for mobile devices. Or that it has slow loading times, with tons of interfering javascript and unnecessary CSS.

For SEO developers to fix such issues while your website is online equals extensive costs and ranking delays.

You see, SEO is all about foundations. This is why it has lasting results.

So, it’s best to get it right from the beginning.

Integrated SEO Approach

According to SEO principles, all main SEO components are equally important. You can’t have a keyword-optimized site that takes ages to load. Similarly, you can’t have the perfect keywords in your texts without backlinks.

Once you have set your SEO fundamentals right, then it’s much easier to boost your pages for targeted keywords in the search engines.

And, provided that you keep monitoring your site while applying small-scale fixes, you are on your way to success.

In fact, by cooperating with a professional SEO agency, you can enjoy lasting results with a cost-effective plan.

Once your website is set up and optimized for search engines, here are some benefits you can reap:

Benefits Of An SEO Strategy

Building an SEO roadmap and following a solid SEO strategy helps your business in different ways.

Improves Discoverability

SEO helps your pages get in front of users with a high purchase intent. Plus, it targets a large variety of topics related to your services or products. In fact, 93% of online experiences start with search engines.

Gives In-Depth Information

Web pages are a source of long-form, in-depth content and offer an all-rounded approach to user questions. Thus, potential customers can get a wealth of information around their main queries and make more informed decisions.

Offers Instant Answers & Solutions

Web searches satisfy spur-of-the-moment queries. So, pages that appear at the top places of search results basically target people who need an immediate answer to their question or an instant solution to their problem.

Produces Lasting Results

Once your web pages achieve high ratings, organic searches can be a constant, passive source of visitors who read or interact with your content in various ways.

Evidently, there are many advantages in search engine optimization. But there are also challenges.

What Are The Challenges With SEO?

Optimizing your website for search engines needs planning, precision, and monitoring. Here are some reasons why.

Results May Take Time

There’s no magic wand that’ll bring your pages to the top of SERPs overnight.

SEOs deal with various complex tasks, like choosing the right keywords and optimizing them in such a way that amplifies chances for high rankings.

SEO is an ongoing process, and pages that rank should be monitored and optimized on an ongoing basis to maintain top places.

Your Competition Is Also Optimizing

In SEO, you compete with countless other pages that target similar keywords. Many of your competitors are also working on their SEO simultaneously.

To succeed, you need to conduct a smart and efficient SEO strategy.

Search Algorithms Keep Changing

Search engines, mostly Google, make often updates to their algorithms in an effort to generate more accurate results that will satisfy the ever-changing user needs.

You must adapt to these changes with your website’s content, technical aspects, or both. Otherwise, you may suddenly see your page rankings drop quite fast.

So, finally, in social media marketing vs. search engine marketing, which one is better?

Social Media vs. SEO: Which Is Better?

Even though SEO marketing and SMM work in distinct ways, they actually complement each other. That’s also another thing to consider in your SCO marketing efforts.

For example, the more your brand awareness grows within social media, the more people get to know you. As a result, more people will visit your website and look for you in Google searches.

Sounds like a natural flow, right?

And the list goes on.

Quality Content

When sharing quality content from your pages to your social accounts, you drive more traffic to your website. Plus, social links count as backlinks to your pages. As a result, you strengthen your off-site SEO efforts.

Quality content also gives you privileges over your competitors in your paid SEO ads.

Brand Awareness

Branding in social media offers increased website traffic, enhanced brand credibility, and improved topical authority.

Positive Signals

With positive signals like these, Google rewards you with higher rankings and, thus, more organic traffic.


What’s more, social media helps you build relationships with your audience, which in turn leads to extra visibility that attracts influencers, media, bloggers, and other businesses to mention your brand and link to your website.

The combination of social media marketing and SEO becomes a hub for backlinks, mentions, and reviews. So, your brand name grows. Along with it, your profits.

SEO and social media should work hand in hand. But what if you need to choose just one?

SEO vs. Social Media: Which One Should You Use?

“Search or Social?”

When you are faced with this question and a limited budget, SEO is by far the best choice.

Investing in an effective SEO strategy sets a solid base for your overall online presence and future marketing endeavors on other channels. Plus, by improving your SEO, also SEM that includes PPC ads is far more effective.

In contrast, social media marketing cannot offer reciprocal value to a non-optimized website. Nor do its results last for more than a few hours or days without continuous work.

Starting off with search engine optimization strengthens and complements your overall digital marketing effectively, now and in the long run.

Are You Ready To Take Your SEO To The Next Level?

At Atropos Digital, our premium SEO team helps businesses achieve their visibility targets seamlessly and cost-effectively.

Depending on your needs and budget, we tailor your search engine optimization marketing in ways that offer the utmost results to your business.

Steady, solid, and lasting growth is what we aim for. Our clients enjoy high rankings that last.

You can also hire our whole team and make an SEO department for your organization, remotely dedicated to growing your rankings and, thus, your profit.

Ready to start? Book a strategy call.

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