The Battle Between SMM vs SEO: Which One Wins?
The answer to this question probably depends on another question: how people are most likely to look for what you sell?
If you offer a repair service, whether it’s for cars, domestic appliances, your in-house network or the fabric of your office building, chances are people will use a search engine to look for you. However popular you may be on Facebook or LinkedIn, search will be the immediate way people try to find you. Social media followers can be anywhere in the world but the business or person who needs you as a supplier is going to be very local. Your tweets may be so amusing that people a continent away retweet them to all their followers – but they are not going to invite you to get on an airplane to sort out their leaking basement.
If, though, you are a consultant who is as likely to be asked to work in the opposite hemisphere as for the company in the next street, your LinkedIn and Facebook pages may get you so much business you hardly need to work on your website at all.
And then there’s the question of how you would sell things that no one is ever going to search for? For example, perhaps a line of funky jewelry modelled on the faces of people’s pet cats. Or dogs, of course, since the world is split between dog lovers and cat lovers – and you certainly don’t want to exclude half of your potential market.
But just how likely is it that someone will fire up a search engine and type “Jewelry showing pictures of my pet”?
Input that query into both Google and Facebook and you’ll find several million relevant sites in less than a second. Facebook came up with none. What this demonstrates is the importance of doing some research BEFORE you decide whether SEO or SMM is better.
Once you’re armed with this information, you’ll then need to define who your buyers are, where they can be found and what keywords will attract them. After all, keywords are important whichever way you go because SEO and SMM both rely on them.
Here’s a different spin on the SEO/SMM debate. Research by Econsultancy found that “People over the age of 38 are significantly less likely to use social networks to pursue product information or seek recommendations” but that 75 percent of people in the 18 to 26 age group use recommendations on social sites in product research before making a purchase. So maybe the deciding factor isn’t what you sell, but the age of the people most likely to buy it.
Which leads us to the online marketer’s most trusted tool: A/B testing. You can’t choose SEO over SMM or SMM over SEO until you’ve tested both and established which works best for you.
To help guide you along, here’s a brief summary of the likely appeal of each:
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