Photo courtesy of MDG Advertising: Social Media V. Search Engine Marketing

What you need: Lead generation.

What it is: Stirring up interest in your products and services and satisfying customer inquiries.

What works best: Search marketing trumps social media when it comes to lead generation.

Why?: If a customer is actively looking for a product or service, he or she is much more likely to search for it in a search engine, than to hang out on a social media site. The goal of the company is to use the customer’s search to guide them to your company website. SEO is much more effective in directing a keyword search to your website than a search on a social media site.



What you need: Brand Awareness

What it is: Ensuring potential customers are exposed to your brand, and are aware of your services.

What works best: Social media is the way to go for brand awareness

Why?: Social media creates a top-down effect for brand awareness. Seeing a company page on Facebook, for example, allows a customer to become familiar with your brand first, which may increase website traffic later. SEO has the opposite effect on brand awareness. A search for your site will give your company increased traffic at the start of a customer’s journey, leaving brand awareness for after he or she has visited your website and discovered your services.


What you need: Local Business Visibility

What it is: Your ability as a local business to stand out online among other, similar local businesses.

What works best: Search is largely favoured over social media sites for local business visibility. In fact, according to a PEW Internet and American Life survey, 38% of customers rely on search engines to find restaurants, bars and clubs, with only 3% relying on social media sites. Similarly, when searching for other businesses, 36% used search engines, with a paltry 1% relying on social media sites.

Why?: Social media is difficult to navigate when it comes to local searches. Attempting to find a local restaurant using Facebook is exceedingly difficult, especially when you are searching by cuisine and not restaurant name. Search engines, though, will often take your location into account when you are searching for a specific product or service in your area. SEO allows a customer to use keywords to search for local businesses in a way that social media is unable to do.


What you need: Interactions with Clients

What it is: It is no longer enough to provide a service to a customer and hope they come back to your business. Building a client base of loyal customers reaches far beyond a one-time transaction. Interacting with clients, listening to their concerns, and acting on their complaints are all necessary to provide a pleasant customer service experience in the digital age.

What works best: Social Media wins out. According to a survey by Chief Marketer of 600 marketers, 65% of taking the social media route when interacting with customers.

Why?: Social media is designed for conversation. Comments, retweets, replies, and shares will all help your company stay connected with what your customers want, what they like, and what you need to change in order to keep them coming back.


The lesson: Social Media and Search are not at odds. Lead generation, brand awareness, visibility, and interactivity are all indispensable to your company’s success. Search and Social Media serve different purposes when it comes to making your online presence known. Your efforts should not be concentrated on one, but a combination of the two methods. Ensure your social media pages are easily found by a search for your company, and that your social media pages can direct people to your website.

Katie Lee