There’s a trend that has been going on for the last one year. More people are today getting their answers from social media sites; either from a Twitter search, or from a Facebook search than they do from the search engines; something that has made Google very worried and they ought to be. Yahoo is obviously worried too because Facebook just passed them on the website ranking to become the number one. Formerly it was Google, Yahoo then Facebook, but now it is Facebook, Google and then Yahoo. Why do you think this is happening? It’s worth arguing that this is an indication that Facebook, and social media in general has crafted a master plan to take over from the SEMs.
The objectives of a SEM include; increase website traffic, increase lead generation and generate brand awareness. SMM, on the other has a stronghold on generation of brand exposure and increasing traffic subscribers. So which is better; Social Media Marketing or Search Engine Marketing? To answer this question, we must first understand the difference between the two. When people are using a search engine and in particular Google, they are actively searching for a solution to a problem or looking for a specific service. However, when somebody is on a social network, he/she is in the process of discovering, being entertained and connecting with friends, family and businesses.
In terms of advertising to the users on search engines and social media, they both have paid up advertising modules which allow you to target them. So for search engines it’s Google AdWords which controls 90% of the market. For social media it’s Facebook and LinkedIn Ads and they both allow you to start to pay for a click and to start to target the people who run the search engines on social media.
In terms of organic strategies, that is strategies that you invest time and resources in but you don’t pay for a person who visits your site. There is Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and also Organic Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social network. Actually the biggest difference is the fact that with search engines it’s all about becoming number one on Google so that you get that overwhelming traffic – it’s about appearing at the top of the search engine when somebody is searching for what you sell. However with social media, it’s about establishing and growing your fan base and your follower base.
So what’s the difference on how you can convert those users into clients? Now with SEM, which comprises both the PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO, it’s all about Direct Selling. So because somebody is actively searching for something, or clicking your ads, you can take them to a lining page on your website and you can sell them enough so they convert and become customers. With social media, it’s about the relationship. You don’t go into it and go to the sale straight away. You start by building up your fan base and your followers, and then you establish a relationship with them so that when they are ready to buy they think about your company first. Because all of the fantastic information that has been shared with them, they will think like, “Hey! Look; I really like this company”. And because they like you, that gives you such an advantage during the sales process.
Generally, online marketing can then be said to be all about strategy rather than simply comparing SEMs and SMMs. Actually comparing the two is not the best way to look at it, because what you ought to do is to look at the overall strategy of how consumers connect with you online. There are a variety of tactics and strategies which can be used to get your target market to visit your website. There are more strategies that employ a combination of SEM and SMM to send people to your site, connect with them and build a relationship every time.
The real power comes when you can bind the two strategies (SEM and SMM) where you can use SEM to get the target market to visit your website from Google or Yahoo, and use SMM to establish a relationship with those people so that they do buy from you every time. So below is a 6-steps plan that you can use to integrate SEM and SMM to help you deploy and manage both your search engine and social media marketing strategies that will help bring you closer to your business objectives.
SEM Vs SMM – A Complete Comparison
1. Evaluate Your Audience’s Behavior in Both Platforms
You must be able to understand the behavior of your audience in both search engines and social media. This may include what they use in both and what they look for or do in each of the two platforms.
2. Set Your Search and Social Media Targets
Align the behaviors of your target audience to your online marketing objectives. You must spell out clearly what it is that you want to specifically achieve in your search and social media endeavors.
3. Define Your Strategic Advantage
Strategic advantage is the power to act effectively. It can be done by leveraging your digital marketing strategy with your social activities and social assets. Doing this perfectly will improve the organic search performance of your company, product or service.
4. Integrate SEM and SMM
Creating a cross-functional process between search engines and the social media will give you the maximum results possible. Share as much information as possible between the two such as social conversations, search keywords and your target audience behaviors.
5. Set Your Best Practice, Enforce it and Make Sure all Your Team Members Adheres to it
This is the time to pull all your goals, strategies, and findings into the best practice that will guide your online marketing team. Ensure that everyone is well equipped with the necessary requisite knowledge about your objectives and that all the involved stakeholders adhere to such practices.
6. Create a Proper Channel of Communication Between the Search and The Social
Set up communication channels between the SEO and the Social media. The communication should also involve Paid. Sharing information and reviewing reports from each of the team members is necessary and a good practice.