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Social Media Marketing vs Search Engine Marketing: Which Is Better for You?

When it comes to Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Marketing, there is no hard and fast rule on which is better or which you should prioritize over the other. An argument could be made that the two are not exclusive to one another. That is to say, to have a successful marketing campaign, both Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) should be utilized together.

Companies would be wise to create comprehensive Social Media Marketing strategies to ensure that they reach their audience and connect with them on a regular basis in an authentic way. At the same time, they should also follow SEO best practices, such as carefully choosing keywords for SEM ads and optimizing website content to take advantage of those keywords. Doing so can drive organic Search results to supplement PayPer Click (PPC) results.


When weighing the pros and cons, the biggest advantage of Social Media Marketing over Search Engine Marketing is its cost effectiveness. That is because with SMM you reach your audience organically while with SEM, you pay to reach them via advertising.

With SEM, your audience must actively seek you out based on a search and then choose you over other results. But with SMM, your audience finds you via the recommendations of Friends in the form of Likes and Shares. Such recommendations are very powerful when it comes to purchasing decisions.

Social Media Marketing is an extremely useful tool for businesses seeking to get the word out organically about their brand and products. It is a great way to connect with, interact, and engage customers. The key is finding the right mix of useful, informative content and promotions or offers.

Arriving at the right mix requires an understanding of what comprises engagement on different Social Media platforms.What might be considered effective in terms of engagement on one platform, might be seen as spam on another. For example, if you post too many pictures onPinterest, many users will lose interest and stop following you. However, when you get it right, promoting your brand and its products with SMM is very effective.

One of the downsides of SMM compared to SEM is that it is a reactive and time-consuming method of promotion. Whereas a marketer can build a SEM ad campaign, set a budget, and let it run, SMM requires constant effort to maintain your online presence and a lot of time spent interacting with your audience and engaging them.

The Verdict

Where budget isn’t the primary consideration, the goal should be to strike a balance between Search Engine Marketing and SocialMedia Marketing that ultimately generates leads for your company while also building up your Social Media presence and reputation.

However, if forced to make a choice between SMM or SEM, choose SMM not just because it’s less expensive, but because while customers decide to click on SEM ads in relative isolation, they are more likely to engage, Follow or Like your page in a social environment where they see others doing the same.


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