The increase in social has certainly made marketers step up and realize that they need to change their tactics in order to tap into their target audience; but has it replaced search marketing altogether?
Having an online presence and digital footprint is vital in 2013 – but the properties of search marketing still hold some value over social marketing. But which works best? There isn’t really a competition; you need both in order to reach maximum potential.
At the end of the day, the aim of your marketing efforts is to generate new business leads; to generate a ROI. Many believe that search marketing beats social on this one; but I am not so sure. On The Map is a great platform to connect with potential clients and let them see your products and services in a soft-sell approach. We have started doing this for a number of clients, and it’s working really well. Sometimes the target audience prefers to be approached in a personal manner rather than being faced with a corporate website.
The benefit of social media is that it allows your customer to see a more personal side to the company. As well as being readily-available when your customer/target audience has a question or query. By being accessible on the platforms they use will allow you to engage; which in turn will raise your brand awareness. However, it’s still important that your brand is visible if a customer searches for you via the search engines.
If you had asked me a few months ago who the winner here was I probably would have said search. If people want to find a particular business close to them then they are likely to turn to the search engines. However, with the new introduction of Graph Search to Facebook I’m starting to change my mind. It hasn’t been fully introduced yet; but it could definitely be one to watch.
Obviously social will beat search on this point; social media platforms allow you to engage with your customers. You can use Facebook to interact via competitions, twitter to interact with conversations and Pinterest allows you to add a completely visual side to your marketing (and customers love visuals!).
The best idea is to use a mixture of both. With Google’s algorithms constantly changing, and starting to include social influences, it’s vitally important that social marketing is part of your integrated strategy. Doing both by having listed in a business directory will do the trick. However, don’t push search to the side – it’s important too! SEO efforts will continue to decide where your website will rank on the search engines, and customers are still using search engines to source services and products!