Search Engine Marketing vs Social Media Marketing – What’s the Difference?

Search Engine Marketing vs Social Media Marketing – What’s the Difference?

It seems that in the modern marketing and SEO world there is no limit to acronyms and backronyms!

People love to come up with new terms and phrases for functions, tricks, and processes. Marketers are notorious for this. When it comes down to knowing your world and your job though, you might struggle if you don’t know these two!

What are we talking about? Search Engine Marketing vs Social Media Marketing.

Two very core terms when it comes to digital marketing.

We’ll also do a brief rundown of SEO and its place within the SEM and SMM processes.

In the beginning days, I thought these two were one and the same, how wrong I was!

So let’s get the full rundown on what these two very important terms are and how they’re different yet work together to provide fantastic results for brands and websites.

But why are search rankings all that important anyway?

A fair question. A lot of people misunderstand or plain underestimate the importance of page-one rankings and their ability to drive traffic, profits, and brand influence.

Basically, the closer your rankings get to the top of the search engines like Google the more you’re likely to get visitors to your website.

More visitors mean you’re more likely to convert those into purchasers or repeat business.

This is where SEO, SEM, and SMM come in. Without further ado let’s define the three and learn their place in marketing.

We’ll start with SEO to set the scene. All of these are interlinked.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

The big one. You might be interested in learning about this one if you’re on Over The Top!

Search engine optimization is the intricate and delicate process of increasing the visibility of your website through the manipulation of search engine algorithms and bots.

The important distinction to keep in mind as you read this article is that SEO works to increase visibility through unpaid advertising forms.

This means that while you might pay for SEO services for your website, the techniques those specialists will use aren’t directly paid for. They’re clever tactics like link building, keyword densities, and website structure and layout techniques.

A higher SEO ranking can be achieved through methods such as editing the site content using HTML or other coding languages to increase the number and importance of specific campaign keywords and to break down barriers to indexing by search engines.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

SEM is the process of increasing your website’s visibility to potential customers and clients by paying for different methods of advertising.

SEM naturally refers to the internet marketing section that works with the promotion of websites and pages through search engines, as the name implies.

The goal of all businesses is to see their sites on the first page of any search results out there in order to increase their audience.

There are some key methods to SEM such as PPC (paid per click). These involve paying search engines such as Google for advertising space.

SEM is oriented around the advertising campaign. Before any money is put down, a marketer planning a campaign will use various tools to analyze the frequency of certain keywords and searches related to their product.

This will be tied into their SEO plans and money will be put down for a certain number of advertisements to appear when users search for a specific phrase or keyword.

SEM and PPC are all about maximizing profit through increasing conversions (clicks from PPC that result in a purchase) compared to expenditure.

Depending on the product using SEM and techniques such as PPC can be expensive but the potential for instant profit is there – as we all know SEO success doesn’t happen overnight.

The benefit of SEM is that you can see immediate results after putting money down for your campaigns.

SMM – Social Media Marketing

So let’s talk about SMM and what this means for marketers.

Social Media Marketing – exactly what it says on the tin.

This form of marketing uses various social media platforms as its main tool.

This form of marketing has skyrocketed in popularity following the proliferation of different social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Facebook has also continued to rise in importance for SMM since its changes to advertisements, groups and paid promoted story posts.

A key component of SMM is called SMO – social media optimization. SMO can be done through two key methods. You can either add links to different social media pages and sites in your content such as by using an RSS feed or share buttons.

You can alternatively promote the activity of your social media sites by engaging socially with customers and users through updating statuses and posting new tweets and blog posts.

A real benefit of SMM is that it keeps a company’s finger on the pulse of its customers and their opinions.

We’ve all heard horror stories of companies that are awfully out of touch with their clients and user base. This leads to poorly targeted ad campaigns and possible damage to the brand.

SMM is critical in the modern world as more and more discussion and marketing are pushed through an ever-increasing number of social media channels.

Another critical part of SMM is the use of notable figures and celebrities. We’ve all subscribed to our favorite celebrities on platforms like Instagram, whether it’s an inspirational footballer or a Hollywood celebrity.

What many don’t realize is that SMM is used very cleverly with these celebrities through product placement and sponsorship.

All together now

It’s easy to see how these separate functions of marketing come together.

While SEO is powerful in itself it’s the varied team that combines specialties within SEM and SMM which will see incredible results.

As mentioned above, the beauty of combining SEO with SEM and SMM is that you have a combination of immediate results and conversions combined with long-term results.

Magic can happen when you convert PPC customers into long-term brand advocates through a vibrant and engaging social media scene that they can tap into after making their purchase.

Guiding natural SEO with this organic page ranking is an all-encompassing way of running a campaign and is an exciting prospect should all the bases be covered.

As with all things business, it will come down to your resources and immediate priorities as to your decision of which channel of marketing to pursue first.

Have a budget? Start with PPC and kick off your SEO behind the scenes with an eye for long-term growth.

Limited on a budget but have time to spare? Get deep into your SEO work and wait patiently as the ranks start to increase and natural traffic comes through. It’s all about balance.

As if you needed more to stuff into your head!