Let’s pretend that you want your website to perform better, and you have a limited budget for digital marketing. Not pretending? No matter how many resources you have or how great business is, you want to make sure that you get the most for your marketing dollar. For some website owners, planning how to divide up the marketing dollars may come down to one decision: social media vs. SEO.
As I explain in the video below, it doesn’t have to be either/or. An integrated digital marketing plan is always the most effective option.
But when you’re deciding where to put limited resources, you may need to choose which tactic to start with. You might have to decide which tactic to get expert help with and which to try to do in-house. So which tactic should get more resources?
Here are the questions to ask as you’re developing your strategy.
Here are some signs that SEO is working well for you:
- Organic search is your top source of traffic.
- Traffic arriving via organic search is increasing steadily.
- Google Search Console data shows that you’re ranking for important keywords (not just when you look on your own computer).
- People talk about your website, mentioning recent blog posts they’ve read.
- Your website generates leads, brings you new patients, or shows increasing sales.
Here are some signs that social media is working for you:
- Social media is sending traffic to your website.
- Social media traffic is converting — that is, people who come to your site via social media are requesting appointments, shopping, or downloading premium content.
- Your followers are increasing organically (don’t count swaps or follows from ads).
- Patients mention your social media posts.
- You’re getting great reviews and check-ins at social media platforms.
What needs work?
If either social media or SEO is showing good results, great. You should continue directing resources toward those channels. But what if you see that you’re not getting much traction?
Look at return on investment.
Say you post once every couple of months at Facebook and an intern did some Instagram posts for you last summer, you did a giveaway that got you a bunch of Likes at one point, and social media doesn’t seem to be sending you converting traffic. That doesn’t mean social media isn’t right for you. It means that you haven’t made a strategic effort yet.
If you’re putting in lots of time and money on creating great images for social media, posting several times a day, and seeing no results, social media might not be the best tactic for you.
Equally, if your website isn’t showing up well in search and you aren’t ready to make the investment you’d have to in order to do well with your main keywords, that doesn’t mean that SEO doesn’t work. But it could mean that SEO won’t work for you. There’s no magic SEO dust you can pick up at Walgreen’s and sprinkle on your website. Often you have to make real changes to meet your SEO goals.
SEO vs. Social Media
If you’ve tried both and can’t pick between the two — or if you haven’t really tried either one yet — you might still have trouble choosing.
If that’s the case, go with SEO first. Here’s why:
- SEO includes blogging and updating your site content, upgrading your website if it really needs to be updated, and linkbuilding. This kind of work gives you results for a longer period of time.
- Not surprisingly, SEO also has a higher return on investment over time.
- Work on your own website belongs to you. Social media belongs to the social media platform. They can change their rules, go out of business, or just become less popular, and all the work you’ve done there is lost.
But social media can be valuable. As I explain in the video above, it also integrates well with SEO. Consider having Haden Interactive put together a Social Media Strategy for your in-house team. That way, you can get social media benefits without the expense of outsourcing.
Before you decide, though, contact me and let’s talk about your needs. You might be surprised to learn how affordable digital marketing can be compared to legacy marketing methods. Maybe you don’t have to choose.