Some site owners have a hard time understanding that when it comes to social media marketing and SEO, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. In fact, the best online marketing campaigns leverage social media WITH SEO in order to be successful. However, every now and I then I hear a blogger recommending that a company dump all their time/money/energy into social media marketing and forget about SEO. (SEO is dead after all, right?) But forgoing your SEO in favor of social media marketing isn’t the way to go and puts your whole online presence at risk.
Here are 3 reasons why social media marketing can’t replace your SEO:
1. You don’t own your social profiles.
I’ve made the comparison before, but I think it’s important to mention again. Think of Facebook like an apartment complex and your company page is just one of the many apartments within. You may be renting the space, but the real owner is Facebook. If you don’t abide by their terms and conditions (or the lease) they have the right to shut you down. Imagine if you work up one morning to find your Facebook page had been permanently deleted. If your entire online presence is built around your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn profile and nor your company website you are risking losing everything.
You don’t own your Facebook profile, Facebook does. Every link you build to Facebook, every time to direct visitors to check out your Facebook page, Facebook reaps the benefits of your hard work. You social media marketing campaign actually helps Facebook! When you send someone over to your Facebook page, there are a million and one other links, right there on YOUR profile, that can steal your target audience away. You have no control over what ads Facebook shows, so you might end up advertising your competitors! At least on your own site it’s all about your brand and there are less distractions.
2. Social networking sites come and go.
Anyone remember MySpace? For a while that was the hottest, biggest social networking site around. Now it’s just a blip on the social networking scene. Social media marketing is still a relatively young space, and new social networks are popping up every day while older ones reinvent themselves or slowly disappear. You don’t want to risk placing all your online eggs in one basket when the basket might not be there tomorrow. Even Facebook, the 800 pound gorilla of social networking sites, has a lifecycle. Your website is something you own and will be around as long as you want it to be. While social networking sites may come and go, the Internet itself isn’t going anywhere for a long time.
3. People don’t use social sites for search.
In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter are not places of commerce. People don’t head over to Facebook to do serious research/information gathering before making a purchase. Do people reach out to their social networks for opinions and advice? Absolutely! But that is only one component of the whole process. Social media marketing helps gives your brand a voice and allows you to interact with your target audience, but the real meat of your brand and products still lives on your company website. Most people aren’t going to dig through months of status updates to find a single piece of information—they’ll head to the search engines.