Social Media vs. SEM – Tentative Partners or Total Opposites?
At first glance, social media and search engine marketing (SEM) don’t seem to have much in common except the internet!
This lack of an immediate obvious connection can be misleading; these two things have quite a bit in common because they are connected by SEO and covered by the umbrella of internet marketing. Both social media and SEM work to promote your brand and put it in front of a large and diverse audience, they simply work in different ways.
See the connections:
- Learn: SEO Lingo Defined - by Sujan Patel
- The Ultimate Glossary: 120 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained – by Kipp Bodnar
- Search Engine Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: The Showdown – by Kristi Hines
Click on this image for a larger version! — Thanks to MDGadvertising for the graphic and video in this post!
What is Social Media & Why is it Important?
Social media has a variety of definitions, each depending on who you ask.
In simplest terms, social media is any interactive platform such as a website or forum, where individuals can forge connections, become communities, and use these communities and connections to share user-generated content amongst themselves.
Social media is important because people place a lot of value on the opinions of those they are connected to.
Connections such as friendships and family / romantic relationships are given the most value and the opinions of these people have the most weight when someone is making a decision about something. Social media also has the benefit of connecting people and businesses in real-time; businesses can send out messages, receive feedback, and respond within minutes of receiving a message from a customer.
What is SEM & Why is it Important?
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the overall strategy that is used to promote a website.
Matthew Capala has created a definition of SEM for himself that really captures what SEM is all about – “Search Engine Marketing is a marketing function responsible for delivering relevant message[s] at the precise point in time when your customers are actively looking for your product/service on Search Engines.”
SEM is important because a vast majority of people still use search engines to search for information online.
There are a variety of things that come together to form a search engine marketing strategy including things like SEO for organic search results and PPC (Pay-per-click) / other paid advertisement opportunities.
How can Social Media & SEM Work Together?
In a nutshell, social media is the validation of information gathered from search results that have been influenced by SEM.
In this system, each of these things is not nearly as effective without the other and they form a kind of symbiotic relationship.
Essentially, social media can exist without SEM, and SEM can exist without social media and each of them will function just fine. It is when they come together that people really get the most benefit from them; social media and SEM also receive a few fringe benefits including increased relevance to everyday life, more traffic, and an increased awareness and exploration of their various uses.
Video: Social vs Search Smackdown: A Battle of Internet Marketing Titans
Many people recommend making use of social media and SEM together because it makes sense to distribute your efforts rather than put all of your eggs in one basket.
What do you think?