Social Media, SEO and Online Marketing–What’s the Difference?Hovey
Social media, social networking, social marketing… these terms refer to the use of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. Whether your goal is simple marketing and sales, or to create real relationships with your audience, there is a way to do that and a channel to help you do it.
The basic premise of social media for business marketing is the idea that you’re being social. You know…getting to know people. Networking. Having a bit of fun. All the while building those relationships that might eventually lead to a referral or sale. Social media is not a one-way advertisement for your products or services, but if done properly it can lead to sales.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the use of keywords and tools on your website to help improve your ranking when potential customers are searching for you online. If your website is number 302 when a customer is looking, then chances are you won’t be found. You need to appear on page one. Getting there is harder than it may sound.
Once you have researched your keywords and know which ones you’re going to focus on you will definitely want to use those in your social media efforts as well. Your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles need to include your keywords, as do your blog posts and any online articles you write.
While the term online marketing is often used to encompass EVERYTHING you do online, I tend to think of it as its own category, including article writing (guest blogging or press release sites), banner advertising and pay-per-click advertising. Other people would include website development in this. I guess this term is a little more loosey-goosey, so if you are talking to an online marketing specialist, make sure you know exactly what they are promising to do for you. Some of them may do some social media or SEO work, but others might focus on websites.
Big Agency vs. Solopreneur
There are advantages to working with one of the big agencies in Halifax, of course. Some of them have staff who focus on each of these areas and they can work together to build you a cohesive marketing plan that includes traditional methods as well. The downside to the big agency model is usually price, both of the staff time and the product they want you to implement.
A solopreneur, or smaller agency usually focuses on one or two of these areas and would have to subcontract other parts of the puzzle. The advantage here being lower costs and hopefully a greater level of expertise in their chosen niche. If you only want to focus on social media, for example, I’d be silly not to say I think you should call me over one of the big agencies in town. However, if you’re a bigger company, with a bigger audience and bigger marketing budget, a full-service agency might be a better fit for you. And hey, some of them subcontract niche work out to the solopreneurs like me, so we still might get to work together.
The bottom line is, like anything else, you have to decide what is going to be the best fit for your business model. If you’re looking for help in any of these areas I highly recommend you check the agency’s website, portfolio, client testimonials and so on. Ask yourself a few questions, knowing that some of the answers might only come after a face-to-face meeting with the agency.
- Are the projects they have completed a similar size and scope to yours?
- Are their clients on the same level as you?
- Do you even like what you see?
- Does their style fit with you?
What’s your preference, full-service agency or niche solopreneur?
Anita Kirkbride is the Head Twirp at Twirp Communications in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We provide social media training, workshops and management for small businesses and charities. Our specialty is women-focused organizations and women-owned businesses. If you need strategic advice, personalized training or someone to “just do it” for you, there’s a Twirp for that.