The Differences Between SEO and Social Media Marketing

Many people use the terms SEO and social media marketing interchangeably. While both deserve space in your digital marketing strategy, the differences and how they affect your marketing merit some discussion. Before we dive into the differences, let’s define what SEO and social media marketing are. 

What is SEO? 

According to Keyword Hero, SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, “is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on search engines.” SEO strengthens the top of the marketing funnel and creates brand awareness.


What is Social Media Marketing?

According to Buffer, social media marketing is the “use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic.” Social media marketing strengthens the middle of the marketing funnel and increases brand engagement. 

However, the level of the marketing funnel isn’t the only difference between SEO and social media marketing. The audiences, topics, formats, and durability all differ.



Just like Orbit Media Studios said, audience is the fundamental difference between the two strategies. SEO audiences are intentionally searching for something and are ready to buy a product or service. We know more about what the audience is thinking and wanting to do and less about who the audience really is.  

On the other hand, audiences on social platforms are just scrolling around. The social media audience is less likely to buy a product or service but is more likely to share it with friends and family. We know more about who this audience is as individuals and less about what they are thinking. 



For SEO, research-based information such as how-to blog posts or frequently asked questions perform better than other topics. Evergreen content (content that remains relevant long term and doesn’t go bad based on a time frame) is great for SEO topics.

Contrarily, social media content is best when it encourages emotions in users. Awe-striking, anger-inducing, or happy-inciting posts tend to do well. We see this when looking at trending topics (topics that experience a surge of popularity on social platforms). 



SEO formatting functions better when the content is longer. The average high-ranking page has word counts around 1500+ words. 

Social media formatting should be visual. Since people are scrolling so quickly, visual elements like videos and images capture their attention faster than long-winded text.  



The durability of success for SEO depends on its key phrases and the overall content of the page. High rankings can last weeks or months long. 

In contrast, social media content can see its success within seconds of posting. Though responses can be brisk, it is important to keep an ongoing effort. 


In general, SEO and social media marketing have many differences. However, they do offer interdependence. For example, high-ranking SEO content is great when you are trying to attract visitors who might follow or like your social media pages. Not to mention, social media profiles tend to rank high when brand names are searched. No matter what, you need great SEO practices and great social media marketing. Knowing all the best practices can get confusing and complicated. Team up with Momentum Consulting by calling Hilary at (662) 416-8674 to discuss what we can do to help your SEO and social media marketing! 




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