Will SEO or social media will bring you more leads?

Digital360 on 20 June 2017

SEO and social media are both avenues to generate leads for your business. But which one is best? Before deciding, it is important to keep in mind a range of factors, such as your market, objectives, and customer behaviour and preferences.

To help you make a call, we have broken down the pros and cons of using social media and SEO for generating leads.

But first, think about your business.

Whether SEO or social media will generate more (or better) leads will depend a lot on your industry and business. What works for a B2B company in the tech sector may not be the same for a consumer finance company.

Consider your products and services, customer behaviour and business goals, then assess what platform they are best suited to. You might find that your target customers are not heavy users of social media and prefer to deal with their established network of industry connections.

Keep this in mind as you assess the advantages and disadvantages of SEO and social media lead generation.

The advantages of SEO

SEO lead generation is a good way to reach leads who are further down the sales funnel – that is, leads who are almost ready to make an enquiry with your business. With SEO, you can target those who are already in the market for your products or services. They already know what they want – and now they're looking for the right partner or supplier to meet their needs.

The advantage of SEO is that it connects you to leads that are in 'consideration' mode. As an example, think about how you use search in your everyday life. If you need a website developer, you search 'website developer melbourne' or 'the best web developers in melbourne'. As you research related topics, you'll create a shortlist of companies to contact.

Your target customers go through the same process. In fact, some estimates suggest over 80 percent of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase. SEO can help you reach people who are actively looking for products and services at this crucial stage in the sales process.

The disadvantages of SEO

SEO may not be the best way to build customer loyalty or show brand personality. If you sell directly to consumers, you may have made the sale – but have you created a loyal customer? SEO should be combined with a strong sales team and additional marketing tactics, such as email marketing, to ensure you're always building a loyal customer base.

SEO can also take time to experience results. In many cases, it can be months of working with an SEO consultant or SEO agency before your business will rank for targeted keywords. As an alternative, paid search engine marketing can make up the shortfall while your SEO program gains traction.

The advantages of social media

Social media is great for creating awareness around your brand. In this stage, your target customers may not be actively searching for your products. Instead, social media is a platform to build trust with potential partners and showcase your business credentials. This is useful for businesses which have sales cycles that rely on a building customer relationships long before the sale can be made.

However, social media can target leads that are ready to convert. How? Social media advertising and paid campaign. For example, Facebook advertising helps you connect to a specific market based on interests, profession and demographics. Rather than waiting for customers to search for products or services, you can reach them directly and entice them with an offer. This is a particularly useful tactic for B2B social media campaigns.

The disadvantages of social media

The effectiveness of social media will depend on your industry and target market. While almost everyone will use a search engine to research a product or service, some customer segments may be less likely to see social media as an appropriate research or discovery tool.

It is also important to review what your competitors are doing and assess the strength of your social media credentials. Often, social media is used as a measure of social proof – that is, leads use the popularity of a business online as a purchasing decision. For instance, a low number of followers on a Facebook Page may discourage leads to reach out and make an enquiry.

So, what’s best?

Both social media and SEO lead generation can help your business build new relationships. What will be most effective will depends on your industry and your strategy for growth. But remember these are not mutually exclusive. You might want to mix and match social media lead generation with SEO, depending on your available resources, including time, budget and expertise.

Social media vs. SEO lead generation
 Social mediaSearch engine optimisation

Pros

  • Tactics for both hot and cold leads
  • Builds brand awareness and loyalty
  • Platform for customer engagement
  • Used in most purchasing decisions
  • Targets relevant, hot leads

Cons

  • May not be suitable for all industries
  • Less targeted
  • Difficult to build loyalty

A third way

If you’re still unsure what is the best way for your business to generate leads, there is another option – find a digital agency. A skilled marketing team can combine both approaches as part of a broader, unified strategy. If you’re interested in learning more about this option, talk to a digital marketing specialist about your goals.

Interested in SEO or social media? Talk to a digital marketing specialist about your business goals.