A few weeks ago, I was listening to an episode of Jay Baer’s podcast SocialPros with SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin. Awesome podcast by the way
What picked my attention is something Rand said about the difference between social and search. It was that:
“Social is about how we discover things, while search is about how we learn more” ClickToTweet
I know that we always ask the question of which medium is more effective than the other as I always see business owners and marketers’ debate about whether social traffic is more qualified than search’s or the opposite!
Before we dig into which one is better, let’s first see what each of the 2 statements mean.
Social Media Is About Discoverability
- Did you ever wonder how we find things on social media?
- I bet that if you think for a while, you’ll see that 99.99% of the things we find on Twitter, Facebook or any other social platform, we find them by accident. Here is the scenario:
- You login to your twitter profile, you check your main stream or the lists that you have and each time you read an interesting tweet, you follow the link to learn more about that subject.
- In this case, you weren’t necessarily searching for that particular information, you just “Stumbled” on it by chance and figured out that it might be of help to you!
- To explain this further, imagine that you’re walking down the street. You stumble across a shop that has a pretty interesting item in the front and you get curious to know more about it. You go into the shop, ask the person in charge for more information, and if you really like it, you end up buying it!
- Did you think that you’re going to buy this item when you woke up in the morning? Nooo!
- This is the real power of social media. Discoverability!
- How You Take Advantage of This?
You just make your messages as attention grabbing as they could be!
- Curiosity is one of the most powerful strings you can strike when it comes to social media marketing. Remember, people aren’t searching for you, your products or services. They’re just surfing around until they stumble on your stuff. If you don’t get them to do that first micro conversion and follow the link, then there is a chance that they may never stumble on your stuff again!
- Discoverability is actually one part of the social equation. Engagement is the other part. It’s not enough to just grab people’s attention so they get disappointed when they decide to check your stuff out. It’s necessary to maintain that level of interest even after you convert them.
Search Is About Learning More
- When do we go to Google?
- Each and every time we have a question about something!
- We already know a little bit about this thing we’re searching for, but we want to “Learn More”.
- We go to search engines intentionally to search more about a subject that we’re already interested in. When I’m doing research to write a blog post, I don’t go to Facebook and Twitter. I go to Google to find out more. When I’m having a technical problem with my website, I don’t go to social media, I go to Google!
- So, as you can see, Google is more of a problem solver than it is about surfing around discovering stuff. While in the previous example, social media was about going down the street and discovering a new thing, search is more when you have a problem with your car, and you go to a car repair shop to fix it.
How You Take Advantage Of This?
- Just so you know, in search, not all keywords are created equal. There are broad ones that don’t convert really well despite the amount of traffic they bring, and there are long tail keywords that could be buyer keywords (the last step of research the prospect takes before they buy).
- An example of this would be: electric guitar Vs how much does a Fender American Stratocaster costs. The narrower you go down, the better you’ll convert.
- Also, if you want to take advantage of this valuable traffic source, then you should answer every question your prospects are asking. I’m not saying that you should answer it in a paragraph or 2, I meant a detailed/in-depth answer that leave no question marks. Remember, we go to Google mostly because we have a problem, we “Need” to solve. If you don’t have a detailed post that addresses that problem in great detail, then the searcher will go elsewhere to find out more, and you don’t want that, do you?
Which One Is More Important?
- One of the most common things I see people debate on when it comes to traffic quality is which traffic source is better in terms of conversion.
- Many marketers will say that search engine traffic is way better in quality than social media traffic. Most also say that social media traffic has the lowest quality and doesn’t convert well in terms of leads/customers.
- I tell you that this is absolutely not true according to my experience with social media traffic, but let’s talk about that in a while.
- Many marketers as well as business owners still get social media wrong. To clarify this, social media lies in the larger base of the pyramid where you reach a wider audience. On the other hand, search lies in the narrower top of the pyramid where the conversion happens (mostly).
- If you don’t generate enough interest for your products and services, would you think that people would bother going to Google to do more search?
- If your prospects don’t discover you through social media, then how on earth would they even know that you exist?
- If you really want to make the best use of these 2 mediums, then you need to start thinking of them as 2 powerful mediums that complete each other. If you think of them as separate components of your conversion funnel, then you’ll be missing a lot.
- To address my point about social media traffic, Twitter generates more leads for me than any other medium I get traffic from (whether it’s search engines or social platforms). This might seem shocking to many people, but that’s the truth. It might be because I’m fairly active on Twitter and I promote my lead magnets very often, but the conversion rate is higher than any other traffic source.
- Another point I wanted to make is to keep people who land on your websites as long as possible, so they don’t go away and search for more information in other places. A great strategy Marcus Sheridan implements is to answer all of your prospect’s questions including the ones about the price of your products and services as well as detailed comparisons of your products and your competitor’s products. This might scare the heck out of most business owners, but again, this age is only for brave businesses, and as Chris Brogan likes to say “Work better, be brave, and Tell Bigger Stories.”
- That being said, what are your thoughts on this? Do you agree on the points made in the post? Also, if you have any additions, we would really appreciate it if you share them with us in the comment section bellow. Good luck!
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