Anyone marketing on the internet these days is probably asking themselves which offers the greater opportunity for exposure for their new products: social media marketing or SEO strategies? For now, at least according to this study commissioned by ATG Commerce, the answer is SEO. But the results are far from a landslide in SEO’s favor. In the 18-34 age group, for example, half of the survey respondents “like” merchant Facebook Pages and use those pages for informational purposes and interaction with the merchants. Also significantly, nearly as many respondents in this demographic use their mobile devices for these purposes as well.
The value of the News Feed, which pushes information to consumers, should not be overlooked. For example, if a merchant provides occasional discount coupons through its Page, these coupons would show up in the News Feed of all Facebook users who “like” the Page. Providing occasional discounts could conceivably create incentive for those who like the page to monitor the merchant’s activity on their News Feed from their computers and mobile devices. The merchant would then have the luxury of an immediate line of communication with those in its Facebook community.
Although the linked article does not mention if the study included Twitter, the same concepts should theoretically apply to a merchant’s followers. If used effectively and not abused, this kind of marketing can get the word out about new products more quickly to customers than internet search engines, which rely on the user taking the initiative. Obviously, SEO is still a crucial and probably the most important element of any internet marketing strategy. But social media used strategically can work in ways that the classic search model simply does not.
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