SEO VS Social Media: Which One Should be the Focus for a Startup with a Limited Marketing Budget

According to marketing pros like SEOlutions, search engine optimization and social media marketing are the two sides of the marketing coin. They offer greater traffic than other marketing methods, and they provide that traffic through their own unique ways.

When choosing between the two the answer is often to leverage both, but not every business can do that. Startups and small businesses in particular have to focus their time, efforts, and money on a single choice. So, which one is best for a startup with a limited marketing budget?

Why Social Media Is Better Than SEO

1- It’s Where the Customers Are

The main reason to adopt social media over SEO is that your customers are using social media. Over two-thirds of the population have some form of social media profile. It’s estimated that some 3.1 billion people will be connected to social media by 2021. With all of these people using social media on a daily basis it presents an incredible opportunity to reach an audience.

It’s all too easy to connect to your audience if you are using the same channels and speaking the same language as them. You shouldn’t make the audience come to you when you can just go to them.

2- Consumers are More Receptive to Social Media

There are lots of reasons people use social media, but the most obvious is that it allows them to keep in touch and network with their friends and family. They use social media to stay connected to the world. They don’t go there to be marketed to. That said, they still go there to connect to their favorite brands and keep up with them like anyone else.

If you can use social media to humanize your brand and make it more about the people there, you’ll find social media users are very receptive to your messages. This is because social media allows you to be conversational and interact with people in a casual environment.

You get the chance to showcase a different side of your brand that the people might not see as much. You can genuinely connect with the audience instead of just assaulting them with marketing that they don’t want. You’d be surprised at how receptive to that people are.

3- Social Media Marketing Improves Brand Recognition

Another key benefit of social media marketing is that it boosts brand recognition. Being on social media improves overall visibility, which naturally leads to greater recognition. The profiles you maintain on social media offer a new chance to share content and showcase the unique voice and personality of your brand. Create and post the right content and provide value to your audience to increase brand accessibility and become a familiar face for customers new and old.

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Let’s look at an example; say some lead stumbles upon you on social media. They might never have heard of you before so they don’t know what to think. They take a quick look at your content and gain a better understanding about you, your brand, and what you offer. Even current customers can go through something similar and gain a new appreciation and understanding of what you offer.

Why SEO is Better Than Social Media

None of this is to suggest that SEO isn’t worth investing in. SEO has a lot of benefits for smaller businesses and also offers a lot of bang for your buck in terms of advertising budget. Let’s take a look at the benefits of adopting an SEO strategy.

1- Content Lasts Longer

The biggest disadvantage of using social media marketing is that the content doesn’t have a very long shelf-life. Some people won’t scroll back more than an hour in their news feed. You have to post your content at just the right time. That’s not an issue with search engine optimization and blog marketing. The content is always there and will continue to generate leads and traffic for as long as the information in the post is relevant and offers value.

It can take a bit longer for an SEO post to climb the ranks but once it does it stays there and it continues to generate leads for weeks, months, maybe even years. You simply can’t measure how much overall value it offers because it continues to deliver value.

2- It Provides More Value

Another problem with social media is that you can only post short bursts of content. You can offer a quick opinion but you can’t go into more depth about a topic or an issue. You can’t provide a lot of value through social media – at least not in one tweet or post.

SEO marketing allows you to write in-depth content that really explores a topic. Cover a topic from all angles and go into as much detail as you want. This is especially important for businesses that deal with complex issues or customer support. Want to explain how your products work and what customers can do with them? A blog post is the way to go.

3- Customers Use Search Engines to Find Businesses

To get a better understanding of your customers you should think about your personal habits. What do you do when you want to find a business; let’s say a repair business. You search for it on Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or whatever your search engine of choice is. You may use social media to learn more about the businesses you find, but it all begins with an internet search. Your customers are the same.

Customers use search engines to find products and research them before ultimately making a purchase. People are more likely to search for you on a search engine than they would social media. That’s where they’ll go when they want to learn about you and connect with you.


The best solution to the problem of “SEO vs social media marketing” will always be to use both. If you only have the resources for one though, then we recommend thinking about what matters more to you.

Social media allows you to make a direct connection and be a part of the conversation. SEO allows you to go more in-depth and it means you show up when people search for your products, services, and business. It’s all about balance, so balance out the pros and cons and pick what is right for your situation.