Strategic DigitaLab

Insights from our desk

Why SEO could be more important than social media

Mark Sorne

Senior Digital Marketing Specialist

A digital marketing strategy has several important components , including search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), website, CRM system, social media marketing, chatbot, and many more. And in the age of social media, it is not surprising that some brand marketers, who may have limited marketing budgets, would focus on social media marketing. It is an important selling tool, not to mention that for new businesses, it helps establish their brand to their target audience.

So these businesses would proceed to hire a social media manager and an entire creative team to boot.

But here’s the catch: they may capture a social audience, but how about those beyond their network, especially audiences whose first instinct after learning about a product or a brand is to go Google and type in some keywords to search for more information?

This is the crucial step many brands miss out on: understanding SEO’s importance in business first and foremost.

Search engines generate more traffic than social media sites

Not many people or companies realise the importance of SEO vs. social media, but a quick look at the ranking of the world’s most visited websites by Alexa shows that Google (the top search engine) is the undisputed top website, with Facebook (the top social media site) trailing behind at rank seven. 

But in general, search engines generate more traffic than social media sites. The Shareaholic Traffic Report reveals that out of 400+ million users who visited more than 250,000 mobile and desktop sites in a range of verticals including food, tech, design, fashion/beauty, marketing, sports, parenting, religion, and general news, 34.8% of total visits went to six search engines, while 25.6% went to 13 social networks. 

The same report also predicted that search will continue to be the largest and most efficient traffic driver, adding that because there are fewer search engine sites than there are social media sites, the investment on search efforts will be more efficient as you only need to focus on one or two platforms.

People who have an intent to buy will turn to search engines 

True, practically everyone today has a social media account, but social media users are on the platform with the mindset to connect with friends or be entertained.

This is where SEO has an advantage vs. social media, because people on a search engine would often have a mindset of buying. In fact, 81% of buyers perform an online search before making a purchase. If you want to buy something, you will most likely go look for a product through search, not through a social media site.

Social media content has a short shelf life 

Search engine marketing efforts, particularly SEO, become stronger over time as search engines crawl your content. On the contrary, social media efforts tend to decay because what you post today may no longer appear on your audience’s newsfeed tomorrow. Thus, one of the benefits of SEO is that content created for search can be more of a long-time investment because over time, more people will be driven to your site and will see your post, whereas on social media, fewer people will see the content you produce the farther it goes down your timeline. 

So, who wins the battle of SEO vs. social media? To be honest, we think you need both and other digital marketing components such as a website optimised for great user experience, display advertising, SEM, content marketing, and etc, to complete your digital marketing strategy, but it takes thorough strategic planning to be able to know where to focus your efforts on, especially when resources are always limited. In a nutshell, big and small businesses alike must understand  the role of SEO vs. social media to be able to plan the allocation of their marketing budget to ensure maximum return-on-investment. 

Our team of highly experienced strategists, creatives, digital marketing specialists and technophiles can help you craft a search marketing strategy. Reach us by email at or fill in our enquiry form to discuss. You can also take a look at our list of services.

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Why most social media strategies do not result in revenue

Pauline Yoong

General Manager

Every brand that aims to be relevant would boast of a social media presence. Look at any billboard, and you’re likely to find the Facebook “F”, the Twitter bird, or the Instagram camera icon, juxtaposed with the brand name, figuring prominently in the ad, almost as if the brand is sending the statement: “We, too, are living in the present.” But aside from branding, do these social media efforts directly translate to revenue?

In the 2019 report The State of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia by Econsultancy, as much as 89% of respondents said that their business has a social selling strategy or approach, with only a small portion (5%) saying they were unsure whether they do. 

However, when asked “Which of the following statements best describes your company’s social commerce strategy?”, 7% pulled in their reins, saying that while they do have informal strategies, they are not documented. Meanwhile, 29% said that they do have social media strategies, but the impact on revenue is minimal.

What is social selling?

Hootsuite defines social selling as “the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.” As much as we, through our individual profiles, connect with people that we know (or want to get to know), our brands’ social pages are a way to reach out to audiences who may be current customers or potential clients. 

But a crucial part of that definition is in the end: “nurture sales prospects”. Hootsuite further explains: “[Social selling is] the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.”

This means that a social selling strategy does not end in raising awareness on the brand—it has to extend until “fans” turn into “leads.” Based on the report, it seems that brands have yet to develop their social selling strategy to this level. 

What are the barriers to an effective social selling strategy?

The Econsultancy report also enumerated the number of factors at play in a well-developed social selling strategy. Based on the responses, it laid down the following barriers that marketers expressed to hold them back from using the medium effectively:

• Lack of measurement technology to set goals and benchmarks

A common trap for some rookie marketers is looking only at vanity metrics, such as number of likes, shares, and reach. These numbers can be easily manipulated (read: troll farms), and do not matter as much as engagement, sentiment, brand lift, and ultimately, revenue. 

You need to make use of insights to understand the market landscape and your target audiences, as well as to analyse the competitive landscape (e.g. messaging, digital footprint, content) to craft an effective marketing plan to meet your business objectives and key performance indicators.

• Unclear targets on which to develop a strategy

Every investment must have an objective, and an investment on social media strategies is no different. Marketers must not neglect setting objectives that are attainable (e.g. to increase awareness, to drive registration and lead conversions, to grow follower base) and measurable. 

• Lack of social commerce expertise or overall digital maturity

The social media world is fast-changing, with various algorithms and features changing by the minute. It can be costly to stay up-to-date, and burdensome, if a brand’s in-house marketers do not only handle social media but also all other marketing duties.

• Social media is seen just as a customer service channel, brand channel, or not a priority marketing channel

While social media can play a crucial role in a company’s customer relationship management (CRM), there is so much more potential that can be unleashed with a proper strategy in place. 

How can I make the most of my social selling strategy?

The education required to stay up-to-date with social media measurement tools, and thus craft effective social media strategies in-house, can be costly. This can be supported by working with a full-service digital marketing agency such as Strategic DigitaLab, which can properly utilise and optimise multiple social media channels, targeting and reaching each specific audience to achieve highly trackable results from brand awareness to top-of-funnel lead acquisition.

Our team of highly experienced strategists, creatives, digital marketing specialists and technophiles can help you craft a social media strategy. Reach us by email at or fill in our enquiry form to discuss. You can also take a look at our list of services. 

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