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Startup Woes: What to Start First, SEO or Social Media?

Social Media

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


You are reading a guest blog post by Kenneth Sytian.

Startups are popping up like mushrooms, and the first thing that most modern startups engage in is the creation of their website.

Most ventures find themselves at a crossroad between utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM). Although the truth holds strong that both search engine optimization and social media marketing each both aim to drive traffic to your website, each of these two has their own advantages and disadvantages. Before employing one method and casting out the other, it is also worth considering using both methods to serve their common purpose, capitalize on each other’s strengths, and cover up each other’s weaknesses.

More than anything, startups must be prepared for everything they do. Excitement may get the best of anybody, sometimes overshadowing rationale. Being armed with the right knowledge of search engine optimization and social media marketing will help you plan your next move.

Before You Pick Heads or Tails
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) deals more with the website’s architecture. We perform SEO so your website appears first and more frequent on the results page of a query. The further into the results pages a website is on, the less likely for visitors to get in touch with it.

Meanwhile, SMM refers to the attempt to gain traffic through various activities done on social networking sites. Depending on the platform, there are different ways for a startup to engage with people. Engagement includes posting of content like pictures, videos, and texts, as well as the exchange of conversation between the business and potential customers.

I’m sure you’ve done your research about SEO and SMM. To put it simply, some search through Google, which would call for SEO, while others rely on social media for shopping fashion items and the like on Facebook and Instagram, which is why you should be investing time on social media.

To some extent, search engine optimization and social media marketing work hand-in-hand – and they really should!

Wait, First Things First!
We’ve been debating whether we choose SEO or social, but have we checked if our own website is prepared for such campaigns?

Team SEO AND Team Social
Admit it, you can’t juggle these two jobs at the same time. Social media calls for proper timing to engage with your audience, while SEO is a long, arduous process. Yes, you can automate some of the tasks under social media management and SEO, but it pays to do things manually from the start. Auditing can be done through the use of various tools, but checking on your UI and UX calls for a manual checkup. Have you checked your site’s architecture? A new website with a good site architecture can be crawled easily by search engines. How about your landing pages?

There’s a lot to do in SEO, as much as there’s a lot to manage in social. You can’t do both at the same time, but it pays to have a dedicated team member on both. Why? Your social media site will probably feature your website. You’ll use your website in ads, both on social and even through paid search. Your website is the endpoint of a customer’s journey. If they don’t see what they expect to see, they’ll just close the tab and move on.

This is a broad topic to discuss, but for startups, have you thought of your brand and how it should appear on the Internet?

Images stick more to people than written content. Do you have your own logo? How about your own banner image? You should prepare your materials before you set out and do SEO or SMM. HubSpot and BufferApp have templates and guides for building your social media pages.

Choose your own brand voice. Your brand voice will represent your startup in different mediums. Plan ahead on what content you can work on, whether written content or images.

Content. Content. Content.
We’ve heard this a lot of times, and if you’re new to the marketing scene, you’ll hear this a lot: “Content is king.”

Some will contest this thought, as not all industries can benefit from this. But for startups, content is all you have to promote your website in the vast world of Internet. It’s your primary tool to stand out from your competitors, it’s your way to promote how your product or service differ from the others.

Content isn’t just a simple blog post. Content can be anything! Videos, podcasts, blog posts, resource page, knowledgebase, online calculator, anything!

SEO helps in increasing your website visibility, while social media attracts and engages your visitors to the content. For long-term purposes, SEO can help your website through the search results page, but social media is your go-to for quick interaction with your audience, as well as to build engagement and loyalty for your brand.

So Which Is Which?
True enough, both search engine optimization and social media marketing are needed by startups to help improve traffic, which in turn, increases chances for conversion. In order to more effectively draw traffic, relying on just one strategy won’t do work – it should be the harmonious mix of the two.

Search engine optimization and social media marketing both have their individual purposes. It is up to you to use both strategies to your advantage. Social media marketing allows you to acquire attention as well as to interact with potential clients, while search engine optimization allows them to see you when they look you up on the Internet.

Finally, startups must understand that in coming up with strategies, sometimes choosing just one, and leaving out the other, is not the right thing to do. A mix of two strategies is sometimes the best action to take.

I would like to repeat the question now for startups: so what should start first, SEO or Social Media?

About the writer of this guest blog post: Kenneth Sytian is the owner of Sytian Productions, a web design company in the Philippines. Kenneth has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade. He is the owner and the driving force behind the company.

Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our readers here at the Chop Dawg blog? Email us at!

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