Pay-per-Click Advertising vs. Social Media Marketing


Recently, many of my connections have asked me what the difference between the two is, or are they one and the same.  Yes, there is a profound difference and here is why:

Pay-per-Click (PPC) is an Internet advertising method used to direct traffic to websites, where advertisers pay when the ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. PPC “display” advertisements are shown on web sites or search engine results with related content that have agreed to show ads.  These are the ads that appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).  PPC Ads are the opposite of organic (unpaid) search engine results.

The best ways to get started in paid advertising are through Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising and LinkedIn Ads.

What’s the difference?  With Google and other search engines, you choose words and search phrases that people will be searching for.  With Facebook and LinkedIn, you choose what type of people, their likes and interests that you will send your ad to using keywords.

It”s important to make clear that paid search advertising is not a replacement for anything, but should instead be used to complement other marketing strategies. It takes a lot of time and effort, resources and ongoing management, and it”s something you really need to invest in.  Many companies and small businesses especially — look at paid search as a replacement for the yellow page ads that they used to run or the classified ads that they”re doing. Or, they think that if they just pay to be on a search engine, they don”t have to invest time and resources in search engine optimization to rank higher organically.

How Paid Search Can Help Grow Your Business:

  1. PPC is a great option if your business is not ranking well in the search engines with organic search alone.  PPC can support your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy by helping your brand show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the most competitive searches. Notice that we say “show up” rather than “rank” because there is nothing PPC can do to directly increase your organic rankings. However, PPC can be used to make sure that you have some kind of representation on page one while your SEO strategy catches up.
    TIP: A solid SEO strategy is an ongoing process over a 6-12 month time period.  If an agency tells you otherwise, look elsewhere for assistance.
  2. PPC is an extremely powerful tool and a valuable asset for enhancing your company’s online presence.    Studies show that the average customer needs to see your company products or service 6-7 times before they make a buying decision. Having your PPC ad on the front page of SERPs is powerful, as a supplement to your social media and SEO strategy.
  3. Conducting PPC campaigns through search engines, Facebook and LinkedIn is a powerful way to generate a constant flow of traffic (lead generation) to your website.  These are highly qualified and targeted audiences who are searching for your product/service or, in the case of LinkedIn and Facebook, have “likes, interests and qualities” that align with your company’s brand, products/service.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.  Social media marketing programs center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A company communication spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. This form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media. Earned media is in essence an endorsement of your brand as purchase from a brand that their friends and family, or community has endorsed.  They become your brand evangelists.

How Social Media Marketing Can Help Grow Your Business

  1. Over 75% of consumers use social media in some format to learn about products and services.
  2. Increased communication for businesses fosters brand awareness and can also act as an improved customer service channel.  Your business now has the opportunity to respond in real time, without the customer having to call and navigate your company “phone tree”, go to your website’s FAQ’s or whatever method they are using to communicate with you.
  3. Social media serves as an inexpensive platform for all businesses to implement marketing campaigns; marketing campaigns that are measurable and quantifiable and offer a much shorter timeframe to quantify your Return on Investment (ROI).

All great reasons for why we are so passionate for social media and internet marketing!

With that said, many of the so-called social media rules are not new, groundbreaking or even shocking.  They are based on the fundamentals of communication and interaction.  So whether you are using online media for personal or business reasons, treat others as you would like to be treated.

Getting started in social media marketing isn’t as daunting as it may seem at first.  There are a few simple things you can do to make a splash in the online community.

Start and Maintain a Blog

It’s a proven statistic that blogging increases website traffic by at least 50%.  This alone is why your business needs to start blogging now.

However, before you dust off your writer’s hat, it’s important to know that an effective blog requires a sound blogging strategy, time commitment and resource commitment.  Once you start a blog, you must be committed to maintaining it forever; just like everything indexed on the internet lives online forever.

Once you set up your blog, it’s time to start creating content.  Content can be anything, but it should obviously be relevant to your target audience.

How Blogging Can Help Grow Your Business

  1. Keep in mind that you are not selling your products and/or services.  You are committing to putting out really great content that others will want to share, thereby creating word-of-mouth advertising!
  2. Encourage your readers to interact through questions, comments or feedback.  If they leave a comment, be sure to respond to them.
  3. Again, the huge spike in website traffic…so what are you waiting for?
  4. Keep blogging consistently (at least once a week) and keep it real, and your readers will keep coming back.

Create your Business Profile on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn 

Each of these online communities will get your brand more exposure and allow you to communicate with prospects and customers in real time.  There are hundreds of online communities; what is key is to start small and be committed to being active and engaging in those communities.

Think of Social Media as being at a dinner party – conversations should develop, expand, educate and entertain.  Keep these in mind when participating in social media.  The more you participate, the more you establish yourself as a trusted expert and friend.  If you do it right, it will equate to brand evangelists, lead generation and ultimately, sales.

Social media marketing requires ongoing time, resources, commitment and patience. A sound social media strategy and plan equates to 5-10 hours a week.  If this is not feasible to maintain for your business, consider hiring Grow Social Marketing for help in the marketing strategy, plan and ongoing management of your social media and digital advertising efforts.

What other methods are you using to market your company online?  We’d love to hear your comments, tips and suggestions below!