Search vs. Social

If you want to test an idea or build some initial traction, social media tools are great channels. You can create a group, hashtag, host an event and see how many people turn up.

This is where algorithms and habits work in your favour. People use these tools every day and your content/group will appear in the timelines of non-members. If you don’t have an existing audience to start from, social media tools might be the way to go. I can think of plenty of people who began with zero and saw their group grow rapidly.

But here’s the rub. The force that makes this successful in the short-term, works against you in the long-term. It’s harder to browse and follow discussions on social media tools once it starts to get busy. Worse yet, you don’t benefit from search traffic which can generate 90% of the traffic most communities attract.

And, believe me, search is a far more important channel of newcomers over the long-term than algorithms.

You might build an audience much quicker on social media tools, but you’re far less likely to attract the same size of an audience if you stay on social media tools. First, it helps you, then it hurts you.

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