difference between social media and digital marketing

What is the Difference Between Social Media and Digital Marketing?

Successful marketing is about reaching and connecting with customers. And where is your target audience spending their time these days? Now, more than ever, the answer is online.

For your online marketing tactics to be successful, it’s crucial to understand the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing. With the right combination, your marketing strategy is sure to succeed.

Why are Social Media and Digital Marketing Important?

In 2019, there was an estimated 4.39 billion internet users (source), up a staggering 9% from 2018. In January 2019, there were 3.26 billion people using social media on their mobile devices.

If you’re looking to grow your business and increase conversions, it’s time to take advantage of the unlimited marketing potential the Internet has to offer.

Before we dive into the key difference between social media and digital marketing, let’s first explore what each entails. Though often referred to interchangeably, the two present different opportunities and challenges that require unique strategies.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term for promoting products or services through Internet-based channels. It takes advantage of various digital channels to reach audiences through one common factor: the Internet.

Common Digital Marketing Tools

Digital marketing encompasses all of the internet, making it quite complex. This breadth requires nuanced marketing tactics that target different areas of the digital world. Some of the most common digital marketing tools include:

  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Content marketing
  • Social media posts and advertisements
  • Influencers and affiliate programs
  • Mobile advertising

Why is Digital Marketing Important?

These days, most purchasing decisions begin (and at a continually increasing rate end) online. According to a 2014 study by MineWhat, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before purchasing (source).

A strong digital strategy is a crucial part of any modern marketing plan. Successful digital marketing helps to promote products and services, create longstanding brand awareness, and connect with customers as they move through the marketing funnel.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing utilizes social media platforms to build your brand, connect with target audiences, drive traffic to your website, and (most importantly) convert your hard-earned leads into sales.

This is achieved through paid advertising— such as collaborations with influencers or posting native ads on your target audience’s feeds— or through growing your company’s own social media pages.

When building your business’ social media presence, it’s vital that you create unique content and actively engage with your followers. It’s equally as important to analyze the performance of your social media content—both paid and organic.

What Are Metrics in Social Media Marketing?

When it comes to social media analytics, there’s a handful of metrics you’ll want to monitor closely:

  • Engagement: an all-encompassing measure of public shares, likes, and comments on your social media posts and account
  • Impressions: the number of times your content was seen, regardless of whether the user interacted with the post
  • Reach: a measure of potential audience size on a given platform
  • Referrals: users who visit your site via social media posts, ads and links
  • Conversions: customers referred from social media who ultimately make a purchase on your site

Social Media Platforms for Marketing

Your social media marketing strategy, including the platforms you use, should be unique to your business and its marketing goals. In 2020, the most popular social media channels are Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

Launching a successful marketing campaign on all of these platforms would be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor, so most companies focus their efforts on the top two or three platforms used by their customers.

Each platform contains unique marketing opportunities and targets a slightly different audience, so it’s important to do a bit of research or consult a social media marketing agency.

Digital Marketing versus Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing falls under the greater umbrella of digital marketing. The main difference between social media and digital marketing is that the former can occur on only one channel: social media platforms.

Digital marketing spans the entire Internet and can include everything from creating a Yelp page to purchasing a PPC ad on a search engine.

Should I use social media or digital marketing?

Both types of marketing are effective at reaching potential customers, creating brand awareness, and growing sales of products and services.

In our increasingly digital world, both social media marketing and digital marketing should be considered cornerstones of your overall marketing strategy. Finding the right balance depends on the nature of your business and its goals.