Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

February 16th, 2021 by

In a time where online has become all-the-time, marketing efforts have shifted to prioritise online and digital over traditional marketing methods. The majority of online marketing campaigns use a range of tactics to create a cohesive ecosystem of digital and social media marketing. But, what’s the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing? Both are incredibly important strategies to understand nowadays, and while their overall goals will be the same (increase traffic and sales, for example) the steps taken to achieve these are different.

Digital vs Social Media Marketing: Key Differences

The key difference between digital marketing and social media marketing is that social media falls under the digital marketing umbrella. A mistake many brands make is thinking social media marketing is the same as digital marketing, but it is simply one channel available to them.

Image sourced from Multichannel Merchant

Digital marketing refers to marketing on any electronic device or channel and can be non-internet-based or internet-based. Non-internet-based marketing includes the use of radio, television or mobile to promote a brand or product. Internet-based marketing includes content marketing, SEO, search engine marketing, email marketing or social media marketing. 

Digital marketing aims to reach a brand’s audience through different platforms, raise brand awareness and promote itself or its products. 

As mentioned, social media marketing is a form of digital marketing. It uses social networks such as Facebook, Instargam, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to produce content that users and followers want to engage with. This content can be owned by the brand making it free, or created by influencers in a paid sponsorship deal. Brands use social media marketing to increase brand awareness and engagement by creating consistent, timely content that appeals to their current and potential audiences. 

While social media marketing comes under digital marketing, both are just as important as the other. The strategies your brand uses for both need to be specific and tailored to you.

Digital Marketing

Brands need to be active on various online platforms in order to really compete with their competitors. It is the future of all marketing, and will gain more popularity as consumers begin to communicate exclusively through digital means – from mobiles to television to radio to podcasts – all forms of communication are electronic. 

To hone your digital marketing efforts, it is important you measure key metrics that will help you achieve your overarching goals. Some strategies that you can use to achieve this include: social media marketing, email marketing, web analytics, SEO tools, affiliate marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC).

There is an expansive list of digital marketing methods out there, and not every single one will work for you. Fine tuning your strategy takes time, creativity and patience, but after this you will have found the best way of digital marketing for your brand.

Social Media Marketing

Today’s world has become social-led. Consumers are spending more and more time on social media, meaning your brand needs a social media presence in order to reach new and current customers. Using social media can help your brand expand its reach to a global scale through carefully considered platform and influencer choices. 

Social media marketing generally results in a quicker response rate compared to other forms of digital marketing, but does not achieve the set marketing goals alone—it should be used alongside other digital marketing efforts. To maximise your efforts, you need to ensure your brand has a cohesive system of digital marketing tactics that reach out to customers at vital points of their buying journeys.

Social media marketing is essentially the voice of your brand. You can use social media to speak directly to your customers and create a relationship with them. However, to succeed in keeping your tone of voice and to truly engage with your audience, you need to create a content strategy. This strategy needs to outline the type of content your audience will want, not what you want for your brand. Depending on the type of brand, the content could be trend or meme-reactive, IGTVs or live streams, Instagram stories or demonstrations and tutorials. Before you decide on which type, you need to understand the demands of your audience. 

Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: Which Should You Choose?

In short, you should use both digital and social media marketing. The world is gradually becoming more and more digital focused everyday, and the majority of consumers are contactable through social media. 

Social media has become the go-to for consumers to find and research new brands, more so than owned websites. This shows how important social media marketing is, but it does not mean digital marketing is less important. Using both these strategies together will create an online ecosystem for your customers that will result in a strong, trusting community relationship. If customers feel supported at every step of their buying journey, they will likely become loyal to your brand.

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