Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: Key Differences

Avantika Shergil By Avantika Shergil  |  Mar 25, 2022  |  Digital Marketing Social Media Marketing
Digital Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

We live in a digitally connected world, and thus it has become inevitable for businesses to be familiar with terms such as digital marketing and social media marketing. Often used interchangeably, both digital marketing and social media marketing are an essential aspect of the marketing plan and help enhance the overall online presence of products and make them more popular among the targeted audience.

To understand both aspects in brief, it can be said that social media marketing could be a part of digital marketing. Thus, using both these terms interchangeably could not always be the case. Moreover, many people believe that as both the terms are related to marketing, what is the need of differentiating between digital marketing vs social media marketing.

Therefore, this blog will discuss the nuances of digital and social media marketing, their definitions, their differences, etc.

Let us begin with the basics.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process through which companies can use leading social media platforms and channels to reach their targeted audience and expand their business. Some of the leading social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Tiktok, etc.

While building a social media marketing strategy, one must look at the leading social media marketing trends as well.Also, it is not necessary to include all the social media platforms while making the strategy. Instead, business organizations must first research the media where their targeted audience spends most of their time. After that, according to the nature of the brand or product, they should begin their social media marketing campaign.

Social Media Marketing, or SMM, is all about curating highly engaging content to keep the audience focused on the particular brand and build strong connections with them according to the market trends.

Read Also: Social Media Marketing Trends for 2023

Main Focus of Social Media Marketing

Businesses must understand that social media marketing is ever-evolving and highly complicated. Here brands and enterprises discover something new every day, and therefore they have to be on their toes to perform well under pressure. However, there are some primary goals that firms want to achieve with each of their SMM strategies, they are:

Building a brand image

It will not be an overstatement if we say that social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage with the audience. A profound SMM strategy can build a consistent brand image as the people would find it trustworthy, professional and helpful.

Tracking competition and market sentiment

In the new age business scenario where competition is very cut-throat, the businesses must hire leading digital marketing agencies to keep a keen eye on their competitors. The new-age social media platform has a cluster of information that business organizations can use for their benefit.

Along with tracking the actions of the competitors, SMM is mighty in monitoring the public sentiment as well. Prolific social media marketing strategy can use track comments, shares, and social media posts to understand how much do the audiences like the brand. Through this, the business enterprise can make the necessary changes and be on point according to the audience’s requirements.

Advertising and promotion

Business organizations can push their content through blogs and articles and drive loyal brand following of their customers. Through SMM strategies like content marketing, video marketing, paid promotions, etc. it becomes easier to create authority and visibility of the content. Moreover, one of the primary uses of social media marketing is to promote the business through paid ads.

Cornerstones of social media marketing

There is no doubt that social media marketing in itself is a versatile tool. So to implement this tool for one’s benefit, business organizations must hire social media marketing agencies that understand the mainstays of SMM strategy. These solid pillars will give us an idea of using social media marketing effectively.

Be consistent

The business enterprise must be consistent with its publishing to reap rich benefits from social media marketing. Irregularity in publishing content will increase the chances of having solid audience engagement. To maintain the regularity of posts, the business houses should also take the help of the automation tools.

Have a well-defined strategy

A well thought and designed SMM strategy is necessary for the campaign’s success. First, there must be clear guidelines for using each social media platform and the type of content the company wants to publish. This process will help create a solid brand image on each social media platform.

Brilliant use of analytics

Leading social media platforms render in-depth analytic tools that help business organizations understand what they are doing right and what areas they can improve. By taking the help of the tools, they can precisely measure the brand awareness, performance of the social media marketing campaign and many more.

Cashing on the commercial ads

Social media marketing strategies make it easier to create high-quality campaigns and ensure personalized advertisements for a specific section of the audience. These high-quality campaigns also provide a good return on investment.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

After understanding the different nuances and aspects of social media marketing, it is time to see its advantages and help business organizations in the long run.

Creates buzz around the brand

In the modern-day business world, it is necessary to generate conversation around the brand to take note of that. Promoting the product or brand on the right platform through an excellent social media marketing strategy makes it easier to engage people in a genuine conversation about the product and give it the much-needed headstart.

Helps Businesses to Understand Customer Interest

As enterprises can have a one-on-one conversation with their customers, it becomes relatively simpler to know what they want. Moreover, the brand can also monitor the discussion of their product and give apt replies to keep the audiences involved.

It Is Easier to Tell the Brand Story.

Social media marketing gives the startup enterprise or an established organization the freedom to tell their story the way they want. It can be a post or a heart-warming video, etc., the social media platforms have scope for everything. Thus, it would be safe enough to say that social media marketing strategy will simplify the brand to come in the eye and get noticed by their audience.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing includes online and offline channels such as podcasts, billboards, TV, commercial ads, etc., to promote the product or the business brand. The constituents of digital marketing are:

  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)

As the world is becoming more digitally connected and the usage of digital devices is on the rise, digital marketing is preferred more by companies than traditional marketing.

What Is Offline Digital Marketing?

Offline digital marketing includes using more traditional digital marketing methods such as radio ads, phone marketing, LED billboards, etc. Some of the leading brands today, such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, are spending a vast amount of money on offline digital marketing as it still renders them excellent results.

Although the tactics of offline digital marketing are effective, they can be expensive as well. Therefore, these methods are not highly feasible for startups and bootstrapped organizations.

What Is Online Digital Marketing?

Any marketing that uses the internet to run is online digital marketing. It helps put the brand or the product within the audience’s grasp so that they are on their toes when it gets released. Moreover, it is also necessary to keep up with the digital marketing trends to reap rich benefits of this marketing method.

There are some important categories of online digital marketing; let us have a look:

Affiliate marketing

In this category, the organization pays the third-party agency some commission to promote and sell their products. Resellers, bloggers and influencers, etc., are some of the great ingredients of the whole process of affiliate marketing.

Content marketing

The use of different kinds of content such as podcasts, blogs, articles, videos, etc., to promote the product is known as content marketing.

Email marketing

It is the art of sending promotional emails to the audience the business thinks might be interested in the product. Therefore, email marketing is also an essential part of Outbound Marketing.

Search engine marketing

This digital marketing strategy includes using paid content promotion to increase the visibility of the business website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a process that helps in enhancing the website traffic, improving the page rankings, etc. so that the enterprise can generate organic leads and expand their business.

Pay per click (PPC)

In this form of digital marketing, the firm needs to pay every time a user clicks the ad or makes an impression.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a technique of using leading social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, etc. to increase the online presence of their service or product. SMM (Social Media Marketing) is one of the more effective ways to interact with the end customers directly.

Advantages of Digital Marketing

According to Statista, more than 6.6 billion people worldwide own a smartphone today. Thus, this proves that if businesses opt for digital marketing, they can take their brand and products to places. Here are some of the prolific advantages of digital marketing:

Cost-effective process

Although the offline digital marketing process is costly, it will cost much less if enterprises design a well-thought digital marketing strategy than the traditional marketing methods. Moreover, they can reach a wider audience as well.

It is highly measurable.

Through digital marketing, business houses can precisely measure their efforts. For example, they can see the number of customers through various digital marketing campaigns.

Easy to target and personalize

Unlike the traditional marketing process, businesses can easily personalize their marketing strategy through digital marketing and effectively penetrate the market. Also, based on the customer data and buying habits, it becomes simpler to devise a targeted marketing strategy and reap more benefits with minimal efforts.

Very versatile

Digital marketing offers way more options for the business houses to make their product reach the targeted people. Moreover, digital marketing platforms are more accessible to startups and the audience. Thus, it creates a win-win situation for both of them.

how to choose the best digital marketing agency

Digital Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: Main Differences

We have seen earlier that digital marketing and social media marketing are essentially from the same universe but still have a lot of differences. Let us see the main bifurcations between digital marketing and social media marketing.

Digital Marketing Social Media Marketing
This process is mainly used to drive sales Social media marketing can be used for
business objectives such as brand awareness,
customer engagement, etc.
It is an umbrella term for advertising and marketing using the digital platform. Here only leading social media channels are used to reach a wider audience
All kinds of marketing (online and offline) is done through digital marketing It is just a form of online marketing platform where purely social media channels are used
It requires investing in ads, billboard advertising, TV commercials, etc. It is heavily dependent on a profound content strategy.

Final words

Instead of bothering between digital marketing vs social media marketing and considering both as different entities, businesses should consider them as one. Both social media marketing and digital marketing have their share of perks that can give excellent results if used correctly according to the requirement. Moreover, in the modern-day business scenario, digital marketing and social media marketing are essential for the growth of the business. Thus it is advised to hire leading digital marketing agencies for a project.

Avantika Shergil Avantika Shergil   |  Mar 25, 2022

An enthusiastic Operations Manager at, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveler, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.


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