Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Digital and Social Media Marketing

You might be thinking, "Isn't digital marketing just posting to social media?" You wouldn't be alone in this, many people think that by posting to social media they are taking care of their digital marketing strategy. This is only partially true, there are many different digital marketing solutions. There are many components to digital marketing or a digital marketing campaign and social media should be a portion of your overall digital marketing plan.

What is Digital Marketing?

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By definition, social media marketing is building awareness and promoting a brand or product online using social media. Whereas digital marketing is building awareness and promoting a brand or product online using all available digital channels.

Digital marketing is the umbrella term that encompasses all the marketing tools used to build awareness and increase engagement on digital platforms. This includes web marketing, SEO, SEM, email marketing, content marketing, online advertising, mobile marketing and social media marketing.

However, it is not limited to Internet-based platforms, marketers use digital tools to reach the offline world as well. A digital marketing campaign may also include television, SMS, radio and digital signage (indoor or outdoor). 

Building a digital marketing strategy includes using one or more of these components, while a social media strategy includes using one or more social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

What are the advantages of including social media in your marketing strategy?

  • You can reach people spanning a wide variety of demographics. Social media users aged 55 and older are twice as likely to engage with brands online (Brandwatch, 2018).

  • It's a great way to interact with your customers and find out what they want. 63% of marketers found social media to be useful for building a loyal fan base (Bluecorona, 2017).

  • When you've taken the time to build your follower base it is the fastest way to make an announcement or spread a message. 75% of marketers noticed that social marketing increased their traffic (Ignite Visibility, 2018).

So which one is more important?

Both! For the majority of companies, it makes sense to include social media marketing as a part of your larger digital marketing plan. However, where your business shows up on social media should depend on where your audience is. For example, if you're a florist, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest might be your top performing platforms, but if you're an IT company focusing on B2B marketing you would fair better focusing on Facebook and LinkedIn. Many people think they have to be on every single platform, but it's important to do your research and see where your customers are spending their time. Once you've figured that out, that's where you should be focusing most of your efforts.

What's included in a digital marketing campaign?

While digital marketing campaigns can include any number of elements based on your goals, a typical campaign might include:

  • Search Engine Marketing - Either using content strategy and SEO or through Paid Search Advertising (like Google Adwords).

  • Social media marketing - Promoting website content and utilizing paid advertising Facebook, Instagram, etc.

  • Email Marketing - Promoting services, products and content through email marketing campaigns.

So while social media marketing is a large and important piece of digital marketing. It's important to know the different ways to use digital marketing you can use in your overall strategy so that you can choose the most appropriate tools to use for your own campaigns.


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