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Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing - What Is the Difference?

Digital marketing and social media marketing are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. So, what is the difference between digital marketing vs. social media marketing? 

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses many different types of marketing activities performed online, from email marketing to pay-per-click advertising. 

Social media marketing falls under that umbrella and involves marketing products or services on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

How does social media marketing fit into a digital marketing strategy?

Social media marketing is an increasingly integral part of a modern digital marketing strategy. Studies have shown that people spend around two hours and three minutes on social media every day in the United States alone. It’s clear that if you want to engage your existing customers and attract new prospects, having a social media strategy is a must.

So, how do you develop a winning social media strategy? Here are seven steps that will help you hit the ground running:

  1. Define your goals and align them with your business objectives. Why does your business want to be on social media? Is it to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or provide customer service, for example?
  2. Get to know your audience. Understanding your customers will help you hone in on the kind of content you’d like to share.
  3. Examine your competition. What are your rivals doing well — or not so well? 
  4. Choose your channels. Which social media platforms should your organization use? A clothing company might choose to focus on Instagram, while a professional services firm might benefit from marketing on Facebook. Don’t stretch yourself thin by trying to maintain a presence on every platform.
  5. Think about what and when you’re going to post. It’s all very well to just set up your accounts and start posting, but your content should be consistent and cohesive. Creating a content calendar can help you plan what to post and when.
  6. Create compelling content. Think about what your customers want to see from your organization. For example, a cosmetics brand could showcase its products in short, simple video tutorials. 
  7. Track performance and adjust your tactics accordingly. Use data from your posts to re-evaluate and adjust your strategy. Social media is ever-changing, so you must be ready to pivot.

Social media marketing can be highly effective as part of a broader digital marketing strategy. Used alongside the various other digital marketing channels, it can help you reach more customers, build brand awareness, and maximize ROI.

Further reading

What Is Digital Marketing?


Digital Marketing Campaign Management

blog post

The Definitive Guide to Multi-Channel Marketing


The Ultimate Guide to Planning & Tracking Social Media Campaigns