Difference between social media marketing and digital marketing

You might think that social media marketing and digital marketing are terms you can use interchangeably in this social media era that is making many companies invest heavily in such marketing. They’re certainly related but they aren’t the same. The fact is digital marketing was here long before the invention of social media. Digital marketing is a lot more than just engaging in social media. Before we get into the differences let’s look at the definitions of these two terms.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing involves the use of all digital channels to promote, advertise, and create awareness of your products and services to your target audience. Any advertising or brand messaging you do on the internet can be referred to as digital marketing. It includes managing internet-based methods of marketing like digital branding, Email marketing, Pay per click advertising, SEO, digital ads, your website, social media, and digital campaigns.

The non-internet based methods include SMS, TV, radio, MMS, etc. when you advertise your business using billboards and digital signs, you’re basically using digital marketing. Since consumers nowadays research, browse, and shop online, companies are more inclined to use the internet-related methods of digital marketing like using banners, mobile, emails, SEO, and even social media.

Social media marketing

Social marketing is just one of the components of digital marketing that uses only social media to promote, advertise, and create awareness for your products and services while building relationships with your customers. Social media are platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. interact and share your content, stories, images, and video with the users. Marketers use social media to establish a public voice and make their presence felt online.

You can easily use social media data analytic tools to track the success, growth, and engagement of users. You can either do marketing on social media for free where you connect and increase your following by sharing important content, inviting customer participation, etc. The second way you can do marketing is through paid advertising. You can use sponsored ads on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to 50 free instagram likes to promote your products and make them more visible to your target audience.

Differences between social media marketing and digital marketing Strategy

When you’re thinking of using a social media strategy to promote your business, you will be more focused on the best ways of engaging with social media users to increase your customer base and how you can better talk to and listen to your customers. When it comes to implementing a digital marketing strategy, it’s a much broader strategy that covers all digital platforms from TV, radio, mobile phones to the internet. It gives you a wider reach of customers in almost all digital marketing platforms.


When it comes to the fastest media platform you can use to reach your customers, social media marketing is much faster than digital marketing platforms. Social media allows you access to a much wider customer base that you’re always connected to. With just a click of a button, you can send your content to millions of social media users. With social media, users are able to respond to your social media sites using the like, share, and comment tabs. However, if you use the non-internet platforms the marketing process takes time and they’re not suitable for instant promotion.


Consumers like engaging with their favourite brands and not just in the form of adverts. This way they can talk to the customer service team, ask questions and expect a quick response, and review your business. Social media keeps you informed of any developing issues that need your immediate attention and you are able to quickly address them without having to wait for a report. Your company is in a better position to easily and quickly help its customers by having an online presence on social media than them having to wait for help from someone being paid to do their job.


Among all the other digital marketing platforms, social media is the only one that gives you direct access to your customers. Through likes and comments, you’re able to know what the customers think about your product. Since social media is a two-way channel of communication, you’re able to have a conversation with your customers and exchange information that can help you better satisfy your customer’s needs.

While the other platforms allow limited feedback, they’re mostly one-way channels where the feedback isn’t that reliable. While social media is a direct channel for giving real-time raw data, the challenging part is how you come up with the right content for your target audience. For you to get your potential customers interested in your product, you have to make sure your content is relevant, informative, and sensitive to your target audience’s needs.

Target audience

The fact that millions of people use social media, you shouldn’t assume that everyone is on social media. Although the majority of the people are active social media users, there is a significant number who don’t use social media for various reasons. As much as these small fraction of people aren’t on social media, as a business it’s important to reach these people. If they aren’t on social media they might be using another form of a digital platform and that’s the best part about digital marketing. You can use it to reach the people who don’t use social media. It goes beyond the offline world to reach people while social media is limited to places with internet access.


Digital marketing campaigns may use one or more platforms like mobile ads, internet adverts, or SMS to promote your products and services to your target audience. While social media marketing is limited to using only social media platforms in your marketing strategy.

Final thoughts

It’s important to understand that while there is some overlapping between digital marketing and social media marketing. You need both to be effective in your marketing strategies, so you need to they work separately and together and how they can help promote your products to help your business grow before you use them.