Hello reader. I have an important question for you today: do you know the difference between social media marketing and content marketing?
Both types of marketing share a common goal (promoting your brand), but they have different ways of working and even different focuses.
“What makes these two types of marketing similar, and what makes them different,” you ask? Let’s take a quick look:
About Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, the list of social media networks goes on and on. In the last decade, social media exploded in popularity, collecting billions of users onto specific platforms to share thoughts and interests.
The virtual dominance of social media platforms like Facebook has led to the rise of a new marketing discipline: social media marketing. Put simply, social media marketing is the process of earning traffic & leads for your company through social media platforms.
Social media marketing efforts can help businesses grow their reach online, engage with customers and fans, and attract attention to the business from an enormous online audience.
About Content Marketing
Content marketing is the art of using different kinds of content such as blogs, webinars, videos, website pages, etc. to attract website visitors and eventually convert them into leads/customers.
In some circles, the term “content marketing” is used synonymously with “inbound marketing” because the two terms have so much overlap.
Content marketing helps draw in visitors and get them engaged with your company through interesting content. It can be a bit tricky to pull off, but when it’s done right, it can be highly effective and have a lasting impact.
What’s the Difference?
If content marketing is the act of putting content on the web and social media marketing is the practice of making posts (i.e. content) on social networks like Facebook, then isn’t social media marketing just a part of content marketing?
There are some who would answer “yes,” and they have a point. However, social media marketing has enough unique aspects to rate being considered a separate discipline in its own right.
Heck, there are entire eBooks and online training courses dedicated to how businesses can use each of the different social media networks in their marketing.
Each social media channel has its own unique mix of limitations and audience. For example, content posted on Twitter has a hard character limit of 140 characters (with some exceptions for images, links, etc.). LinkedIn tends to have a more professional, business-oriented audience, while Facebook is a more casual, consumer-like audience.
To get the most out of social media marketing, you’re going to have to focus on the social media channels that most closely align with your business’ target audience, and learn those channels inside out.
Is Social Media Marketing Better for My Company Than Content Marketing?
Would you cut off your left hand because you’re right-handed (or vice versa)? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people wouldn’t cut off one hand because they happen to be better with the other.
The same goes for choosing between using social media marketing and using content marketing on your website.
Rather than trying to choose between content marketing and social media marketing, it might be better to pick one to be better at while still using the other. After all, you can get better results when using both hands for most tasks than you can with just one.
Personally, I’d recommend learning a bit about using the different social media platforms for marketing your business and about how you can position content on your site to attract, convert, close, and delight.
If you must focus on either social media or content marketing, start by considering the following:
- Existing Website Content. How much content is already on your website? If you have a lot of content already, you may want to focus a bit more on your social media efforts to guide your followers/fans to your website content. On the other hand, if your website’s content is lacking, then beefing up your efforts there may need to take priority.
- How Many Social Media Channels You’re Active On. If you’re already active on 4+ different networks, it may be time to focus on generating strong content for your website. On the other hand, if you’ve only been content marketing so far, then it may be time to launch a social media strategy.
- Your Resources for Managing Social Media Efforts. Managing your company’s social media channels can be a lot of work. If you don’t have the resources to manage them effectively, your results may suffer. Delegating social media efforts to an “expert” in your company can help lighten this burden.
NOTE: Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing Are NOT Mutually Exclusive!
While there may be times it can help to focus on one or the other, it’s important to remember that these marketing tools are not mutually exclusive. There’s no law saying you have to only do one or the other.
Both types of marketing are part of a healthy marketing strategy, and are often used together.
For example, a lot of the people who read this post in the first few days after I’ve finished writing it will find it through Bluleadz’s social media marketing efforts. Pretty much every time we put a post on our blog, we’ll promote it on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for others to see.
In fact, that’s part of the reason we have those buttons under the “Share This Post” thing at the top of this post. These “Social Sharing” buttons are a key part of content and social media marketing.
By getting people to share our content through their social media accounts, Bluleadz can increase its reach well beyond the blog subscribers we already have. Also, by having new content on our website on a regular basis, we can keep our social media followers engaged.
Want to see how social media and content marketing align? Check it out for yourself by sharing this post using one of the social sharing buttons at the top. Or, you could check out some of our other inbound marketing resources.