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Social Media Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 28, 2023
Social media marketing focuses on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, while digital marketing encompasses all online marketing efforts including email, websites, and SEO.

Key Differences

Social media marketing specifically targets social media platforms to promote products or services, engaging with users on sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Digital marketing, however, is an umbrella term that includes social media marketing as well as other online marketing channels like email, search engines, and websites.
The key focus of social media marketing is creating content tailored for each specific social media platform to foster user engagement and sharing. Digital marketing extends beyond social media, involving strategies like SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and content marketing across various online platforms.
Social media marketing leverages the power of social networks to connect with potential customers, build brand loyalty, and encourage peer-to-peer sharing. Digital marketing has a broader scope, focusing on reaching a wider audience through a mix of online channels for brand promotion, sales, and customer acquisition.
The tools and metrics used in social media marketing are often specific to each platform, such as likes, shares, and comments. In contrast, digital marketing employs a wider range of tools and metrics like click-through rates, website traffic, and conversion rates.
While social media marketing mainly focuses on community building and direct engagement with consumers, digital marketing encompasses a broader strategy that includes lead generation, brand awareness, and online sales through various digital channels.

Comparison Chart

Platforms Used

Social media networks like Facebook.
Various online platforms, including social media.


Engaging content for social media.
Broad online strategies including SEO, email marketing.

Primary Goals

Engagement, brand loyalty on social platforms.
Reaching a wider audience, sales, lead generation.

Tools and Metrics

Likes, shares, comments.
Click-through rates, website traffic, conversion rates.


Community building, direct consumer engagement.
Comprehensive online presence, including social media.

Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing Definitions

Social Media Marketing

Increasing brand awareness through social media channels.
Social media marketing on LinkedIn targets professional audiences effectively.

Digital Marketing

Marketing products or services using digital channels.
Digital marketing strategies include SEO to improve website visibility.

Social Media Marketing

Engaging with customers through social media content.
Social media marketing involves creating viral content on Facebook.

Digital Marketing

Utilizing online platforms for brand promotion.
Email campaigns are a crucial part of digital marketing efforts.

Social Media Marketing

Promoting user interaction and sharing on social media.
Effective social media marketing encourages users to share content on Pinterest.

Digital Marketing

Integrating various online marketing techniques.
Digital marketing combines content marketing, SEO, and social media for comprehensive online branding.

Social Media Marketing

Marketing products or services on social media platforms.
Using Instagram stories for social media marketing increases brand visibility.

Digital Marketing

Enhancing online presence through various digital tactics.
Digital marketing uses pay-per-click advertising to drive web traffic.

Social Media Marketing

Building brand loyalty on social networks.
Social media marketing helps in fostering a community around a brand on Twitter.

Digital Marketing

Reaching a wider audience via the internet.
Digital marketing leverages online influencers to broaden reach.


How does social media marketing benefit a business?

It enhances brand exposure, improves customer engagement, and can drive website traffic and sales.

How often should I post on social media?

It varies by platform and audience, but consistency and quality are key.

Which platforms are used in social media marketing?

Popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.

What’s the role of content in social media marketing?

Content is crucial for engaging the audience, providing value, and conveying brand messaging.

Should I use paid ads on social media?

Paid ads can significantly increase reach and are useful for targeting specific demographics.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing involves promoting products or services on social media platforms to engage with a target audience.

Why is SEO important in digital marketing?

SEO helps improve website visibility in search engine results, driving organic traffic.

What’s the importance of social media influencers?

Influencers can extend your reach and credibility within their follower base.

Is social media marketing suitable for all businesses?

Most businesses can benefit, but strategies should be tailored to each business’s audience and goals.

Can I manage social media marketing myself?

Yes, though it requires time, effort, and understanding of each platform.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use the internet or an electronic device.

How is digital marketing different from traditional marketing?

Digital marketing uses digital channels and tools, offering real-time data and greater audience targeting.

How does email marketing fit into digital marketing?

Email marketing is used for direct communication with potential and existing customers.

How do I measure social media marketing success?

Key metrics include engagement rates, follower growth, traffic to website, and conversion rates.

What is content marketing in digital marketing?

It involves creating and sharing valuable content to attract and retain a target audience.

What are the key components of digital marketing?

Includes SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, PPC, email marketing, and more.

What is PPC in digital marketing?

Pay-Per-Click is an advertising model where you pay each time your ad is clicked.

Can digital marketing help small businesses?

Yes, it’s cost-effective and allows for precise targeting and measurable results.

How do I measure digital marketing success?

Key metrics include website traffic, conversion rates, ROI, and customer engagement.

Is digital marketing a good career choice?

Yes, it's a rapidly growing field with diverse opportunities for specialization.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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