Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing


Most of the people across the world believe that social media marketing and digital marketing are interchangeable terms as both of them are related to the online marketing and brand growth industry. But, they are not the same or can’t be contrasted with one another as social media marketing revolves around the social presence, while the digital marketing is quite broad.

In fact, digital marketing is very old, and it existed even during the age of Radios and old, bulky Televisions.

Digital marketing has been there for almost a century. In the modern days, the increasing competition and demand for the better web presence has turned the term from just promoting a brand to making it visible to the wider audience with better presence on search results.

So, before we jump into knowing the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing, let us have a detailed understanding of these two:

Definition of Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing (or SMM) is a process of promoting brand, products or services and building a strong relationship with the target audiences through different social media channels. The credit for the success of social media marketing goes to the growing demand of the new generation of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. These platforms have revolutionized the way people interact, socialize, buy and share information.

Social media marketing technique takes advantage of social networks for marketing purposes using multiple tools. SMM experts use these tools to take advantage of them from the marketing point of view. Channels or platforms used in social media marketing include:

  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr

Definition of Digital Marketing

Traditionally, digital marketing term was used for the different forms of marketing that used electronic channels to promote brand, products or services. In the modern days, the internet takes charge over the business management, marketing and every other aspect related to your business. As a result, the definition of digital marketing has changed as well.

Internet-based digital marketing methods include search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, e-commerce marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing, etc. Using certain techniques and tools, it’s possible for brands to build awareness and promote a brand or product on search engines. It includes creating or managing:

  • Digital Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Digital Branding
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay per Click Advertising
  • Digital Campaigns
  • Plus all of social media
How Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing is Different?

Tools & Strategies Used

Digital marketing is a type of marketing that uses modern marketing techniques such as internet, TV, etc to promote products or services. Digital marketing utilizes paid and non-paid marketing strategies to create brand awareness among the end users in particular region. On the other hands, social media marketing relies upon the social media platforms to interact, communicate and engage with target users.

Goals & Vision

In the modern days where competition is growing each day, the prime goal of both, digital marketing and social media, seem to be the same – increase brand awareness and sell more. But, there are many types of goals associated with these strategies of marketing. With social media, the business aims to market the products, services or just to spread the words about the brand across the social media users. Conversely, digital marketing stresses is more focused on reaching the end users (target audience) using different tools and strategies like PPC, SEO, ORM, etc.

The Audience

One of the most common differences between social media marketing and digital marketing is the audience. In most cases, brands make the same mistake by assuming that due to the increasing usage of social media platforms, everyone is on social media. But that’s not the truth as there remains a large number of people who aren’t for their own personal reasons. When you are planning to market your brand to the international audience with no chance to skip anyone out there, focusing on digital marketing may do the magic. Almost 70% of people prefer to search for products or services that they are looking for. This means, if you are able to stay on top of search results, you’ll grab the business that comes even from the people who are not using social media.

User Engagement

The beauty of social media marketing is that it allows direct engagement with the end users as the target audience can communicate with you through likes and comments. The end users are able to respond to your products or services directly via social media. The social media marketing allows global brands to interact with users easily. Digital marketing may also offer the same facility, but in most cases they are only one-way channels of communication. For example, feedback can be left for a product, but the brands or platforms hardly react to them and the users aren’t able to know even if the business responds to the comment or feedback.

The Speed

When it comes to the speed of reaching out to your target audience and achieve your desired goals, social media marketing beats all other marketing methods.  Social media allows businesses to connect with their target audiences in real time, offering the ability to convey a message to thousands of people instantly. On the other hands, digital marketing promotional methods may take time, but they deliver results for a much longer period than the social media marketing.


Choosing between either of the two may be a bit difficult sometimes. If you are a brand, aiming to grow in the international market with robust and strategic marketing strategies, a combination of social media marketing and digital marketing may be the right pick. Ignoring any of these at your promotional disposal may be a bad idea as both of these methods are the lifelines for the modern marketer.

Social media marketing and digital marketing works together to help achieve brands to achieve their goals in this competitive market.

Author’s Bio: I’m currently working as Content Manager with reputed SEO Experts India. I have a great passion for digital marketing and I help small and medium-sized businesses improve their online presence and grow their revenue by formulating effective digital marketing strategies for them. I have a keen interest in Entrepreneurship, Online Reputation Management, Internet Marketing, Quality Link Building, Tech Consultancy, etc.


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