What Is the Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing?

We all hear folks toss around terms like “digital marketing” and “social media” these days. Heck, some of us even use them in everyday conversation. But do we really know what they mean and how they differ? 

Stick with us as we map out the landscape of the digital world and highlight the key contrasts between digital marketing and social media. 

In plain terms, we’ll break down the core purpose behind each and provide some concrete examples so you walk away with clarity. Ready to finally settle the debate on this whole digital marketing versus social media conundrum? We’ve got you covered.

What Is Digital Marketing?

As business owners, we need to market our products and services to reach customers and grow our companies. Traditionally, marketing meant advertising on TV, radio, billboards, and in print. Now, digital marketing uses the internet and technology to promote brands and connect with customers.

Some of the most common digital marketing techniques we use include:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Optimizing our website to rank higher in search engine results like Google. This helps people find our business online organically.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

Running ads on search engines, social media, and other websites. We only pay when someone clicks an ad. This allows us to reach new potential customers.

Email Marketing

Sending promotional emails, newsletters, and updates to subscribers and customers. Email is a great way to stay in touch, spread brand awareness, and drive sales.

Social Media Marketing

Promoting our business on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We can build brand awareness, engage our audience, and connect with new customers through social media.

Content Marketing

Creating and distributing valuable content like blog posts, videos, and podcasts. When we provide useful content, it helps establish us as an authority in our industry and builds trust in our brand.

Marketing Analytics

Analyzing data and metrics to see how our digital marketing campaigns are performing. We look at things like website traffic, conversion rates, social media engagement, and more. Analytics help us make informed decisions and optimize our efforts.

Digital marketing encompasses a wide range of strategies and techniques. The key is finding the right mix of channels that work for our unique business. When done well, digital marketing allows us to reach more potential customers than ever before. The opportunities are endless if we take advantage of all the internet has to offer.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience and promote your business. As digital marketers, we leverage sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build brand awareness, engage with customers, drive traffic to our website, and ultimately boost sales.

Social media marketing allows us to have real conversations with real people. We can share blog posts, images, videos, and other media to start discussions, answer questions, and build relationships. The key is to post authentic and valuable content that our audiences will genuinely want to engage with. Some of the main goals of our social media marketing efforts are:

Build Brand Awareness

By posting regularly, we increase exposure and help more people discover our business.

Engage Our Audience

We aim to start meaningful conversations, answer questions, and build connections. Engaged followers are more likely to become loyal customers.

Drive Traffic

We include links to our website and blog posts to drive traffic and increase pageviews.

Boost Sales

Happy, engaged customers are more inclined to buy from us, so our social media marketing works to build trust and loyalty.

Some of the platforms we focus on for social media marketing include:


Great for engaging audiences, building community, and driving sales. We can share blog posts, images, videos, and start conversations.


A visual platform ideal for sharing photos, stories, reels and IGTVs. We use Instagram to showcase our products or services, behind-the-scenes footage, and user-generated content.


Where we connect with others in our industry, engage in current conversations, and promote new blog posts or content. Twitter encourages short, frequent posts to keep audiences engaged.


A professional network where we build relationships with other businesses, promote our content, and establish ourselves as industry experts. LinkedIn is all about thought leadership and B2B connections.

Social media marketing, when done well, is a highly effective way for us to build real relationships, drive traffic, and boost brand visibility. The key is simply to engage with our followers in an authentic, meaningful way.

Is Digital and Social Media the Same?

A lot of people use the terms “digital marketing” and “social media” interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same. As marketers, we need to understand the difference.

Digital marketing is a broad umbrella term that refers to any marketing efforts conducted through electronic devices. This includes marketing on websites, mobile apps, streaming services, and more. Social media, on the other hand, specifically refers to marketing on social networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

So while social media is a type of digital marketing, digital marketing encompasses many more online channels. Digital marketing aims to connect with customers through various electronic touchpoints during their online journey, whereas social media focuses on engagement with followers, fans and connections on social platforms.

Some examples of digital marketing tactics include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing through blogs, videos, and images
  • Marketing on streaming platforms like YouTube or Spotify

Social media tactics are:

  • Posting updates, images, and stories on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat
  • Tweeting on Twitter
  • Sharing blog posts, images, or updates on LinkedIn

As you can see, digital marketing casts a much wider net. If you’re only posting on social media, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to reach your audience through other digital channels. The most effective strategy is to incorporate a mix of both digital marketing and social media. They work together to help you achieve your marketing goals and build genuine connections with your customers.

In summary, while social media and digital marketing are related and overlapping in some areas, they refer to different scopes of online marketing. To be successful, focus on creating a cohesive strategy that leverages both.

What Is the Difference Between Digital Media and Digital Marketing?

When we hear the terms “digital media” and “digital marketing,” it’s easy to confuse the two or think they are interchangeable. However, there are some key differences between these concepts that are important to understand.

Digital media refers to any media that are encoded in machine-readable formats. This includes things like websites, social media, online video, mobile apps, podcasts, and more. Digital media are the channels and platforms we use to consume and share content on the internet.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, refers to the strategies and techniques used to promote brands and sell products or services via those digital media channels. Digital marketing includes things like:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) to rank higher in search engines
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Online PR

While digital media provides the means, digital marketing helps brands spread their message and drive business goals. Digital marketing is an active process that involves promoting content, engaging audiences, building brand awareness, and generating sales or leads. Digital media are the channels that enable those marketing activities.

To put it simply: Digital media are the platforms, and digital marketing is the strategy behind how brands leverage those platforms. Digital marketing combines the creative and technical aspects of the digital landscape to help brands achieve their goals. Although the terms are closely linked, it’s helpful to understand the distinction between these concepts and how they work together in today’s digital world.

Does this help clarify the difference between digital media and digital marketing?

Which Is Better Digital or Social Media Marketing?

When it comes to marketing your business online, should you focus on digital marketing or social media marketing? We often use the terms interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two that are important to understand.

Digital marketing refers to any form of marketing that utilizes electronic devices and the internet. This includes things like search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, email marketing, and content marketing. The goal of digital marketing is to reach potential customers through online platforms and convert them into customers.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, specifically utilizes social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your business. The goal is to build brand awareness, engage with your target audience, and drive traffic to your website or physical store. While social media marketing is a form of digital marketing, digital marketing encompasses a much broader range of online marketing strategies.

So which approach is better? The truth is, for most businesses today, a combination of both digital marketing and social media marketing works best. They are complementary strategies that, when used together, provide the biggest impact.

Digital marketing helps people find your business through searches and advertisements. Social media marketing helps to engage those potential customers, build relationships and loyalty, and spread brand awareness through shares and word-of-mouth. Using only one or the other means you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with your audience.

A good rule of thumb is to focus 80% of your efforts on digital marketing and 20% on social media marketing. Build a strong digital marketing foundation with SEO, content, and ads. Then, use social media to amplify your digital campaigns, increase web traffic, build your email list, and spread brand awareness. This balanced approach will help you get the best of both worlds.

Creative Creation Remarks On SMM vs DMM

So there you have it – the basics on the differences between digital marketing and social media. While digital marketing encompasses all online efforts to promote a business, social media focuses specifically on building communities and relationships on social platforms. At the end of the day, they work hand in hand to help businesses connect with customers. Want to boost your online presence? Creative Creation does both digital marketing and social media marketing. Contact us now!

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