What is the difference between social media marketing and content marketing and why you need both if you want to succeed online?
Many beginners to Internet marketing tend to confuse social media marketing with content marketing and my goal with this post is to help you understand the difference between the two and how you can use them for your benefit.
As you can see in the image below, both social media marketing and content marketing are under the umbrella of Internet Marketing which is one of the most important components of digital marketing.
So, the first difference between the two is that they are not the same thing. They are two distinct tools online marketers can use to promote their brand, products or services online.
What is Social media marketing?
In its simplest form social media marketing is the marketing process for promoting products or services in the different social networks either in the form of ads or in the form of content. The goals of a social media marketing campaign can be the same as any other marketing campaign i.e. to increase sales or can be more specific to social networks i.e. to increase Facebook followers or to get more tweets etc.
Who needs social media marketing?
Social media marketing is for everyone working either online or offline. By everyone I mean:
- Bloggers or webmasters running blogs or websites
- Small businesses owners who run online businesses
- Business owners who run offline businesses
The impact social networks have on our lives is so huge that you just cannot ignore it. In the case that you do ignore it and stay out, your competitors will take advantage of it and the impact on your businesses will be greater.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
In a nutshell the benefits of social media marketing are:
- Increase brand awareness
- Find more customers
- Stay in front of the competition
- Stay in synch with the latest marketing trends
- Engage with your customers
- Provide another way for potential customers to contact you
- Inform your customers of changes to your products or services
- Gradually build a tribe of loyal followers
How do you create a social media marketing campaign?
You can read my previous post, social media marketing tips for beginners for a more in-depth analysis but for the purpose of this post, let’s examine the basic components of a social media marketing campaign.
Decide on your goals – what are your goals from running a social media marketing campaign, what do you want to achieve? Hint: If you’re goals are increase in sales make sure that you track leads coming from social media so that you know if they convert or not.
Decide on the duration – A campaign cannot run forever so it’s important to decide the period you will run your campaign. Hint: Run your campaign for at least a week since not all days are the same in terms of traffic and social media usage.
Set your budget – How much money you want to spend on social media advertising? Hint: You don’t always have to pay for advertising but as we will see below you can run your social media campaigns using the content you have created.
Choose your social media networks – There are so many social networks available and if you try to run campaigns on all at the same time you will get lost in the process. It is better to concentrate on one social network at a time and at the end you can evaluate the results and see which networks converts better. Hint: If you don’t know which is the best network for your niche then why not take a look at what your competitors are doing. If they are spending time and money on a particular network maybe they are getting good results.
Evaluate the results – Everything on the web is measurable so at the end of your social media marketing campaign check the results and calculate the ROI. If the return is not what you expected may you should run the campaign on a different social network or assign the task to professionals to optimize your campaign and produce better results.
Make sure that you also avoid these 15 social media mistakes.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating the right type of content to fit for the particular purpose. Have a look at the examples below to understand how content marketing can be used in different situations:
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|Type of Business||Type of content|
|Service company (lawyers, accounts etc)||Text content: (description of the services offered, articles related to the niche)Images: map to the company offices, organizational structure|
|Retail business selling products online or offline||Text content (product descriptions)Images (product images)Videos (product videos)|
|Web site owners||Text content: articles, how-to posts etcImagesVideos|
What is quality content?
In order for content marketing to be successful you first need to have quality content. Many marketers talk about the importance of quality content but a few people understand what this means. In my view quality content has the following characteristics:
- It is detail – provides all the info about the particular subject
- It is un-biased – provides for both sides of a story and it’s not one-sided
- It is shareable – people like it and want to share it in their social networks
- People read it / watch it / hear it – statistics show that people spend time with the content
- People engage with it – they write comments, add to their favorites etc.
What are the benefits from content marketing?
The benefits gained from content marketing are the same with social media marketing. Your ultimate goal with content marketing is to provide top quality content to your users or potential customers so that you increase sales, increase brand awareness, get to know your users better and stay in front of the competition.
Is content marketing the new SEO?
A popular phrase in the SEO industry the last couple of months is whether content marketing is the new SEO. The reason that made many people believe this statement is the fact that with the latest changes Google made to their ranking algorithms they gave more importance to high quality content websites and it was a clear signal that content is once more a very important ranking factor.
I would say that content is not the new SEO but high quality content with social media marketing is the new SEO. As I mentioned above content alone will do any good but high quality content can bring success especially if combined with a well-defined social media marketing campaign.
Content marketing and social media marketing – The winning partnership
Anyone should have clear in their minds the difference between social media marketing and content marketing. Social media marketing is about promotion and content marketing is about creation.
The two can work together in harmony and can generate fantastic results in today’s competitive market. Companies or websites who can create top quality content and have a proper social media presence are more likely to succeed and expand than companies who failed in this area.
Some real life examples from different industries:
Web / Content producers: Sparkpeople.com – They create content on a daily basis about healthy living and they promote their content on social media. Visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/SparkPeople
Manufacturing / Retailers: Nike.com – They create content to promote their products and they engage with their customers on social media. https://www.facebook.com/nike
Manufacturing / Retailers: Coca-Cola – They use content marketing and social media to promote their ‘change the world’ campaigns. https://www.facebook.com/cocacola
Service / Software: Firefox.com – content marketing and social media for creating a community of users. https://www.facebook.com/Firefox
Blogging: Read our case study on how to build a successful blog with content marketing and social media.
Content marketing is the starting point of all your internet marketing campaigns. Whether you are a small business looking for more customers or a webmaster looking for more visitors to your website you need to start with content marketing.
Your next step is social media marketing. In many areas social media marketing has replaced traditional link building and is the number one way to promote your website or brand online.
If you can do both well, then you just found the secret for marketing online in the 21 century.