Many beginners to digital 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 both for your benefit.
As you can see in the diagram 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 digital 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, brand awareness, increase Facebook followers, 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 your goal is to increase 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.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating the right type of content to fit a particular purpose.
Have a look at the examples below to understand how content marketing can be used in different situations:
Type of Business: Service company (lawyers, accounts etc)
Type of content: Text content: (description of the services offered, articles related to the niche)Images: map to the company offices, organizational structure
Type of Business: Retail business selling products online or offline
Text content (product descriptions)Images (product images)Videos (product videos)
Text content: articles, how-to posts, Images, Videos, Infographics
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 VS social media marketing
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.
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.