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What's the Difference Between Digital and Social Media Marketing?

As a business owner living in the digital age, you may have heard many people using the terms digital marketing and social media marketing interchangeably — but this is a common mistake! Though similar, digital marketing and social media marketing are different, and as a digital marketing agency in Minneapolis, it's essential to understand precisely what that difference is.


To explain, think of social media marketing as just one branch on the humongous General Sherman tree that is digital marketing — and that tree has many branches. SEO, email marketing, content marketing, and public relations are all different forms of digital marketing, and the list goes on!


But what exactly is the difference between digital and social media marketing? Let’s take a look below to find out.


What Is Digital Marketing and Why Is It Important?


With official reports claiming around 4.39 billion people use the internet every single day, you can see why digital marketing is so important for scaling your business in the modern age.


Marketing is the action or manner of promoting products or services to make them profitable. Digital marketing is doing the same act of marketing but using the digital medium.


Digital marketing is implementing the use of a mix of different marketing channels to:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Promote your brand or service
  • Add value to your offer
  • Grow your sales and profit


Here Are the Different Types of Digital Marketing Today:



SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the act of getting a business or brand to rank higher in search engines like Google. Websites that are higher up in search engine results report higher credibility and established trust among their customers. Being higher also significantly increases traffic because it’s easier for customers to find you and your brand. Plus, it’s also cost-effective because you don’t have to pay for ads to drive traffic.


To rank higher in search engines, your website must follow the best SEO practices, such as having the proper keywords placed in your content and ensuring the website is user-friendly.


Social Media Marketing


Social Media Marketing is when you market your business using social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. This type of digital marketing method offers a much more interactive means of marketing your product as it allows you to engage directly with your followers and target audience. You can post content, hold contests, host live events and answer questions directly. You can even get in touch with and seek help from famous influencers in your niche and create lots of opportunities to capture the attention of your followers.


In social media, unlike other forms of marketing, business owners mainly focus on communication and growing brand awareness instead of making sales.


Content Marketing


Content can mean anything: blog posts, podcasts, resources like PDFs, videos, and more. What content does is use the storytelling process to impart information, so the customers feel inclined to make a positive move such as opting in to an email list or making a purchase.


This is a long-term strategy that focuses on curating your content to build trust and credibility to your brand. In turn, your website will become a resource for information to customers and will be a haven for repeat traffic. When it’s time to make a purchase, your customers will definitely remember your brand as being highly trustworthy and will likely purchase from you.


Email Marketing


Email marketing remains to be one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies today. Your emails can create and add value to your product or service, and your email list is a great resource to convert audiences to customers. Some email marketing software can also show you analytics such as which emails had a great open rate and high click through rate. Email marketers can duplicate those working practices for a winning formula.


Emails also provide a personal touch. For example, you may be able to get your contact’s birthday. You can shoot them a personalized email birthday message.


Should I Only Focus on Social Media Marketing?


Social media marketing should always go hand-in-hand with other marketing strategies. It’s a great way to engage with your existing followers and nurture new ones because almost everyone nowadays has a social media channel. It’s also an excellent way to grow a community of faithful followers and show audiences your brand’s personality. There is no faster way to reach your audiences than through social media.


There is also no need to create extensive content on social media. You can simply make do with what you already have on your website and curate it to fit the social media channels. Maybe a short snippet of your video, a quote from your latest blog, or a soundbite from your podcast — the options are limitless.


Customers can also do the marketing for you with social media marketing. If they found value in your post, they can easily share it on their channel, and in turn, with their audience. Their audience becomes yours without a single cent coming out of your pocket.


Should I Then Only Focus on Digital Marketing?


As mentioned earlier, social media marketing is just one branch that is the tree of digital marketing. To get the most from your digital marketing campaigns, it’s best that you have other strategies in place aside from social media. After all, when it comes to social media marketing, you’re the one seeking out customers — not the other way around.


Other marketing strategies bring customers to you: meaning they’re already seeking out your product by searching for it. This type of marketing is called inbound marketing. They’re interested, and they want your product. Now control what you can on your end and make your product easy for them to find.


Also, not everyone has a social media account. While other digital marketing strategies would take longer to reach audiences, you can be sure that they are of better quality.


Final Thoughts


As a digital marketing agency in Minneapolis, we know that there is no set rule as to which digital marketing strategy is best. Depending on your company and its goals, both social media and digital marketing bring something different to the table.


In truth, the best strategy you can take to guarantee success is to research your market and learn as much information as you can about the type of people you are targeting. Study your customers’ behavior, know their desires and fears, and use data to determine where they spend their time so you can go to them instead of waiting for them to come to you.


Test your strategy. If something works, do more of it, and don’t stop tweaking and improving until you get the perfect results.

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