What’s the difference between content, social and digital marketing?

Digital marketing. Content Marketing. Search Engine Marketing. Social media media marketing. They’re all the same thing right?

Ever feel like a fish out of water when it comes to understanding digital marketing? You’re not alone! The digital world is a fast-paced and ever-evolving space. Between algorithm changes, new tools, apps and marketing trends, it can all get pretty overwhelming! It’s common to use certain terms interchangeably without knowing what they really mean.

Let’s break down three of the most commonly used terms–content marketing, social media marketing and digital marketing– what they mean and how they’re used.

Content Marketing

Content marketing goes beyond “My name is company X and I’m selling product Y for Z dollars”. Content marketing is a type of digital marketing and is all about providing truly relevant and useful information to your audience by showing them how you can help solve their problems and/or how you are a solution to their pain points.  It’s also about building a connection and continue telling the story of your brand and why.  

By creating a narrative or telling the story around your brand, your content will feel more authentic, engaging, and tailored to your audience.

Done right, content marketing can go a long way in increasing and strengthening brand awareness, interactions (engagement), loyalty (retention) and convert all of that into sales.The “content” in content marketing can be anything from blogs, photos, videos, lives, tutorials, infographics, podcasts, newsletters, ebooks, webinars, all of which are demonstrating how your product or service can provide solutions for your clients. The more content you create, the more you establish your brand/business as an authority, the more you build trust and increase your potential for sales.

Content marketing should be at the core of your marketing efforts. Today’s consumers are bombarded with ads and have learned how to tune out, which means you need to reach your audience in a way that feels authentic to them. Click To Tweet

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) is THE form of digital that everyone is most familiar with and essentially involves using channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and more. 

At its core, SMM is focused on building engagement with your target audience/ followers by posting fresh and unique content,  sharing updates on your products or services, seeking industry influencers, arranging contests, and adopting a variety of other means to grab the attention of your following. 

It’s important to know that SMM is only ONE aspect of digital marketing and ideally should be implemented along with other components of digital marketing like your website, paid ads, SEO, etc. 

Focusing ONLY on social media is equivalent to the proverbial putting all of one’s eggs in one’s basket. As popular as social media is, using it as your only form of marketing has its limitations. Social posts have an incredibly short shelf life and social media platforms are not indexable (meaning you can’t search for products and services on social the same way you can on Google.

This is why it’s so important for brands and businesses to not focus just on social media when marketing their products and services, but to use it in collaboration with as many other components of digital marketing to ensure you get maximum returns on all of your marketing efforts.

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is one of the most overused but least understood terms in marketing with a lot of people (even within the industry!).

So let’s clarify.

To put it simply, digital marketing is an umbrella term to reference advertising delivered through digital channels. Channels such as social media, mobile applications, email, web applications, search engines, websites, etc. In addition to content and social media marketing, other major pillars of online digital marketing include: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), email marketing, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and affiliate marketing.

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