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HomeBlogs & NewsDigital MarketingThe Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing

The Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing

difference between digital marketing and social media marketing

Explaining the Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing

If you spend even a little time on the internet, you have undoubtedly heard these terms before. People often use them interchangeably but they refer to different things. The main difference between digital marketing and social media marketing is that one is a subset of the other. In this article, we will look not only at the differences but also at the similarities between these online tools. Let us begin with digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Simply put, digital marketing is how a business uses digital tools to promote its products or services. Some common digital channels are email, e-commerce, SEO, and SMS. Generally speaking, we can think of digital marketing as having three main components: online marketing, mobile marketing, and social media marketing.

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Benefits of Digital Marketing

1. It is Cost-Effective

Regardless of how large or small your business is, digital marketing lets you reach a large audience at a low cost. You can make do with just a smartphone and an internet connection!

2. It Improves Your Targeting

Unlike offline channels, you can use digital marketing to target customers of specific demographics. This can be based on age, interest, location, or anything else you can think of.

3. It Helps you Make Data-Driven Decisions

You can analyze the data you collect in real time, making it easy to see which campaigns work best.

4. It is Flexible

You have many options to choose from when it comes to digital marketing. Based on your specific goals (which may change over time), you can choose whether to invest more in search engine optimization, email marketing, or any other channel.

Drawbacks of Digital Marketing

1. It Sometimes Lacks Personalization

This is especially true concerning things like SEO and blog posts, which aim to reach a large target audience. You can personalize emails to an extent, but the bulk of the content you send out will remain the same for each person.

2. It is Very Competitive

Your content will likely get lost in the large volume of data floating around on the internet. It can be challenging to produce quality content that stands out.

3. It may be Overwhelming

With new digital marketing channels popping up every other day, it is difficult to stay on top of the newest trends.

4. Customers may Install Ad-Blockers

While this will not affect your SEO, it will affect your paid promotions.

the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing

What is Social Media Marketing?

As mentioned earlier, social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing. It involves using social media platforms to form relationships with existing and potential customers. This ability to engage meaningfully with your audience is one of the main differences between digital marketing and social media marketing.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

1. It is Cost-Effective

Like digital marketing, it is easy for small businesses to start promoting themselves on social media platforms.

2. It Increases Customer Engagement

Since social media platforms were originally built for people to be able to connect, they are the perfect way for you to interact with your customers on a personal level.

3. It Improves Brand Awareness

Customers are more likely to remember you if they interact with you. In addition, social media platforms have made it extremely easy to link and share content. This means that if a customer is impressed with you, it is likely that they will recommend you to others.

4. It lets you Target Specific Demographics

While any form of online marketing helps with targeting, the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing is that the latter allows you to narrow your scope even further.

Drawbacks of social media marketing

1. It Takes a Lot of Time

Social media marketing isn’t just about creating content and publishing it. It’s also about consistently engaging with your customers. This is why many businesses decide to use the social media marketing services of a third party.

2. You have Limited Control

Unlike your blog or website, you cannot control all the parameters of your social media profiles. Third-party platforms might change their algorithms, and you will need to change your strategies to match.

3. You might Receive Negative Feedback

Social media platforms do have processes in place to report “trolls”. However, with a public profile, you are opening your business up to the possibility of criticism. If you do not handle negative interactions appropriately, it can damage your reputation.

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Here are the Similarities And Differences Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing


  • Both these methods rely on digital channels to reach their audience.
  • The goal of both is the same – to increase brand awareness.
  • You need to analyze data from your digital marketing and social media marketing to ensure your campaigns are effective.
  • Content creation is a vital part of both tools.


Digital MarketingSocial Media Marketing
Digital marketing is a combination of email marketing, SEO, e-commerce, social media marketing, etc.Social media marketing falls under the larger umbrella of digital marketing.
Digital marketing has a wider scope.Social media marketing has a limited reach.
Digital marketing makes it hard to target specific demographics.Social media marketing is good for targeting specific segments of your audience.
Digital marketing is time-consuming in its formulation and implementation.Social media marketing makes it easy to quickly deploy social media marketing strategies and see their results.
Digital marketing does not require you to interact much with your audience after you deliver content to them.Social media marketing requires you to engage with your audience constantly.

Now that you Understand the Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing…

It’s time to make use of it! Based on your audience, you have to decide which formats and channels are best for your business. For example, you can use a blog to target those who are interested in long-form content. On the other hand, if your audience prefers visuals, you should use a social media platform like Instagram. iTrobes is a digital marketing company and we offer our services all over the world. Our 360-degree services will take care of everything from graphic design to content writing, to search engine optimization. We also engage in social media marketing on everything from Facebook to Linkedin. Write to us today to get started!