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NetArabia Digital Marketing Agency

Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the marketing process of building awareness and promoting a brand or product online using all available digital channels.

The major components of digital marketing are:

Online Marketing Channels – Website marketingSEM (search engine marketing – includes SEO and Pay per click advertising), mobile marketing (i.e. Google Play, Apple Store), email marketing, online banner advertising, video marketing, and Social Media marketing.

Offline Digital Channels – Television, Radio, SMS, digital billboards (indoor and outdoor)

The diagram below shows exactly the relationship of the different components that make up digital marketing.

What is social media?

Social media is the term we use to describe platforms that bring people together for the exchange of information.

The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Some interesting statistics about social media:

To get a better idea of the impact social media has on marketing, have a look at the number of social media monthly active users (in millions), per platform.

What are the advantages of using social media in your marketing campaigns?

There are many advantages of utilizing social media for promoting both your online or offline products and services.

  • It’s a fast way to spread your message – If you have a big fan base, you can tweet or post on Facebook and your message can instantly go to thousands of users around the World. In fact, social media is the fastest way (even from TV and Radio) to make an announcement or spread a message.
  • It’s good for SEO – There are more and more signs that social signals are indirectly used for ranking purposes by both Google and Bing.
  • It’s a trend – Social media is a trend you cannot ignore if you want to stay close to your customers and in synch with the latest developments in marketing.
  • It’s one of the ways to interact with your customers and find out what they want – With social media your customers can show that they like a product or piece of content by voting (Like, Tweet), commenting and sharing. As a marketer you can analyze these statistics, talk with your customers, and find out how to make your products, content or services better.

Digital marketing VS Social media

It should be clear after reading the above definitions that social media is a major component of Internet Marketing which is part of Digital marketing.

If we compare the two side by side we will find that:

  • Digital marketing goes beyond the Internet and tries to reach people in the off-line world using digital means while social media is limited to the boundaries of the Internet.
  • A Digital marketing campaign may include one or more components (Internet Advertising, Mobile ads, TV, SMS, etc.) while a social media strategy may include one or more social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Social media is strongly associated with a content strategy i.e. you create content and use social media to promote it while digital marketing can rely entirely on banners (either on the Internet, TV, or billboards) for promotion.

Which is more important than digital marketing or social media?

It depends on the type of brand, products or services you want to promote. There are cases where other forms of digital marketing will be more appropriate to build awareness than social media. Social media is a must of every product, brand, or service that has a wide audience.

For example, if you are selling a software product, social media can help you find new customers, educate your existing customers (by sending them tips and tricks) and keep them informed about new updates, upcoming releases, etc.

If on the other hand, you are selling custom tools for farmers you can use social media as a resource to find out more about the products but your main selling point will be billboard ads on rural areas and Radio ads.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of promoting a product or service through various social media channels. In general, there are two ways to perform a social media marketing campaign.

The first way is free and has to do with building followers, fans, or connections by sharing useful content, running contests, and generally engaging with your users.

The second way is through paid advertising. You can use Facebook ads, Google Ads or Twitter promoted accounts to advertise your product or services on Facebook, Google, and Twitter respectively.

Are social media marketing campaigns successful?

There is the misconception that social media traffic does not convert but the latest statistics show otherwise.

The success or failure of any campaign depends on many factors including the experience of the digital marketing consultant so choose wisely.

What does a typical digital marketing campaign include?

While the digital marketing components are a lot, a typical campaign includes mostly items from the Internet Marketing family. It is very common to see a promotional campaign with:

Search Engine Marketing – Either through content strategy and SEO or through Paid Search Advertising (Adwords)

Social media promotions – paid advertising on Facebook, promotion on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Mobile market promotions – Development of native apps and submission to the Google Play and Apple Store

Email marketing – Promotion of products or services through email marketing campaigns


It is important to know the differences between the different marketing theories so that you can select the most appropriate tools to use in your campaigns.

Digital marketing is the future of marketing and will gradually gain more ground in the online and offline world.

Social media, on the other hand, is the new way to connect with other people, it is part of digital marketing and it’s here to change the way we find new customers and promote our products.

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